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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Day 2 of OPA activities-Painting Evergreen

Thursday was the second day of the Oil Painters of America's activities. We started at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast hosted by Plein Air Magazine at Evergreen Fine Art Gallery; then maps and a goodie bag were provided for painting in and around Evergreen. I went off in search of something besides landscape so headed the opposite direction of most; towards the little town of Kittredge. I got separated from my two buddies I was going to paint with taking a few last photos before we headed up to Parmalee Gulch, or so I thought! I was sure I was not "that" far behind them. Did not catch up to them, but I did find a great spread of blue farm buildings, of which I sat and did a study for a larger painting just to get a feel for the place.
When I stopped in Kittredge for lunch, I got to talking to the waitress. Not only had she seen me painting alongside the road on her way into work, she told me that this family has started farming and they are on Facebook. I will have to give them a heads up when I get this painting done. There were two horses, who in this photo are off to the far right. I do have better references for them.
Abstracted Queen Anne's Lace, 10x8, oil on board
After grabbing my "to go" burrito, I looked to see if Margaret's car was parked where I knew she was staying, and it was! She had come back after losing me to just paint along Bear Creek right outside the cabin where she was staying. I decided to join her. Being ready for some shade, I set up in front of Queen Anne's Lace. It stayed in the shade, but as the sun moved overhead, I did not; I ended up moving to a shadier place to finish it, and therefore went for a more abstracted view of it than a truer to life version.

OPA had a meet and greet and get your registration packets starting at 4 at the Elks Lodge. I got there early thinking I would head home after signing in...ended up enjoying a beer with some folks from Montana and getting a bunch of freebies from reps from different paint companies. There was a nice spread of appetizers provided for us starving artists. I must say OPA has done a bang up job of putting all this together. It was fun meeting more new people and catching up with old friends.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Opening Night 2012 Oil Painters of America

Here is my painting on the wall of Evergreen Fine Art Gallery after the show was hung last week. The opening was a madhouse last night as most openings are. The painting to the left of me won an award last night, so I was in good company. There were lots of paintings sold which is always thrilling to see. You can barely tell, but each painting has 2 cards stacked. The top card had a pull tab for the buyer to take to buy their choice and my painting's card was gone when the doors first opened at 5 pm. The exhibit is up through July still plenty of time to get up and see the show for yourself.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Oil Painters of America In Evergreen. CO

Wednesday was the start of the OPA 21st National Juried Show of Traditional Oils week of activities. It started with a "Pampered Paint Out" hosted by Southwest Art Magazine and held at the SWA's regional ad reps home.You cannot tell from my photos here but there were over 80 artists on location along with some spouses. Southwest Art provided breakfast, lunch and appetizers with wine and beer, so we were definitely pampered! The food was very good. The camaraderie was worth its weight in gold. I did paint in the morning, but I wiped it off. I was not very motivated. Too many people to see and meet! I spent lunch through appetizers just walking around talking to whomever wasn't painting and watching those who were. I had a great time.
In the photo above is right in front of Kimberly's deck. It was an overcast cool day so it was perfect for so many artists. The shade was not at a premium as is usual at events of this sort. In brown is Debra Joy Groesser, an artist worth watching, from Nebraska. I don't know the others. I met Cliff Barnes from Burbank, CA, Thom Thompson from Indiana and a few whose names I don't remember but they were from Utah, New Mexico, Montana and Florida to name a few. I heard there was someone from Rhode Island and another from New Jersey. Most of the artists who come from so far tie this into a vacation.
The artist in the above photo is another artist to watch. I think his last name is Kiang and he just joined OPA so is not in the current show that is opening this evening in Evergreen. He did two amazing paintings. For some odd reason, I was out walking around without my camera most of the time so I did not get many photos. Me, who is never without a camera! Go figure. I did find out he has a gallery in Santa Fe. He does not speak much but his wife chatted with my friend, Jeanne Echternacht, seated with me below.
The Opening is at Evergreen Fine Art Gallery, 3042 Evergreen Parkway, from 5-8. The Awards ceremony is from 8:15 to 10 pm. The show is up through July 21 for those who would like to see it. I am honored to be one of the 190 artists whose work was chosen to hang in this show. The word on the street is that there were over 2400 paintings submitted! Would love to see you there tonight - come visit with artists from all over the USA!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding Hearts with Alliums, 12x9 oil on board
A few weeks ago, in my effort to get outside and paint, I tried to paint this scene in my back yard. I wiped it off when I came inside as I just was not satisfied with it. I really wanted to give it a go, so I worked this up that same weekend and then left it alone as I wasn't sure I liked it, either. Yesterday I put it on the easel to see where it would go. Looking at the photo I just took, however, I see a few things that need attention. I totally forgot to finish the trunks of the trumpet vine on the fence. And I think another allium is needed to the right of the two on the left just about where the curve in the trumpet vine trunk is.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Arts are Indispensable

I am reading a book called "The Greater Journey" by David McCullough which is about Americans who went to Paris and when the impact they had when they returned to America. It starts in the late 1820-30's where I still am, and goes through the early part of the 20th century. Here is an excerpt I read last night that I thought relevant.

"The glories of the art of the arts on all sides, in and out of doors, the conviction of the French that the arts were indispensable to the enjoyment and meaning of life, affected the Americans more than anything else about Paris, and led many to conclude their own country had a long way to go. Something had awakened within them. Most would never again look upon life in the same way, as they themselves said repeatedly in so many words."

Too true! The arts are indispensable to civilization. He was referencing visiting the Americans visiting the Louvre, attending the opera Paris had 2 opera houses in the 1830's, one did exclusively Italian) and the sculptures/gardens that dot Paris to this day. These men and women were born in American (the USA was roughly 50 years old).

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hollyhocks are Bloomin'

Hollyhocks in morning light, 14x18, oil on board
On my way to work last Friday morning I noticed these hollyhocks when I looked up the hill to see if any cars were coming. I was so taken by it that I turned the opposite direction to go take a photo or 3. I decided I really wanted to paint this over the weekend. Sunday morning I went over and got a good block in and then I went back this morning and got some more done. To have done a plein aire painting of this size in that short of a time (1.25 hrs + 1.5 hrs) felt really good. This is the first real plein air piece I have done in over a year and a half and I didn't realize until I got back outside how much I do love painting outdoors. Even standing in weeds, with the wind blowing, near I-25. I never did notice the traffic noise.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mustard Fields and Summer Art Market

Mustard Field, 8x8, oil on linen
Here is another little square painting, although this time a bit bigger than the 6x6 I have been doing. This piece seemed to need the extra room since there is more going on in it though I did try to keep it simple. It was an overcast wet day at my in-laws who live near Sacramento, and we were out walking around the property. This field was an orchard the last time we visited, and though I miss the fruit trees, the field of mustard has a certain charm to it. Lots of spring green-gotta love it.
I was attracted to this scene because of the way the mustard gave me that nice slant from left to right which then leads you to the house, right dab in the middle (a no-no!) but the rolling hills bring your eye back down. 
Went to the Art Student's League of Denver's Summer Art Market Sunday mid-day. It was a great day for it after Saturday's scorching 98 degrees. I did not see any art being carried off which was disheartening. I had not been to SAM since it has been opened up to fiber artists, and the change in in having the tents only on one side of the street. It makes for a longer walk, but it was much nicer. You could actually see into the tents and get a long view on some of the art instead of being squished, pushed and shoved. The quality of the art seemed overall improved as well. Fair prices, but I fear the buying crowd that goes to SAM wants bargain basement prices. That is especially hard on the artists now as the cost of the booth and space has doubled since I last did the market in 2010. I did see what I would call mass produced tiles and other small objects that can be sold relatively inexpensive, which also undercuts what a painter can do. The whole point of this art market is to support the visual arts and when you are competing with "art" that is mass produced, it is not a level playing field.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Oh My! Is this embarrasing!

AFTER, 2012, 16x12, Cleaning Oysters

BEFORE, 2004
Oysters are something we almost always get when we go visit relatives in California, and at the time, the oysters we bought had to be cleaned. They no longer need to be cleaned but still shucked, of course. This is a painting that I did from a photograph (a 6x4" photograph at that) 8 years ago. The photo was taken in 1997, a bit before digital photography. In the original painting I left out the petunias on the wall, a favorite of my Mother-in-law's, but in the redo, I thought not only would they be a great reminder of her, but it also adds great visual interest. The petunias were in the photo.

I started out safe, and redid the boxwood hedge and then added the petunias. The petunias halted the eye moving off the painting via the wall. Then I redid his shirt and shorts really trying to simplify the shapes and giving a better sense of the light and dark patterns. Next, with great trepidation, I went to the figure. Softening the transitions between the light and darks and softening the definitions of his muscles. I warmed him up quite a bit giving him a nice farmer's tan. It may be a bit too warm, but I like it. I pushed the right leg back into the shadows where it belongs. His hair is platinum blonde and I am not totally convinced that I am done on that point. Last came the bucket and the foam cooler. I think it is much improved.

Monday, June 4, 2012

VW Bug

Orange Bug Blues, 30x30, oil on canvas
I totally reworked this painting recently. It has been "bugging" me since the last time I posted it. I am much happier with it now. It has much better flow. I am including the "original" photo below so I can explain the changes I made and what I was thinking. First I darkened all the trees in the background. That helped ground everything else. To create more contrast, I then lightened the sky just a tad. Next, I darkened the roof of the garage and created more movement in the cast shadows on the roof. Then the wall needed to come down in value as well, and I elaborated on the lighter layer of cast shadows that come from further away which creates more variety and interest. Keeping on the theme of bringing down the value, I went to the poles and the wooden fences. In the fence on the left, I went for less contrast and on the fence on the right, more contrast. I did not do too much to the bug itself except to soften some of the edges and to soften the cast shadow on the roof. The snow came last; People really liked the snow in the foreground so I hesitated to touch it but I did redo it all in the end. I kept some of the purple showing through but went more towards the blue. Blue and Orange being complimentary colors, that was my original attraction to this scene. Your Opinion?