This was done during the workshop from the end of last month. There were lots of painting subjects at the boat launch. All one has to do is nose around a little to find them. All it has to be is some small cluster of information to latch onto.
One looks at the world differently when going out to paint. You are not navigating through the world to get from point A to point B. You are looking for things that will fit on the rectangle your are carrying with you in an aesthetically pleasing way. Once deciding on that cluster, then the challenge is to make it work on that rectangle.
I have nothing more to say that is profound so I’ll stop typing. Just paint!
I often do this—make a work, put it away, then forget that I ever did it. Usually, months later, I go through my work to organize or cull the work that is not up to snuff. Then, I rediscover things I had forgotten months before. For me, art making is a compulsion. I can’t speak for other artists, but I just don’t feel right unless I am working on something. So I often tuck completed things away and go focus on the next project.
This was done early last spring. The snow had melted away and foliage had not yet begun to appear. I was riding with my hubby to our Wisconsin house and saw this along the way. It wasn’t exactly this. This is an invention from memory.
It’s a gorgeous sight in any season but, I have a particular fascination for winter color. It has wonderfully subtle earth tones of differing temperatures. It’s also very close in value. It’s not all grey. While it has color, it is low on the value scale. That’s always a challenge to control in a painting. I love a challenge!
A day or two passes and the water is blue! Go figure! The conditions changed just slightly enough to produce a steely, blue-gray color on the water. The wind changed to a breeze and shifted slightly to the west. That, along with brilliant sunshine, changed everything.
This is the edge of a boat launch with a large parking lot. It was July 4 and the launch was very busy. My friend and I slipped off onto a very rocky beach. But for the big breakwater rocks, most were the size of a typical russet potato. From this view no one would ever guess that a mass of people with cars and pick-ups hitched to boat trailers were actively putting boats into and taking boats out of the water all afternoon.
Rocks are a challenge to paint. I like to have them in front of me just to get a feel for what they are like. These are not exactly what was in front of me. This my sense of them. After all, none of us are recording devices and I am not out to make rock portraits. I wanted to express the jumbled quality and some of the textures. I also liked the arc formed by the rocks as it receded away from me. I am pretty pleased with this result. It was painted on a beautiful day, too.
I have been a busy geeza! I am retired from my teaching job, but I have not given up teaching. I hosted a four day pleine aire workshop at my house in Wisconsin. After my last day teaching at the college, I began planning for this session. I scouted for sites in public parks and got permissions from the owners of private property. Then, I prepared my house for the arrival and stay of the participants. I had five very dedicated work-shoppers.
It turned out that one site provided two days of painting activity and could easily have provided more. One location was on private property. The owner of the property gave us permission to work using this old barn as our subject matter. This kind of barn, with its stone foundation and upper timber frame construction, was very common in Wisconsin until the advent of the steel out-building. This old style barn is now disappearing due to their abandonment to decay and eventual collapse.
What is remarkable is that six people, with the same subject matter, could produce such widely differing painted interpretations. This is my interpretation. I used water color while other painters’ medium was oil paint on panels. If I had done my paintings with oil, I would have become too lost in my work to offer any advice to the others. This little watercolor is to be mounted, matted and shrink wrapped as a thank you gift for the owner of the barn property. More to come!