Saturday, November 14, 2009

Trying New Things

Artists are suppose to have adventurous personalities and embrace change, but to tell you to truth, I think it's rare to find anyone who truly embraces change. So in October, when I had the opportunity to take an oil painting plein air workshop in Louisville, I hesitated. This might be HARD! I'll be out of my comfort zone which is my nice little studio with all my pastel colors neatly (yal, right!)messily arranged. Besides, it's going to be 32 degrees the morning that we're suppose to be outside dragging along our easels, oils, turpentine, canvases, paper towels,foot warmers, gloves, snacks, water. My comfortable studio was looking better and better.

But I confronted my fears/laziness and trucked off to Louisville to hear Phil Starke's Thursday evening presentation at Mellwood Art Center. Now I have to admit, I didn't make it back to the Friday session which was a blustery cold and gray day. Saturday was much nicer and although still cold I had a great time. Thanks, Katie, for talking me into this.

This is a bit of a long story to end up with the fact that none of my oils from the workshop survived my self-critique. They were for learning and I learned I was getting hooked on the freshness and quickness of outdoor, on the spot painting.

On the Monday after the workshop I met my friend Pat Lawrence for lunch and set up in her front yard in Chevy Chase, Lexington to paint the lovely light as it lit the yards and houses.

On Tuesday I was off to Bi-Water Farms in Georgetown to photograph their farm animal petting zoo and paint the north section of Elkhorn Creek which ran along the side of the farm.

What if I came back the next day with my pastels and kayak. Yep, I did it! I'm really hooked on plein air painting and of course I love my kayak. The creek is very calm in Georgetown because of the dam so I knew I would not have to contend with any rapids.

I balanced my boxes of pastels in my lap and propped the sanded paper attached to a board between my knees and the back of the kayak sitting area. I used Diane Townsend pastels which are large and thick. They are excellent to get a quick impression of the scene without trying to create all kinds of details and thus miss the gesture of the scene.

I've gone to Red River Gorge this fall for more oil painting but have been stumped by the darkness of my pieces when I view them at home in indoor light. This outdoor painting is new to me and adjusting my colors will come with practice I hope.

The next week, the ginkgo trees that line Catalpa Street in the Chevy Chase area of Lexington were in full height of color and the leaves were beginning to fall. Ginkgo's keep their color for weeks but when the time is right to lose their leaves, boy, they lose them quickly and if you're going to capture the essence of the happening you'd better be there at the right time.