30 July 2016

"Scrap Sneaks" - Painting Imagined Landscapes and Light

In between other work, while seated at the drawing desk and transitioning through entirely unrelated work to what I'm about to show here - graphite rendering of representational trees from observation and mythological subject allusions - I felt a need to shake something out.

I honestly had no conscious notion as to what, why, or how.

It helps, sometimes in life, to let go of the steering wheel and just see what the corporeal vehicle our psyches flutter within will do on its own.

I had some old cold-press watercolor paper primed and taped down in individual, identical squares that were waiting patiently on a board against the wall.

I took out acrylics, which, if you have seen my work, you know I rarely ever use, and never just on its own as the medium of choice.

Here's what I scribbled out, rather fast, no under drawing, no reference, just...allowing the sponged up imagination to exude some of it's visualization in a way not dissimilar to free writing.

I discovered they were landscapes, at different times of the day, with different geographical features as focus.

All are acrylic on primed cold-press, 3x3", a total of six, and I deliberately restricted myself to two brushes.

It was a refreshing exercise for me, and I am glad to have this group to gain further insight into how my learning is going.

I'm not sure if these will have any future application or if they are just what they are, and I'll occasionally add to the batch... We'll see!

Sundown over Tree Hill
Twilight over Lowlands
Moonrise across Valley
Sunrise across Fields
Daylight through Woods
Sundown beyond Waves

I'm not sure why I jumped to water for that last one, but it was a playful flurry of color, and it was fun to try out.

Which one is your favorite?

So those are some recent scrap sneaks from the studio - It's been a while, I know. More to come!

Happy creating,

18 July 2016

Plein Air Watercolors and Adventure in the Wilds of Maine - Summer 2016

I've taken part of July to escape into Nature.

The big 'N' has long been absent from my life - Isn't it amazing how tragic the lack of it is, but so commonplace?

Anyways, I dabbled in the unfamiliar world of plein air painting, or rough paint sketching, in my case, and produced a handful of studies to make note-like memories of truly stunning land and weather.

We visited Maine, in the far north, just a hop and a skip over from the French Canadian border, and were immersed in the lush green and wet scent of historical logging country.

Focusing on quiet expeditions out into the forested mountains and massive Moosehead Lake territory, we fumbled at balancing adventure time with art time.
It's hard to whip out the handmade book and paints to set up a study session when you're in the throws of breathless admiration for a 3196 ft rocky climb shrouded in mystery. Equally difficult to get to those art tools when you're paddling around island after island covered in unique flora and putting those muscles to good use, gazing up into the watercolor skies, out across blue layers of land, and down into the clear depths of cold northern water.

But I have some samples, and photographic evidence to share, nonetheless:

I'm sharing the scans from the book I was working in, handmade paper and leather bound, rather rustic, with hand-written notes on location and time - Fairly intimate.

Also, all the plein air watercolor sketches are done on either one page or a double page spread, making them either 5x7" or 10x7", at most.

Fairly small works, taken down between fifteen minutes and half an hour.

In a few instances, the atmosphere was so wet with mist and rain, and the washes of cool color on the paper so wet, that I had to spend most of the time on them just getting them to dry enough to add more defining strokes.
At Kelly's Landing, I was sheltered under a little bench roof, surrounded in water and rain, huddled in a raincoat, and painting on my lap, briefly. Fun!

The last one is clearly more rendered out than the earlier wilderness sketches, and was aided by a photo of the lighthouse, as I completed it on the drive back down through seven states to home.

For those not familiar, it is the famous Cape Elizabeth Portland Headlight, right on the coast of Maine. The tourists, the wedding party, the school kids, oh all of them were flocking to the place! We stayed maybe half an hour, at most.

I started it with quick washes of color notes taking down the orientation of the water, the horizon, the distant land and rock shapes, clouds, and subtle shifts between everything.

For whatever adventure's you're on, go outside, live under the sun a while, and take some art supplies with you - They make for creating more lived-in memories than photographs, in many cases.

Happy Summer!