Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sporny Solution

We reported here last year on the death of Stanley Sporny (see November 4 post) and, at the time, we didn't know whether his Sporny Solutions formulae might have been lost.

We're glad to say that the products will still be available. For anyone who is concerned about toxic fumes or wants to extend the working time of their paint, these materials are the answer. They contain no volitile organic compounds or citrus. The mediums are professional grade, non-yellowing and archival. The clean-up solvent doesn't evaporate and can be re-used many times.

This is the product page on our website.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Paint-outs in the Arizona State Parks

The Arizona State Parks are inviting artists, both professional and amateur, to paint for free in the parks on certain days (this time of year, the hours are 8:00 A.M. to noon). Artists meet at the designated time to have their panels or paper stamped and then head out into the scenery.

The parks are safe, have clean bathrooms and the views are irresistible. Four hours later the artists meet to display the finished piece/pieces and submit them for judging by fellow artists.

There are six events scheduled in the remaining months of 2009:

-June 6, 2009 at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, 8 am – Noon
-July 18, 2009 at Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area, 8 am – Noon
-August 8, 2009 at Roper Lake State Park, 8 am – Noon
-September 19, 2009 at Slide Rock State Park (Apple Festival), 8 am – Noon
Additional Children's Paint Out Activity
-October 3, 2009 at Riordan Mansion State Historic Park, 8 am – Noon
-November 29, 2009 at Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park (Fall Festival)8am-Noon - Additional Children's Paint Out Activity

We think this is a great idea and were wondering if other states have such programs.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Plein Air in Bellevue Washington

Azalea Way
The Eastside Association of Fine Arts in Bellevue Washington has regularly scheduled plein-air opportunities this summer for members and non-members alike. They will meet every Tuesday morning between mid May and mid September starting at about 9:30 AM at seventeen locations in the Puget sound region. Most have easy access, parking and restrooms.

Anything in any medium goes, from paintings or drawings that are highly realistic to abstract. At 12:30 or so they gather for lunch and a group “Show and Tell”.

The first get-together is this coming Tuesday, May 26, at the Washington Park Arboretum in Seattle. They will be painting along Azalea Way which is about 1/2 mile of plantings with azaleas, rhodies, cherry trees and ponds in the park.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Ontario Plein Air Society Event

The Ontario Plein Air Society will be meeting up at the historic Williams Mill Visual Art Centre (about 40 minutes from Toronto) this Sunday from 12-5 p.m.

The town of Glen Williams has a myriad of 1850's buildings, a historic graveyard, the Credit River, parks, corner store, lovely bakery and 2nd hand bookstore. The mill itself is picturesque, is surrounded by woods on one side, and has plenty of parking.

The Ontario Plein Air Society welcomes all artists no matter what medium or level of expertise. They are a non-commercial group focused on promoting plein air painting in Ontario. If you are one of those lone-wolf plein air painters living in Ontario, join in the camaraderie and positive energy.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Plein Air Magazine Survey

Eric Rhodes, the publisher of Plein Air Magazine (2004-5) is taking a survey to find out to what extent there is interest in reviving the magazine, either in print or online. This will not affect Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine (which replaced Plein Air Magazine in 2006).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Painting Missouri - The Counties En Plein Air

We were fortunate to pass through Kansas City while the exhibit "Painting Missouri - The Counties En Plein Air" was on display at the central library. Painter Billyo (sic) O'Donnell and journalist Karen Glines collaborated to produce 114 paintings and essays, one for each county in Missouri.

The paintings ranged in size from 9"x12" up to 24"x30". The result of a seven-year effort during which the artist faced almost every weather element imaginable from sub-zero temperatures to 100-degree heat, the paintings have been published, accompanied by the essays, by the University of Missouri Press. The book is now in its second printing.

Subjects include historic buildings, small town streetscapes, wildlands and croplands, creeks and rivers, people and animals, the Christopher Wren church in Fulton, a tipi, a cannon, and the fountain at the Plaza in Kansas City in winter. There are nocturnes, twilight scenes, fog and mist, slanted light and high sun. Some of the close-up views and the distant vistas become quite abstract. Many compositions gain drama from large empty foregrounds and/or diagonal elements.

There was also a display case with his (well-used) palette, brushes, sketchbooks, notes, apron and easel.

Here is a link to Billyo O'Donnell's site.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Dianna Shyne - Demos

Dianna Shyne studied Russian Impressionism for 15 years and has worked in oils, watercolor and acrylic. In 2000, health issues caused her to discontinue working with oils and turn to acrylics instead.

This is a link to a demo about keeping acrylics from drying on your palette, and here is a page on her website where she does a 30"x40" painting on location.

The painting shown (above) was done during an artist-research project in the Northwest rainforest, sponsored by National Geographic magazine. The artists climbed trees and painted on platforms high above the ground.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Carl William Peters 1897-1980

Carl William Peters has been called "one of the best-kept secrets of 20th Century American art."

He grew up in New York state, in both rural and urban situations, and studied art at the (then) Mechanics Institute in Rochester (now the Rochester Institute of Technology). He became friends with Charles and Emile Gruppe and later attended lectures by Robert Henri at the Art Students League in New York City and its summer school in Woodstock.

While he was learning and beginning to establish himself as an artist in the early years of the last century, Modernism and Impressionism were the primary influences in the art world. American art in general and representational art in particular had gone out of fashion. But Peters always painted common local scenes, both natural and man-made.

Eventually he painted in New England, especially Cape Ann, an artist colony which had been called "The Brittany of America." Art colonies originated in Europe and later appeared in the U.S. around the turn of the last century. They were instrumental in the development of plein-air painting and Impressionism. Certain elements of cubism appear in Peters' work, adding a "Cezannesque formalism" to his basically realist style.

- Sarah Judson


Love, Richard H., Carl W. Peters, American Scene Painter, from Rochester to Rockport, Boydell & Brewer, 1999

Shipp, Steve, American Art Colonies 1850-1930, Greenwood Publishing Group, 1996

Friday, May 15, 2009

Jimmy Leslie - Artist

We just got back from the National Art Materials Trade Association show in Louisville Kentucky (that's the reason for the recent lack of posts here).

While there, we met Jimmy Leslie, a New Jersey painter who has become Resident Artist/Technical Support Manager at Colart Americas, Inc. (the North American distributor for, among other brands, Winsor & Newton and Liquitex). We sent him away with a paintbox, tripod and wet painting carrier.

"As an artist I am not trying to alter anyone’s view of the world with my paintings, nor do I feel the need to address social issues. I simply want to create good, solid paintings, which seems like enough of a lifelong challenge. In doing this my subject matter tends to revolve around familiar surroundings like my neighborhood and my studio and my family life... Finding the message is up to the individual viewer. It might be found in a certain shape, a harmony of color, or a particular light source… I don’t know how to paint apples, trees, or people’s noses. What I do know is that if I paint the correct values, shapes, and colors and place them in the right position, the objects will create themselves." - Jimmy Leslie

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Why Cats Paint - Book Review

This cult classic creates a fun kind of cognitive dissonance. We know that cats have keen eyesight, great capacity for concentration, excellent hand/eye(paw/eye?) coordination, a certain amount of color vision, marking and scratching behavior, curiosity...and look at all those beautiful photos! Cats caught in the act of making marks on paper.

But when the authors of this colorful coffee-table book start talking about "exploring inner feelings," "mood piece" and "for its own sake," you think, "Ah...this can't be real."

Four-legged action painters? Spontaneous reductionist? Romantic ruralist? This book is a sweet satire. A gentle parody of the world of art-speak. Elaborate and hilarious.

- Sarah Judson

Why Cats Paint
Heather Busch & Burton Silver, authors
Ten Speed Press; Third Printing edition (May 1, 1994)
12"x10" 96 pages
(Caveat: Some of the books listed on Amazon are a small-size, edited version, not nearly as nice.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

"Florida's Forgotten Coast" Paint Out

Florida's Forgotten Coast is a relatively undeveloped section of coastline on the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Georgia.

Between May 7-17, they are having a plein air Paint-Out with exhibits of fresh (still-wet) paintings as well as paintings from private collections, a Quick-Draw (you can register anytime before May 6), a wine-tasting, a Student Art Day, discussions, many demonstrations by the invited artists, receptions and a Salt Air Farmers Market.