Wednesday, October 21, 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.
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
- 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
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
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.