What a fabulous time we had at the Southeastern Wildlife Expo in Charleston. So much art! And food! And we took the time to really study the area. Despite my cold, I had a blast at the Saturday Soiree and tried, for the first time, steamed oysters. Lots of southern favorites to be had all weekend! V... and I explored and painted. We were invited to join some local and visiting artists to paint on a private island somewhere near James or John's Island. Many thanks to Hilarie L. for inviting us. I dropped my brush in the marsh. Then my painting blew in (on oil paper). There's always one, right?
We painted at night - a first for me. We painted the sunset and sold our little sketches to some passing admirers from Boston. Then we had the honor of doing a workshop for the SC Jr. Duck Stamp competition winners. Joining us was Flo Ulrich - and it made for a sort of reunion for us. V, Flo and I were among the original founders of Plein Air Austin. Some 15 years ago we named our little group and painted together and even had some shows, but didn't make it an official org. until later.
A group of about 20 kids came to our workshop - sharing their winning artwork and watching us demo. I painted from a photo of a Charleston carriage horse in the stables I found. Leave it to me to find the horses in a city (even NYC). :-)
I honestly thought this one I would bomb, but I managed to make it work and hopefully imparted some good info to the kids.
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I stood on a very windy hilltop this morning east of Austin to paint the rolling hills and curvy road in the country. The wind nearly blew me away. I have to say though, my new Prolific Painter easel set up was really stable. I kept a hand on it only during the biggest gusts.
I had a nice painting going. Caught the fresh tilled dark earth, the new spring greens, lots of atmosphere with the low sun. Then when I put the painting on the ground and was dismantling my palette, I dumped my turps (sludge and all) right on top of the painting. So now it has a pastel look - maybe a happy accident?
The painting was on Arches oil paper - and even with the turp mess, there was no bleed through. No "fat" left in these colors now.
$300 + $12 sh
My friend Kathleen McElwaine and I were talking this past weekend and she mentioned to me that she likes my blog because I am honest about my struggles and the real behind the scenes stuff about being an artist. (thanks for your encouragement!)
If I am brutally honest now, I have to tell you that I've been struggling a lot lately. I can't seem to stop thinking about WHAT to paint. And basing that on what might sell. That is the wrong way to think. I can't let a market dictate my creativity, but it has been because my sales have slowed so much. I don't know if I need new markets or if my work is bad.
I feel like I am in awkward phase too. I know I want to do more with my work but don't know how or what. For example, likening fine art to the music industry... there are some musicians/singers that just really stand apart from the rest, they do unusual things, have a sound unlike any other (Florence & the Machine, Delta Rae, Pink Floyd etc.). And then there are the countless pop performers - top 40 one-hit-wonders that are indistinguishable. I fear I am in the pop music realm.
But then I have to remember that I am mid-career and I hope I have much time to grow and at least have staying power. ;-)
Sunday morning was cloudy with flat light. We decided to just do some small studies from a high spot before decamping and heading home to Austin. As you can see I had about 5 in me.
I needed this little break. I think I tend to be a homebody and don't have the time or money right now to travel to paint. But when one is home all the time, then inspiration is rather lacking.
The temps probably were in the low 90s Saturday afternoon and the air was so dry that my eyes got very tired. So I tried something on the abstract side - softening my focus and just getting a feeling of the dead tree and brush rather than working details.
Summer is hanging on here for all its worth. But I booked a spot in Bastrop for a family camping trip this weekend. Glutton for punishment?
After a night of little sleep, first being fascinated by the night sounds and stars, and then being awakened by horses outside our tent, I pulled my cold body out of bed and painted a little of the morning light on a nearby rock outcropping. That isn't worth showing.
Later in the day we headed back down to the Rock Pile and painted there. I also did some "notan" sketches and then got interested in a tree.
Lately, while I wait to pick up my daughter in the car rider line, I have done quick cloud studies. These are just under 15 minute studies done on 9x12 Arches oil paper.
In the late summer these beautiful, big clouds build in central Texas. When we can often see from horizon to horizon, these giant cloud shapes dominate our skies. I love them. And the blue of the Texas sky is my favorite color. Something between cerulean and royal blue.
A Painter's Journal
Chasing the light. Capturing life.
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