I have mixed it up again with this fall plein air painting. I started first with my sketch, then with my palette knife applied the texture for the tree and shrub foliage. Once dry (again, holding it in front of my car heater on high), I worked a loose underpainting in acrylics. I like my Golden acrylics the best, I love their high pigment content - and they have wonderful mediums to play with! The acrylic dries very quickly, so I then started with the oils. When I layer like this, I find the depth and atmosphere build up easily and naturally. I painted on location at the top of Kill Deer in Augusta Shores - where the autumn color is amazing :)
Autumn in the Air
9x12 oil, acrylic & molding paste on panel
When I look again at one of my plein air pieces, it is just as if I am transported back to the time and place in the painting. I can smell the humid air, feel the breeze on my skin and the brushes in my hand. I painted this one to replace a piece I sold at the Stems Plein Air Event of the rose garden at the Overland Park Arboretum. I used my artistic license and changed the sweep of the path for better composition. I also painted the beds a little wilder than the perfectly manicured flowers on site. The day was hazy and the morning sun was just starting to warm up the scene, when I picked up my brushes. The paints seemed to glide into place almost without thought. I intended to underpaint in acrylics, going over with oils as I neared completion. But, once to this point, I only topped off the flowers and foliage with oil.
Through the Rose Arbor
22x28 oil over acrylic on panel
Best Of Show Award - Tri-County Art Show
Once I start laying in the background color - there is no going back! I'm not at all sure I like where this is going......I will next add more shading to all edges and blend. I will keep working it until I am satisfied. It has already taken three times longer to get to this point, than with my normal pencils. Well, there is no learning without stretching outside of my comfort zone - and I am way out now.
Here is the next day's work. I'm getting used to the tinted graphite - but I still miss the super soft blending of my normal pencils. These little curls are becoming such a fun exercise! It is just like putting a puzzle together. At first, there is just a mess of squiggles, but as each curl is defined - it all comes together. I still need to put more color on the face, then the shirt. Last, I will blend in the background. Nothing distinct, just color and shading..........I hope it turns out! I want to enter this in a drawing competition, if all goes well :)
I thought I would show my current work in progress, which is a little scary - as I am trying out a new chestnut graphitint pencil. I can feel the extra pigment as I work. I can not blend as I normally do, it takes far more effort. I love the warm color, but I miss my black and white already! I'm also going to fill in the background, which I almost never do. I like the effect of only the subject reaching out from the page, but I feel like experimenting (I hope I'm not sorry!) I love these curls - and they are sure going to be a challenge :)
Early one morning before a workshop, I set out to find just the right spot to paint at the Overland Park Arboretum (during the STEMS Plein Air Event). As I approached the beautiful iris garden, these hydrangeas bloomed in profusion! It has been such an early year for all the flowers, that these were out a month early. It was misty and damp as I started blocking in the masses. This time, I worked in acrylic, fully intending to top it off with oils. The early morning sun cast a golden glow as it rose over the tree line. I used a little soft gel medium to add texture to the petals, laying in the colors in a loose manner. As I neared the finish, I stepped back, took a long look, and decided the oils just weren't needed. The effect was misty and moody - and it was time to put the brushes down. That is one of the hardest things to know - just when to stop.
I painted this one at the Two Hour Quick Paint competition at the Deanna Rose Farm on the last day of the STEMS Plein Air Event. Arriving by 6:30 am, the artists were treated to donuts and bagels, before we all headed out to paint at 7:00. This spot is located a good distance from the entrance, but is a favorite place of mine for garden painting. Hustling down with my gear, I came to this spot, and the light grabbed me. The early sun lit up the flowers, while the shadows remained long across the path and into the more heavily treed area through the gate. I set up my easel and started on my masses. About half way through, the sprinkler system came on, drenching the whole left side of my scene! I already had most of the preliminary work done, so I concentrated on the rest, knowing the sprinkler would go off soon. As I worked, I noticed there were also sprinklers right in front of my easel leg. Boy, I hoped they wouldn't go off next! I worked faster, feeling the pressure that I might have to suddenly move if the "rains" started. In 20 minutes, the sprinklers went off. Five minutes passed, and YIKES!!! - they came on right behind me! I quickly moved up six paces to clear the downpour - and set back to work! I raced to a finish, and started packing up my easel, just before the last sprinklers went off in front of me! Plein air painting is always an adventure. One day, it is the bugs in my pant (or up my leg), the next - hidden sprinklers pop up out of nowhere and rain down on my painting. I have almost lost my easel twice as it started sinking down into the edge of a lake. I have painted in the cold, driving rain (and hail), as well as the hottest summer sun at 105 degrees. But, I have also painted numerous occasions in weather so beautiful, surrounded by God's beauty and abundance - that I am forever inspired to go back out and capture the glory.
I drew this in graphite on bristol of my oldest daughter and my first grandchild, Alan. She was comforting him in the front hall when I captured the reference image. Drawing is very natural to me, it is as if I don't even have to think while I lay down the strokes. It is the first medium I remember picking up long before preschool. By the time I was in kindergarten, I had been drawing for years. I love the feel of pencil on paper, the way it blends into the best skin shades. It is the root of where all art begins for me. Each piece begins with a sketch, and blossoms from there.
See this one on display at the Kansas City Club at the Missouri Valley Impressionist Society Juried Show, Public Openings Sept. 21 & Oct. 9, 6:00-9:00.
My easel was set up close to water's edge, in the shade of the trees. This one was started in the afternoon on one of those 105 degree days. Despite the heat, the breeze blowing over the water was cool and refreshing. There were several us Missouri Valley Impressionist Society members on the banks, painting en plein air at the Perry Yacht Club. It was one of those days where time stopped as I worked, and I could have painted all day. The yachts and the waves were such a compelling subject, I painted three panels in oil from this place. This day was my first experience painting sailboats - and I loved it! I can't wait to paint at this event again next year.
I set up for this painting early one misty morning before sunrise. Frisella Nursery is a wonderful place in Defiance, MO, full of garden scenes, statues, water features and foliage. If you love gardening, this is the place for you. It was hard to pick my spot with so many beautiful choices to paint! The air was so crisp - my fingers stiffened up around those brushes! I had to take a break midway through just to go in and grab some hot tea and a wonderful yogurt parfait loaded with fresh fruit! Hands warm, back to work, and the paint just slid off the brush. The early sun bathed the scene in a pink glow just long enough for me to get the color in. Too soon the light was gone, and it was time to move on to another event. I hope to return here someday and paint again.
I tried something new on this painting. I first sketched out my composition, then applied molding paste with a palette knife to add texture to the trees and grasses on my panel. I had to hold this in front of my car heater to speed the drying, so I could quickly get to the next step. Working in plein air allows me about a 2 hour window before the light changes, making this step necessary. I next painted in my masses in acrylic, which dries quickly. Then, I painted over the underpainting with my oils. I love the effect - and trying a new technique is always exciting! This piece will be at the Harvest Festival in Augusta this weekend.
This amazing view was painted in Augusta on the morning of the Augusta Shores Paint-Out. Walking into this scene was just like slipping into a piece of heaven. It was a cool April morning as the light cut in between the rocks over the pool of water. Magical. To get this view, I had one leg of the easel too close to the water. I had to keep readjusting it to prevent the whole thing from toppling in! Thank you to the Lindsey family for allowing me into their back yard for such a wonderful painting experience :)
The early morning sun was streaming in through the grape arbor. I knew immediately I must paint this light. Nestled in the back yard of the Red Brick Inn in Augusta, MO, I set up easel and paints. I loved the process as the lights and shadows seemed to effortlessly lay themselves down. Not every painting flows off the brush so easily, and sheer joy washed over me as I worked. This may have been my favorite painting of my favorite painting event of the year - The Augusta Plein Air Event. This piece now resides at The Red Brick Inn.