Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Richard McKinley - Pastel Pointers

Richard McKinley paints in both oils and pastels and teaches workshops nationwide in both mediums. He grew up in the Rogue Valley in Oregon, where he was first inspired to pay attention to nature and the way light defines the location.

His weekly blog for Pastel Journal magazine, entitled Pastel Pointers, is available online and is useful for any painter, whether using pastels or another medium.

Titles of recently posted articles include "Reflecting on Reflections," "Digital Thumbnail Sketch," "A Lesson From Sargent" and "A Painterly Approach to Drawing."

Monday, October 26, 2009

Art on the Farm

Art on the Farm is a plein air event in Northern California that brings together artists and organic farmers. For about ten years, Alan Mart of the Internatural Harvesters organic farm has spearheaded this effort to bring artists and organic farms together. Now that he is unable to continue that effort for a while, the artists involved are pushing the torch forward for a few more miles.

This operation selects a day, often Sunday, and sends the group of artists to a particular farm. There the artist picks out images that are of interest and paints, draws, photographs, etches or whatever seems right at the moment, whatever image seems right.

An exhibit of this years' paintings will open at the Bolinas Gallery on November 4th.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

John Harrell - A Daily Painting Journal

Denver painter John Harrell has a Daily Painting Journal with small (6"x6" or 5"x7") plein air urbanscape and landscape studies. The painting shown here is a study for a larger 36"x 36" painting entitled Summer at Lakeside. It will be one of a series of Denver landscapes which will be in an upcoming show (opening on November 6) at Brushstrokes Gallery.

“My subjects choose me - their patterns and shapes, their sense of rhythm and movement, inspire my creative energy. Pastel and acrylic allow me to capture the immediacy of the experience.”

He recently donated a painting to Project Education Sudan, which creates educational infrastructure in rural southern Sudan. They support the building of primary and secondary schools as well as adult education and teacher training.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Diane McClary - Artist

Diane McClary has been dividing her time between the Seattle area and Palm Springs, California. This is a photo of her at La Quinta Cove, where she will be participating in the "Art Under the Umbrellas" plein air event on designated Saturdays in Old Town La Quinta through next April.

She studied with the late Russian master Sergei Bongart and offers workshops in the Palm Springs area.

"Each painting, a landscape, floral, or portrait is always a new experience in comparing the relationship of warm and cool colors. When I paint outdoors, I'm continuously striving to convey the emotions of the scene on canvas. The sound of nature, the smell of fresh air, the feeling of the wind all contribute to the total result."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Van Gogh's Illustrated Letters

Bibliodyssey has a long post of some of Van Gogh's illustrated letters. From the year 1878 through 1890, you can see his draftsmanship improving and his unique style emerging.

Regardless of what you think about his paintings or his life, his letters will touch you with their poignancy and reverance for life and work.

A link to another website that has many more of his letters is included.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sedona Plein Air Festival, October 24-November 1

This weekend is the beginning of the fifth annual Sedona Plein Air Festival. There will be 30 participating artists from around the country. Events include workshops, demonstrations, lectures, quick draw, "a day in historic Jerome," and a public exhibition & sale.

The opening reception will be next Wednesday, October 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sedona Arts Center, 15 Art Barn Road. The “Quick Draw Event” will be held at the same location between 10 a.m-12 p.m. on Friday October 30th (call 928-282-3809 for more information).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Charles Bezzina - Artist in Residence in Greenland

'The Future belongs to those who beleive in
the power of their dreams'
-Native American proverb.

Here is a photo taken in Greenland of Charles Bezzina painting plein air with the children of Ittoqqortoormiit. In July/August 2008 he was Artist in Residency at Upernavik Museum - North West Greenland. This is classified as the most Northerly Museum in the World. He is a photographer as well as a painter and uses watercolor, acrylics and oils.

"During my stay I visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ilulissat Icefjords on several occasions to capture the Ice landscape in my journals and sketch book. The area of Upernavik has 3000 Inuits spread over 11 settlements in an area the size of Britain. Both places in North Greenland inspired me immensely and I am certain new art work will be created during the next few months. The theme of the project is 'In Search of Ice Made In Heaven' " - Charles Bezzina

Monday, October 19, 2009

Jon Hall - Videos

Jon Hall (aka Suncage) has some interesting plein air videos on youtube including this one, entitled Yellow, which involves throwing paint at the canvas, and another about a project he called The Limner's Contract for which he did a painting outdoors every day for a year.

Since he uses acrylics, he had to keep them from freezing in the winter. Sometimes he would build a fire (which would not only keep the paint from freezing but also help dry the paintings and warm his hands as well) and sometimes, if it rained, he would use a blowtorch (being careful not to damage the painting surface).

He describes the experience in a matter-of-fact way. "You can put up with anything, you know. Whatever the weather throws at you, you just deal with it. There were times when it was so windy I'd have to lower the easel right to the bottom and actually paint lying down. How do you paint when your hands are frozen? You paint from the shoulder."

Good to keep in mind as we head into the autumn season.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Plein Air for the Young at Art

What a great idea. Plein air painters in Hawaii have created a two-part program to introduce young people (ages 8-18) to the experience of painting outdoors. Entitled Plein Air for the Young at Art, the program includes a classroom session with instruction and demonstrations and, later, a paint-out with supplies provided and with roaming "artist experts" giving guidance and advice. Ten schools are involved in the program, and students who want to participate in the paint-out must submit an application with a teacher's recommendation.

October 25 is the date of the paint-out. There will be a reception at the Cannery Mall where the students' paintings will be displayed and the general public is invited to attend

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Annie Shaver-Crandell

Annie Shaver-Crandell works in oil, watercolor, pastel and oil pastel. In addition to plein air landscapes, she paints interiors (one is entitled "My Space.Calm"), still-lifes, figures and abstracts and also creates in fabric and collage.

She sits on the Board of Directors of the Salmagundi Club of New York.

"Since the surest way to predict my own future is to try to create it myself, I look for inspiration in light and color. As a painter of landscape and still life, I choose to create images inspired by nature's energies.

Giving visible shape to my internal vision fosters healing in myself and others, moving artist and viewer alike from where we are toward some better place."

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Laguna Plein Air

This week, October 11-18, is the 11th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, a week-long celebration of plein air painting. Due to the rain today, many artists will be painting inside the Laguna Art Museum's Steele Gallery.

On Saturday morning (the forecast is for a clear, sunny day), the 50 artists will participate in a Quick Draw held in Heisler Park, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and immediately adjacent to the Museum, from 9-11 a.m. with a silent auction immediately following.

Saturday evening the museum will host a "Collectors' Soiree and Sale" at 6 p.m. ($125 for members, $150 for non-members).

Sunday, October 18 (11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) is the public exhibit and sale, with admission free to the public.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Theresa Pergal - Artist

Theresa Pergal uses her plein air practice in the service of realism. In addition to landscapes, she focuses on beautiful still-lifes and portraits. She studied at the Otis-Parsons Art Institute in Los Angeles and spent five years at the Ives Gammell Atelier in Boston. Her paintings are available as posters and prints as well as in galleries.

She belongs to the historic North Shore Arts Association of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the equally historic Rockport Art Association.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

New Product - Hinged-Front Box

Over the years, we've had customers ask us if we could put a hinge on the front of the Guerrilla Painter Box to allow easier access to the palette and the inside of the box. We listened to their request and created a limited-edition 9x12 box with a hinged front. It has all the features of the classic Guerrilla Painter 9x12 box, which is really a self-contained portable painting studio (over 80% of the storage capacity of a French easel) that weighs only 5 pounds. The entire box is made from strong basswood laminate, the lid holds up to four wet panels (or one stretched canvas), and underneath the sliding palette is space for brushes, brush washer, paint tubes, rags, mediums, etc. The lid adjusts 180 degrees and you can set the box on your lap, on a table or on a tripod (comes with a sturdy tripod mount installed).

Click here to see its page on our website.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Steve Atkinson at Canyon de Chelly

Steve Atkinson sent us a letter to thank us for quick service as he was heading out to paint Canyon de Chelly, Arizona, September 20-27 with Plein Air Southwest.

He said, "In September I placed a frantic call to you. I had just traveled to Arizona to participate in the SouthWest Plein Air's Canyon de Chelly paintout on the week of Sept 20-27th, 2009. When I got to Prescott,Az where I would be staying and painting for the week prior to the paintout, I realized I had forgotten to include my rock sling on my tripod. Doesn't sound like an emergency I know, but that sling is one of the most important pieces of my plein air set up. Not only does it keep my tripod stabilized, during windy conditions (which is just about everyday at Canyon de Chelly), but it also is what I attach my paper towel discard bag to. I placed my order online and called to talk to one of your staff to see if they could get it to me as quickly as possible. I don't remember the young woman's name who answered the phone and helped me, but she couldn't have been more helpful or understanding. I got the bag in a couple of days, and she made the paint out something I will never forget."

He wrote about the experience in his blog, including some local history, wildlife and strategies for painting such a large-scale landscape.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Pierre Henri de Valenciennes (1750-1819)

À la villa Farnèse: Two Poplars
oil on paper, 10"x15"

Artists have been painting oil sketches in the open air since the 17th century, and by the late 18th century the practice was fairly common, especially in Italy, which attracted painters from all over Europe.

One of these was Pierre Henri de Valenciennes. He was best known for historical landscapes and his treatise on perspective (Elemens de Perspective Pratique a l'Usage des Artistes), which he studied with a mathematician in Rome, but he was also probably the foremost advocate of the importance of plein air painting.

He emphasized to his students (two of whom became teachers of Camille Corot) that capturing the particular details of a specific location (a "landscape portrait") was an essential practice for a painter, and he was committed to raising the status of landscape painting.

Stair Sainty Gallery
The National Gallery, London

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fresia Studios - Video

Fresia Studios, on Lake Como in Italy, offers 6-day plein-air painting workshops from May to October (time to start thinking about next year).

This is a video of Jerry Fresia doing a large outdoor painting. For him, it's all about enjoying the colors, the paint and the outdoor scene in front of you and conveying that enjoyment to the viewer. He doesn't neglect composition, drawing and values, and these fundamentals are part of what he teaches, but he believes that joy, rhythm and personal vision are also essential to painting.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Clive Pates - Essay

Clive Pates curated an exhibit of landscape painters for the Ohr-O'Keefe Museum in Biloxi, Mississippi, two years ago ("The Will to Endure - Six Contemporary Landscape Painters"). He wrote an introduction for the exhibit in which he points out the role of plein air painting in breaking down the conventions of 19th Century academic painting and eventually leading to abstract and non-objective art.

"The uniqueness of the Plein-Air painting is its reliance on direct perception. ... Experimentation and the need to break down older structures of meaning extended boundary lines in terms of the way we understand painting. There were created rich new techniques and possibilities for using paint that could only have evolved with an understanding of purely abstract forms of painting developed through this conscious act of looking."

He goes on to say that we seem to be at a similar crossroads today, with imposed meaning again becoming the gatekeeper in the art world, and the plein air painter in a position to stand for the value of direct perception.

"Contemporary painting is often prescriptive and relies on a very developed art community structure for success or failure, so once again we can see a new academia reigning over the way we perceive art. There is a need for re-appraisal within contemporary art; a re-evaluation of traditional realism is also long overdue. Purely perceptual painting is now placed outside of the newly formed arts academy structures, the low art counterpoint to the glorious and triumphant modernist experiment. The landscape painter has the potential to re-integrate the last century of experimentation into the landscape. The landscape can now be seen in its purist form of the abstract mark, perceived and invested with meaning."

Friday, October 2, 2009

Denise Champion - Open Studio & Demo

This weekend and next, October 3-4 and 10-11, Denise Champion will be participating in the 15th annual Whatcom Artists' Open Studios Tour in Bellingham Washington. She will be demonstrating both weekends.

This is the website for the Studio Tour, which includes 51 artists and craftspeople in the area - glass, pottery, jewelry, fiber arts, sculpture, wood, metal, photography and mixed media.