Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My Taliesin Summer part 3


Painting with Chris Gargan is very motivaitonal. He has much energy for paintning and he often completes large canvases in one go. The best thing about Chris, is that he forces you to think. During our painting time at Taliesin, we were constantly trying to restate what the experience meant to us, not only dealing with the facts of the place but how do we feel about it. The project of working at Taliesin was meant to be a leisurly time, for artists to do their thing and to come together at the end with some paintings. Because of Chris, wanting to make more of this time, we did make more of this time. We groped for answers and tried to experiment. One idea that sticks out in my mind is that Chris often enjoyed the fogginess of the first painting of the day, trying for the answers. He liked the exploration process and thought that after becoming warmed up, we would loose some of that. There were times where I was very enthused to be painting and times where I wanted to throw the canvas and never come back.

The first piece above was painted on Chris's birthday. This view of the midway farm marked the point in the summer where I started to pick up steam with the project. It was a hot and milky morning. During these hot days, the paint loosens up quite a bit, and when this happens I'm tempted to use some thicker strokes of color. It was the first piece that I tried out some transparent green gold, which gave the shadows some luminous qualities while still painting with thick impastos.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

My Taliesin Summer part 2.




Chris Gargan and I painted through some dramatic weather during our time at Taliesin. Chris stored an 10'x10' ezup tent in our studio and it enabled us to paint in both the rain and sun. The round bales piece was painted in the second half of July, we had only one morning with these bales before they were taken from the field. When we pulled up, the light was moving quickly so I tried to observe the colors of the shadowed area before they moved.

The second piece was painted on a hot and muggy afternoon, outside of the tea circle. We couldn't set the tent up at this spot, and I got nailed pretty hard with the mid afternoon light. The paint was really loose this day due to the heat and sun.

The tent saved us on the third piece shown above, and allowed us to paint under some pretty hard rains that hit at the end of the session.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Door County Plein Air

The Door County plein air festival is one of the largest events for painters in the country, and is only a few hours from my home. This was my first year participating and I had a really good time overall at the event. Dan Corey came out from Maine and we stayed at a pretty unbelievable place, the By the Bay in Fish Creek. The digs were right across the street from where the paintout happened, so there were no worries of trying to get there and park etc.

The weather on the morning of the event was pretty dramatic. There was a sliver of yellow sky below some looming storm clouds. I thought it might rain. Some artists were mixing colors on their palettes or sketching on their canvas before the horn went off to open the event, but I don't know if it helped them because the sun came out about a half hour into the paintout.

I had painted around the area the day before, and the water was much calmer. One onlooker who saw my painting from the first day, and the piece pictured above said that I dropped the ball in the contest, she liked the smooth and sunny water better than the choppy stuff that I captured in the contest. Well, opinions aside, the water was pretty choppy, and dark, that morning and I'm not out there to paint postcards.

Overall a good event. I think that for Dan and I to go out there and give our best efforts added some variety to the mix of what went on display that evening. I can't wait for next year!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My Taliesin Summer part 1

16x20" oil on linen.

12x16" oil on linen

12x16" oil on linen

This summer, Taliesin Preservation hosted a group of artists to paint on the grounds of the landmark as a part of the centennial celebration.

Chris Gargan and I decided to make the most of this project, to really get to know the landscape. The summer was characterized with the challenge of finding the most interesting way to talk about the experience and attempting to organize a landscape that was not the most pleasing around. I agree with the idea that nature is perfect, but her design is not and it was good to study ways to approach this.

Chris and I had a great time attempting to figure it out. He towed his tree fort, a studio built onto a motorcycle trailer, to a farm next to the Taliesin grounds which served as our home base. We became friends with a group of bricoleurs whose workshop was also on the farm. The bricoleurs were always around helping Chris and I make the most of our time at the property and fixing our broken down easels. They let us store water in their refrigerator and drank all of our beer. These guys even let us into some places on the property that were viewpoints that have not been accessed by the public.