I’ve been clearing out a lot of junk from one of our attics lately. A few weeks ago, my husband and I were taking several large bags to the dump one morning. A big storm was moving in from the west so we put the rush on to get it delivered before the skies opened.
The dark clouds were rolling up behind us. As I was hustling along the road, I made a note of how beautiful the early morning skies were, especially the dramatic contrast between the rising sun and the storm clouds. I wished I could take some photos but kept my hands on the steering wheel. I decided to use an old trick which I haven’t practiced in quite some time. This is to memorize the scene.
Landscape and plein air painters often use this device. That is, to set their easels up facing away from the scene, then study the scene for a bit and try to commit it to memory. The point is to try not to capture every detail, but to make note of the key aspects. Then turn around and, facing your easel, begin to paint what you remember. It sounds difficult but you get better as you practice.
We made our deposit at the dump and scurried home. By this time, the skies had opened and a torrential rain was beating the car.
As soon as I got home, I went to my studio and did two quick pencil studies of what I had seen. Of course, I couldn’t remember every detail, but I think I got the jist of it. Noting the main colors which had attracted me in the first place, plus some primary shapes. I fired up these two small paintings (8 x 10) and am pretty pleased with the results.
I think the best part about using this technique is that it forces the artist to focus on the main shapes and not get lost in the weeds of details. Certainly worth a try if you have never done so before.
We have been so busy with spring activities here on the ninety acres. The temperatures have exploded from the frost predictions earlier this month to near 90s this week. No rain so we’re doing lots of watering. Everything I planted last weekend – the entire garden pretty much – is up and looking healthy. I’ll post photos later when there’s more to see.
The air is a flood of beautiful scents, roses and peonies, honeysuckle, too. The locusts are about done. The strong perfume seems to be the only redeeming value of the multiflora roses and the wild honeysuckle, both which are fighting it out in the scent category.
The farmer who rents some of our fields has been working until way after dark these days. You can see by this monster disk how much time it takes to prepare the ground. Not counting that “other” natural odor that was spread on the fields. Well, that’s called soil improvement.
And the cicadas have emerged in ever-increasing numbers. They don’t bite or sting, just climb out of the ground and then hang onto anything they can while they emerge from their shells. They can’t climb on vinyl or metal but they do like wood or just about anything else they can attach to. My husband uses the leaf blower to blow them off the porch. I use the broom. And now they’re starting to sing to attracts mates. Not as loud as it will be but it’s already beginning to sound like that weird alien noise in a sci-fi movie. The birds and frogs and toads seem sated but I watched two little lizards stalking the same bug today. I think they both missed.
Of necessity due to the heat, studio time has been limited to afternoons. I did manage to finish the painting which I started as a demo a couple of weeks ago. The Reader is a lovely piece, not in any series of paintings but just because I like the subject. I’m already scouting around for the next topic.
Posted onMay 9, 2021|Comments Off on Gallery opening….and more
Wow, what a week!
My Intimate Spaces exhibit opened this week. It was so inspiring to see two and a half years of work on display, instead of being propped against my studio walls or in boxes. Due to the virus restrictions, there was no opening reception but other events did pop up.
On Friday, I held a brief discussion about my work with a group of high school students. They asked some very perceptive questions. They were also later allowed to choose a gallery among the three to spend some time sketching.
On Saturday, I held a free public demonstration. I began a painting in my contemporary impressionist style. I got about half way through and will post photos of the completed painting at a later date. Several people I know stopped by to chat and see the show. I was happy to have a friend whom I haven’t seen since before COVID come over and visit, spend some time at the new cultural center with me, and share dinner with later. Miss my old friends terribly.
This was also the week for running around, buying plants for the garden and flower beds. They are still waiting for me and sending guilt vibes until they’re in the dirt.
Shipped a couple of paintings which I sold online. This always entails packing and paperwork, then actually posting them.
And I sorted and delivered some new work to one of the local shops. I feel so guilty for neglecting my friend but there’s only so much time. Somewhere in all this chaos I updated my website and did some posts. Whew!
So, today, Mother’s day, I’m going to take a break and do nothing. Well, that probably won’t happen as I always have something going on, but at least I have several bigger projects completed.
After a week of final framing, I packed my exhibit of thirty paintings into two vehicles and delivered them to the new Cultural Center in Jasper on Friday. It’s always a little more difficult than one would think it should be. How to layer the paintings without them scratching each other, damaging the frames, or poking through. Also, so they won’t shift while driving.
The Visual Arts Coordinator, Emily Colucci Peak, helped unload and move the work into the gallery. We unwrapped everything and sat the paintings around. Then moved them into position for hanging later this week.
Wow, so exciting to be in this new space. I still can’t believe that the whole building is the final culmination of ten years of work by many many people.
So, for those of you who are interested, the show opens on Thursday, May 6th. Although there will be no reception due to COVID restrictions, the galleries are open to the public seven days a week. Free admission and plenty of free parking in the rear of the building.
I will also be doing a demonstration painting on Saturday, May 8th from 10 to 2.
If you’re in the area and would like a private tour, let me know and I will meet you there. But the staff is very helpful and each painting will have an explanation next to it.
I'm a professional artist, retired director of a performing arts center, bona fide book addict, and enjoy the quiet life...most of the time. I'd love to hear from you or get your ideas for future posts. Come back soon!