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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Destination Steamboat Springs

Last Tuesday I drove up to Steamboat Springs for the annual destination paint out put on by the Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC). The event started with a welcome dinner that evening. It is hard to talk to many people when you are so many seated at a long table, but it is always fun to sit with people you don't know. At least half of those artists that evening I had never seen or met before. Who knew my dining partner that evening would be the husband of a fellow artist from the Springs. A Methodist minister to boot! Now that was fun! I love to talk religion and politics at dinner...really.

Wednesday was the start of the scheduled events and we had permission to go onto a private development and club house in Pleasant Valley to paint for the day. I chose to paint in the morning along the main road on the way to the Club. Here is painting number one:
Stables and Barn, 9x12, oil on panel
I was so happy that I got one done and under my belt I was ready to go and try another for the afternoon. I am saving that for another time.

Thursday I went out on my own as I was less than thrilled with that days painting location. The artists that did stay and paint aspens turned out some nice work, but I was so taken with the vistas of the Yampa Valley that painting in a densely treed location was not going to work. In this next painting I was specifically looking for color and patterns and playing with the cutaways shapes. I have thoughts of playing around with this more but for right now I am letting it sit. I was standing in the shadows of a big display board for the areas recreation of fly fishing and biking. This parking lot was very active for bikers and so I was never alone, so to speak. I met one fly fisherman whom I went down to the river to talk to after I was finished for the day. You meet such interesting people when you paint outdoors. Most are interested and curious in what you are doing.
the Cutaway, 12x24, oil on linen
Friday found me back on road 131 not far from the stables and barn above. That road was so scenic it was hard to not stop and at least take photos the whole length of it. The problem for the most part is having a place to pull over and paint. Two of us set up to paint hay bales and before we knew it, we were joined by 4 more artists. Here are a few of my painting buddies:
and my hay bale painting:
Hay Bale  Harvest, 9x12, oil
A number of cars actually stopped and came by to see what we were doing and the truckers honked their appreciation as they flew on down the road. It really is a kick to be outside painting.

As I am not used to standing out in the sun and the wind and the rain days in a row, I headed home on our last day instead of painting. It was another private ranch we were allowed access to in the Mt Zirkle wilderness area so I am sure it was fabulous. I heard tell that next years' paint out will be in Durango. I had not been on a destination paint out in years. I had forgotten what a blast it can be and so good to reconnect with your buddies you don't see unless you participate in the weekly calendar paint outs. Note to self...get your gear and get out doors!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Road Home - CR 519

The Road Home-CR 519, 9x12, oil on panel
Last week was spent up in Fraser, CO. A dear friend of mine offered me his home while he and his wife attended a conference. It was rather last minute, but who can resist a place to stay at the peak of wildflower season? With the added bonus of cooler temperatures and the home in question being brand new with a view over the valley below it?

For whatever reason, roads still attract me as subject matter, so here is the straight and narrow, well graded road off which I stayed. I painted this scene last fall after my last stay up at this house, but in that painting played it a bit more abstractly. In case you missed that post, here is the painting as comparison from a slightly different angle.


I wish I could say I painted this plein air, but alas, no. I had ventured out to paint the wildflowers but realized rather quickly that without bug spray this was a losing proposition. I came home with a number of mosquito and horse fly bites and no painting to show for it. In a few weeks I will join PAAC for their annual paint out trip which this year is in Steamboat Springs. I have already made sure bug spray is included. I will also try a homemade chemical free recipe I found on Facebook but will take the chemical weapons as back up. I do not like being eaten alive.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Winter Still Life -revisited

Winter Still Life, 16x20, oil on panel
This painting below that was posted this past winter needed to be reworked. I did this painting from an old slide I found from decades ago. I always liked this image so I was happy to find it after years of being packed away in the basement.

I wanted to put it in so you can see the difference as I explain what I did. the most obvious is that I lightened up (or added atmosphere to) the trees across the way. then I added more color and warmth to the overall painting. More reflected light gave the overall structure less heaviness and the birds now are more interesting.

Here is an interesting note. In my spring cleaning I came across a photo I had had made from the slide. I had forgotten all about it, but then remembered having framed it to hang on my wall. The photo was much better visually but it was also a mirror image to that of the slide! So though I had this improved image, I had to switch it visually from the photo to the painting. A mind bender to be sure.

Let me know your thoughts.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Racked Sea Kayaks

Racked, 20x30, oil on linen
Here is a painting recently uncovered in my basement as I continue to cull through my life's work. It is not that old in the scope of things and for some reason I did not give much credence to it when I painted it. But now, looking at it, I am trying to figure out what it was that made me dismiss it out of hand. I showed it to a few people yesterday to see what they thought and it met with very positive responses. Who knew? Just goes to show we can be our own worst enemies. I have not shown this painting since I painted it and now it is up and on display at Gallery 1505 on South Pearl Street. It is very different subject matter for me. But here is why I was attracted to consider painting kayaks.

Italy's Adriatic coast was on my agenda when I went to Italy 4 years ago after not having been there in decades. We were in Venice and I wanted to go to the beach to give myself a few days away from the crowds of tourists that we were a part of in Paris, Venice and next, Rome. I was interested in Ravenna, the mosaic capital of the world, which is a 3 hour train ride south of Venice. We stopped there for a night and then down to Pescara from there. Pescara is a very popular beach resort area in the summer, but we were there in October so the season was over. The weather was still warm enough to walk the surf, if not swim. I walked that beach each morning and evening. The locals are bundled up in coats and us foreigners in t-shirts. I consider mid-70's perfect! I saw these sea kayaks on one of long walks (the coast line extends 12 miles at this particular area) and saw great abstract patterns. There were a number of these racks lined up but I liked that this particular rack had the cabanas behind them adding to the pattern and throwing in that yellow.

A side note; in hind sight, this stop to decompress was pure genius. When we arrived in Rome, not only was it the day of the Rome Marathon, but it was also a day the Pope beatified 13 saints from around the world and there were pilgrims from every corner of the globe that day!! Took us over an hour from the train station to our lodgings by the Vatican because the roads were blocked for the marathon and then the papal dismissal came as we were trying to get to where we were staying. Just goes to show, check out what is happening in the big cities when planning your itinerary especially when going to Rome! Lesson learned.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

From Here to Eternity II

From Here to Eternity II, 12x24, oil on linen panel
As a movie I was watching was beginning recently, I noticed the beautiful abstract landscapes of the intro with the credits. The images were so abstract that they did not at first read as a real place in any landscape. I had to go back a number of times to really note what these photographs were saying. They so impressed me I decided to translate them in my own way. Here is the first of these images that so captured my imagination. I call it From Here to Eternity II for, I think, obvious reasons. The road is straight for miles without end. The film took place in Australia. The II is because I named another painting recently the same title, also of a road. In the blogpost it did not have that title yet.

It is a good vehicle for me to keep things simple; to try and add visual interest to very basic shapes.

I think it does beg the viewer to ask themselves some questions. For me, I was thinking about the road I am on. It isn't really as straight and narrow as I would like. In fact, the next painting from this movie inspiration is more like the road I believe I am on which is full of circles which I hope I can break out of soon to get on this road in the twilight of my life. Much calmer and straight forward.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Rolling Tundra

Rolling Tundra - Guanella Pass, oil on panel, 15x30
Last fall on a beautiful day, a friend and I went up to hike on Guanella Pass. We headed the opposite direction of most hikers who stop here. The more 'usual' hike is to go to Mount Bierstadt. There is no cover from the sun and as you continue to wander up the path there seems no end. Around every bend the path goes around some willows or another roll in the landscape. And then you stop to catch your breath and there lies before you these glorious colors. It was incredibly beautiful and this particular scene off to our left was a marvel to me. The fall colors of the willows looked like polka dots as they tumbled down the hillside in oranges, reds and purples. It was one of those clear blue, not a cloud in the sky, Colorado days.

I started this painting right after the hike itself, but so much has been going on. Finally finishing it just recently. I did saturate the colors just a little bit but not as much as you might think!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Growth and Renewal

untitled, 30x20, oil on linen
“It is with art as it is with trees, constant growth and renewal. Seeking new forms of expression is a vital necessity for art. When art doesn’t put out new shoots, it is dead.” Birger Sandzen, 1913

With this quote in mind, here is a piece that shows something different for me. I have been digging through my old works lately and I am surprised by what I am finding. Lots of good work hidden below. It energized me. My roots are more graphic and flat before I opted to move to the more representational arena.

For this painting I used a photo my son had taken of some old buildings downtown Denver. Since the same rules apply in abstraction as they do in any other painting, I was not only thinking what colors to use but also what colors were in which value group. I was also thinking about repeating patterns using the 'windows' and architectural details to break up the bigger shapes whether they were there or not. The light group is used to help move the eye around.

Here is the image in B and W to illustrate the values and how the colors group.
untitled in B&W
If anyone has a brilliant idea for a title for this piece, I would be happy to hear it. I am stumped. Thank you in advance.