Wednesday, November 20, 2013

An Epiphany

While painting in Laguna recently, most likely after spending some time at the Irvine Museum looking at Payne and Wendt, I had an epiphany of sorts. Something I have been doing for a while but never really put my finger on it, knowingly that is.

I may have even heard it somewhere before and had it locked away deep in my head, but in any case, it came to me.

A simple statement yet a big idea.

Isolate your light and shadow patterns but do not isolate your colors.

Easy, no?

I have attached an image without Bryan's Mark Taylor's consent, hopefully he is cool with this.
I believe it is a good example of what exactly I am referring to.

On a closer look we can see that within this shadow, we still have all of our values correctly stated, staying where they should and yet an array of colors are being used, no loss of what is in light versus what is in the shadow area here what so ever.

Jill Carver, forgive me as well, I did not ask permission to use this, but again, great painter, great example of keeping a clear definition of our lights and shadow patterns. No confusion here.

Not sure why it took me so long to be aware of what I was already doing but grateful to have a little clarity in my life. : )

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Power of the Irvine Museum

Once again on my quest to understand, evolve, and grow as an artist, I let William Wendt get into my head during the Laguna Plein Air Event.

Whenever I am in that area I always make a trip over to visit the Irvine Museum, great place! Thanks to Jean Stern and the rest of the gang there.
As expected they had a few pieces I had not yet seen in person.

One in particular is a beautiful subtle view of Crystal Cove by William Wendt. I have been on a constant push to control my use of my darks for many years now. I know they are very important but I usually try and refrain from leaning on them too much, so when I saw this painting by Wendt I was naturally floored.

He pulled it off with so much control and no heavy darks what so ever. He didn't seem to go beyond a 70% dark in his darkest of darks. Everything was saturated so it was not a high key painting in any sense of the word, which would enable him to do that. But as I said he kept his values in such control and captured that early morning light which is usually void of any real darks anyway, due to the softness of the light.

My bad was carrying this painting around in my head for the remainder of the event.

I was fascinated by the early morning light as it began to hit the top side of Crystal Cove, so I began a 24x30 and tried slavishly to capture what I had seen.

At the time again still always trying to avoid any real darks I pushed on. I thought I had somewhat accomplished what I was after. Spent a few days chasing it and trying to preserve that quality of light in the overall scene. I decided it was finished and submitted it to the show. I was very happy to receive an award for it from the Randy Higbee Gallery, which somewhat validated my decision to submit it.

I have found that since returning to my studio that the painting did indeed need some of those added touches of darker notes, still not heavy darks but definitely pushed a bit.

I have since gone back into the painting and feel it is in a much better place now.
Still have a great deal of respect for Mr. Wendt and will continue trying to acquire the ability to do what he was able to do with that ever elusive morning light.

In all honesty I hate to even post this next to Wendt's piece.

Final 24" x 30" Colors of Morning, Crystal Cove

Detail shot

Back on a plane before Oct 31

I was on a plane which seemed to be more than not in October, but here was a couple of damn good reasons to get back before the end of the month.

Ya'all know Barbara Stroud? You should!

Barbara is a wonderful gal that lives in Charleston SC with her husband Fred and their frisky pooch Charlie.

Barbara posts a fun and enlightening daily blog.

She and her husband are huge supporters of the arts and are very involved in the art scene in Charleston, which I  might add is a very vibrant one at that.

While I was in GA I buzzed over to pay them a visit and wish Fred a Happy Birthday.
We had a wonderful couple of days before I had to head back to the cold frigid weather of Wisconsin.
We wined and dined and bounced around the galleries as well as hit Bowens for some great seafood.

Barbara carries her camera about as much as I do if not more, which according to Tim Bell, is just nuts! But in any case I did manage to snap a few pix of the gal behind the blog, doin' her thang.

Assessing and keeping a watchful eye on the rising tide.

The T Bell wall

Charlie, frisky and funny as all hell!

Honing in.

Thanks again Barbara and Fred, ya'all are great!!

Workshop Newnan GA

Thanks to Millie Gosche for hosting a workshop in Newnan GA right after the Laguna event this past October.

Millie if you do not know her, that in itself would be amazing to me seeing that everybody knows Millie, is a local celebrity with a national following. I have painted around the country and anytime you meet someone from Georgia, all you have to do is mention - Millie Gosche.

I left Laguna one evening and was back on a plane the following morning to head south. Thinking Georgia would be warm, similar to that of Southern California, I naturally kept my bag packed didn't even open it, shorts and shirts, and only swapped out my easel.

Didn't even have the time to double check the weather, wow what a mistake that was.
Little did I know it was colder in Georgia than it was Wisconsin!

Well thanks to Millie and all of her warm southern hospitality we managed.
It was cold a few days especially in the morning. I looked back during the first demo to see a dozen or so folks wrapped up in blankets! Gotta give them all credit!

Great group of folks, lots of good energy and enthusiasm.

Millie even set up a demo one evening at the local gallery in Newnan and had about a dozen high school students show up, and that was on a Saturday evening! I was very impressed, so nice to get a chance to share this stuff with youngsters, wish I had that when I was young.

Here are a variety of shots, a big thanks to Gene Rizzo for the use of the photos!

Painting at Callaway Farm

Nothing like a good cigar after a cold hard day painting. Gene Rizzo

Southern Gals - Millie, Marilyn, Allison

A couple of demos

All wrapped up!

Dinner out after the Saturday evening demo.

The dedicated Saturday evening High School students, thanks ya'all!!

Millie, lookin' stylish as always!

My buddy Gene

Trying to keep those hands warm.

Thanks again to all of the dedicated folks for enduring the Wisconsin type weather in Georgia! 
Thanks again Millie - it was fun!

Judging - that Four Letter Word

I have juried a number of events and shows over the years as well as participated in numerous plein air events as well as regional and national shows around the country and I have always made the comment, that wining awards does not mean you are the best artist in the room, it merely means you have won the favor of that particular judge for that given day. Relish in it when you win but do not hang your head if you do not.
It is always an honor to be recognized and it is easier to talk about this after being on both sides of the fence, versus just sour grapes. I am very happy to be able to say that I placed in every event that I competed in this year. Some years you are recognized and some years there is no such love. There is usually no rhyme or reason, it is very subjected for each individual judge, so everything and anything is fair game.

Here is a glance back at this years efforts.

Easton - Artist Choice Award

Easton 3rd Quick Draw Award

Frederick - Best Architectural Award

Florida's Forgotten Coast - Quick Draw Award

Laguna - Randy Higbee Gallery Award

Laguna - Strada Award

Richmond - Honorable Mention Award

Thanks to all of the judges that saw something in my work and selected it!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Laguna Beach 2013

I was fortunate to be invited back to Laguna Beach this past October.
They are not associated with the Laguna Art Museum any more so this was their first year at Aliso Creek Country Club.

Lots of good energy and new excitement.

Thanks to everybody involved on making it a successful event!

Here are some shots.

Eric Bowman crowding me! :  )

I was very happy to receive the "Strada Award" from Bryan Mark Taylor for my painting entitled "Window Payne"

Deborah's painting of me at Aliso Creek.

Eric Bowman

Eric sketching at the beach.

The evening of the gala event.

Incredibly huge moon hanging over Laguna.

Edgar Payne at the Irvine.

William Wendt at the Irvine.

Thanks to my host John and Lindsay I was able to paint his '55 Ford at Aliso Beach.

With my dear friend Greg LaRock

A group shot of all of the Artists.

Mian Situ was awarded a Life Achievement Award.

Painting above Crystal Cove

My new Strada Easel!

Thanks again to all the folks involved as well as all of the collectors!!