Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Payne, Puthuff, Wendt

Laguna Invitational October 2009

October post left in the draft box
After spending 3 and a half weeks in CA, my mind is still reeling from all that I saw and experienced. As I mentioned the Irvine Museum's Collection was wonderful and what perfect timing, for a change on my behalf, seeing that I just missed the Wendt Exhibit last year.

The Laguna Invitational was a great experience. I met a lot of high caliber artist, saw how they interpreted the same area that I painted in, and what a difference your background and influences make, as well as experience. Since expanding out of the Midwest a few years back I have always been aware and appreciated what I walked away with. This trip did not disappoint at all.

I was challenged during the quick draw more then usual. First off everyone was somewhat set up along the coast (Heisler Park area). Little did we know the fog would soon roll in, making it impossible to see the scene that you began with.
Being that most of these painters have painted the surf and coastal scenes for many years, I did not feel that would be a good choice on my behalf. These folks can do this stuff in their sleep, and with only 2 hours, I opted to paint a view of Jesse Powell, John Budicin, Calvin Liang and Robert Watts Painting the costal view. Not necessarily an easier task but one I felt more comfortable doing, versus going head to head with these guys with what began as a slightly sunny scene and ended as a foggy one.

I was most impressed with the air and atmosphere that most of these west coast folks utilize. The light play, design, and rhythm of the surf and their interpretation was very inspirational.
George Strickland has a wonderful command of this. His values are light and airy along with strong designs and very harmonious color schemes and wonderful atmospheric effects.

I could definitely benefit from hanging around these guys and their different influences and ways of interpreting the world as we see it, hopefully our paths will cross again in the future.

California Impressionists - Close Ups

These images are close ups from William Wendt and Hanson Puthuff paintings.
The more you look the more you see.

Irvine Collection, CA

While hanging out in Newport Beach with Greg LaRock, we were invited to an opening by Randy Highbee, King of Frames, held at the Irvine Collection. What a treat that was!
During my last trip out to Cali last year they were just installing the William Wendt Show at the Laguna Museum when I was flying back. So naturally I really enjoyed seeing the 4 WilliamWendt paintings as well as paintings by Sam Hyde Harris, Jack Wilkinson Smith, Edgar Payne, Joseph Kleitsch, Guy Rose, Frank Cuprien, and Hanson Puthuff just to name a few.
I have admired many of these paintings in books but as always seeing the original and being able to get within inches of it, was really quite inspirational and educational.
The Irvine also allows you to take photos, which naturally I did. Stepping back everything always falls into place but it is amazing what little nuances and extra touches one sees when really observing at close range. The paint texture and pure touches of color were amazing.
I went back 3 times over the week to take in as much as my eyes could handle.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

William Wendt 1865 - 1946
"Where Nature's God Hath Wrought 1925
Oil on canvas 50 1/2 in. x 60 in.

Wendt summarized his own penchant for grandeur, for experiencing in nature the fundamentals of life's processes, at a time when he was keenly aware of the destruction being wreaked by California's rampant development. Wendt, Braun, and a number of their colleagues continued to focus on such pristine views; recording society's changes and the damaged landscape was not, for them, within the purview of art.
Taken from - California Impressionism Gerdts / South

William Wendt-Hollister Peak, CA

  • The other day I ventured out and gave a shot at Hollister Peak, Wendt's famous landmark here in San Luis Obispo, CA.
Daunting task I knew but I wanted to give it a try.
I managed to consume the whole canvas ( 18x24) with the mountain and inevitably, failed miserably. I looked at an image of his painting earlier in the week but did not bother that morning. Not sure why. Not wanting to copy but definitely get a feel for what and how he did what he did was the mission at hand. I brought the painting back only to wipe it off later that evening. However I am excited to go back and try it again tomorrow, hopefully with better results this time.

After searching around with laptop in hand I did find what I feel was as close to the spot as possible, given the roadway, Highway 1, which was surely not that size back in 1925, it seems to be within the same viewing field that Wendt would have used. I was moved emotionally and happy to have the chance to gaze upon this wonderful peak, Hollister's peak, as well as the challenge it presented.
Of course I went off of Wendt's design, even though the trees have grown in a bit and the time of season is different. His painting seems to be greener and a bit more saturated most likely due to the earlier season verses the later. I was not truly interested in finishing a completed painting as much as getting a feel for it and grabbing a block in that had the same feel of the scene.
My second attempt was better. I did keep the peak where it belonged, however it was incredibly windy. I was happy to have had Greg LaRock's Gloucester style easel, which stood steady even though I took a beating. I did bail out too early and will most likely play a bit longer in the studio, but for what it was worth, I did enjoy the experience and I am grateful to have had it.
Either way the area in and around San Luis Obispo is quite spectacular. I look forward to returning in the future. For the mean time I am off to Laguna to participate in the Laguna Invitational.

Monday, October 5, 2009

San Luis Obispo Plein Air

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Plein Air event that is put on by San Luis Obispo Art Center, CA.
As I mentioned earlier, the area is absolutely beautiful with much diversity. I truly do understand why so many painters made the trek out west to California. Between the coast, harbors, inland wineries, valley farms, foothills, and just about ever where you look , there is something to be painted. I could really burn through a lot of linen out here. Not enough time in the day.
The event was very well run and very well attended.
A lot of talented artists, and a fun group at that.
I was surprised and thrilled to have my painting, "Amigos, Morro Bay" 18 x 24, chosen as best of show. It is always a treat when you win the favor of the judge for that particular day. All in all it was a very enjoyable event, met a lot of great new artists as well as hung out with some of the usual suspects.
Hope to be back next year.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

West Coast Sept 09

Back in July when I was in Telluride I was convinced it was one of the most beautiful places I have ever painted at. I still think highly of Telluride but after making my second trip out to California for the SLO competition in late September, I was absolutely amazed at how stunningly beautiful California is. The ocean adds a dimension that exceeds any previous thoughts I may have had.
Midwestern or not, it is absolutely amazing.
The color, the light, the saturation, the movement, the atmosphere, the overwhelming rush you get when attempting to paint the pounding surf is unexplainable. California is without a doubt one of the top choices for me as far as painting locations go. I have heard Hawaii tops all, but for right now I cannot comment, I can only imagine.
San Luis Obispo is very beautiful, with a lot of diversity. I feel very inspired and have taken numerous photos. I am anticipating a long winter back in WI and figure these wonderful warm scenes will serve me well.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

July / August -Easton Plein Air- Easton MD

Once again, the trip to Easton has already come and gone. My how time fly's.
As always Easton has proven to be a wonderful and productive experience. Thanks to the folks of Easton, hosts of the event, volunteers, collectors, Margaret and Dick Welch our wonderful host family, as well as fellow artists for another very enjoyable year.

I have been going to Easton for the past 4 years now and as always I leave there with more inspiration and insight then I did the year before. I spent a lot of time with my house mate, Greg LaRock which as expected led to some very in depth and entertaining conversations as well as good painting time together. Got up too early and stayed up too late chatting but all worth it.

Tim Bell on the other hand was up to his usual mischief. Strong painter, very passionate, and enjoys a good bout of trash talkin'. We both have very competitive backgrounds from years of b-ball and rugby. Tim continues to push the boundaries and as always helps to get me to think outside of the box.
I really cherish going both east and west and all of the continual influences I am exposed to, all of which continue to make me grow as an artist.
Off to prepare for SLO, Laguna and Sedona.

It truly was a blast and not because Bell was tossing firecrackers all around Talbot County!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

As a plein air painter for the last almost 20 years I have used the old standard easel, being the french box. It worked for many years however it has tipped over even when weighted as well as I was finding it difficult to step back, hold my palette as well as keep a hand close enough to keep it from moving in the wind.
The tripod easels do not allow me to be as aggressive as I like to be however . . . . my troubles are over.
This easel rocks, like no other.
I was informed by Tim Bell, very talented and expressive painter in Maryland 2 years ago and finally got one, long over due.
I have taken it out in very windy conditions ( over 35 mile an hour winds) and I was beaten up and knocked around but this easel held its ground and did not budge.
I love it because it enables me to step back.
I even keep my turp cup a good 12 - 15 feet behind me to make sure that I do step back, bad habits are hard to break.

Telluride CO Plein Air Event

Absolutely GORGEOUS!

Any direction, any view, absolutely amazing.
I have painted at Glacier National, been to Estes Park, traveled through Italy painting, and yet Telluride is probably the most beautiful place I have ever been to. It was definitely overwhelming and happy to go back and settle down a bit. First trip out.
I guess that is to be expected.
This trip my inspiration came mainly from nature however Paul Casale, a very fine Jersey painter, good with a joke as well, turned me onto Edward Seago. British chap with a great deal of talent and beautiful use of grays. Very impressive on capturing a particular mood and environment. Thanks Paul!
Everywhere you look there is something to be gained.

Finally - Blogging with a laptop

I wasn't really sure where I would be going with this blog, with 4 young kids, travel, life, etc., however I have had a desire to jot down ideas and influences as they have crossed my path.
This laptop will enable me to do just that.

For example in June I went and gave a workshop at Stone Ridge Farms in Bucks County PA.
Great group, great B and B. Beautiful area with a lot of old east coast charm.
I was given the opportunity to paint and tour at Daniel Garber's studio and home.
It was very inspirational.
I also spent some time taking in a few Edward Redfeild's at the Michener Museum.
Talk about plein air at it's finest!
So much paint and yet such a sense of light and luminosity. To my understanding he would experience a scene and view it many times prior to actually painting it, then dive in and complete it in a single 8 hour session.
Talk about holding an image in your head.

Between Edward Redfield and William Wendt, thanks to my dear friend and wonderful artist Greg LaRock, my CA connection, I am definitely looking at the wold with different eyes and insights. Not being timid, seeing and painting in color, building off of what is presented to me but being ready and willing to interpret, enhance and seeing beyond the obvious.