Tuesday, May 15, 2012

"Little Creek at Carter Caves

I got my money's worth today at Carter Caves Park starting at 7:30 this morning and finishing up this evening at 8:00 pm. This is such a beautiful place. I could work here every week for the rest of the year. 

But tomorrow is my final day here and then off to Broad Ripple Art Fair.

My favorite pastel of the day is another one of the lake this evening but since I posted the lake yesterday, I'll show the reference photo, initial step, and final pastel of a tributary to a creek on Horn Hollow path.
My earlier pastel of this site took in more of the scene but that was taking in too much and with this piece I focused on the side creek with an emphasis on the ripples.

Tributary creek on Horn Valley Trail -- reference photo for "Little Creek"
"Little Creek" initial drawing

"Little Creek" 8"x12" plein aire on wallis sanded paper

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunset over Smokey Valley Lake

Tree frogs chirp as we hike down to the lake at Carter Caves Park.

The day has been misty wet but the sun peaks through the clouds at sunset.

Smokey Valley Lake at Carter Caves Resort Park photograph taken on May 14, 2012

"Sunset over Smokey Valley Lake" Wallis sanded paper

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Elkhorn Creek from my kayak

Drawing with pastels while sitting in my kayak isn't the easiest way to create new work, but OMG, was the creek beautiful today. Bright blue skies with fluffy clouds, geese honking, bobwhites singing, a light breeze and plenty of water in the creek....a bit too much water. My plan to paddle up creek was a good idea but hard to execute - oh my aching arms, and I'm a bit sunburned. Forgot the sunblock.

Back to the art.

Part of the plein air experience is recording the image quickly and with enthusiasm because the scene changes so quickly, especially sitting in a boat. My expectations remain high ... to create something worth taking to an art fair. But sometimes that's not the real reason to work on location. Sometimes you just have to relax and enjoy all the sensory experiences and be happy with the day.

This piece was difficult - I tried to take in too much of the scene and ended up rubbing out the whole thing with a paper towel, which produced a good medium green underpainting. Then I took a big breathe, talked to myself about just enjoying the experience, and started again. Painting/drawing requires that not only you get into the "zone" but that you also watch what you're doing and respond to what is actually happening on the paper. I tried to view the pastel strokes as an abstract painting, checking the shapes and enjoying the color. It was fun watching my mind bounce back and forth between "watch the abstract shapes" and "oh, that doesn't look like a tree"

Tomorrow, when I work in my studio I'm going to use some of these plein air sketches and reference photos and see what new piece I can create.
"Elkhorn Creek May Day" 8" x 12" pastel on Wallis sanded paper

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Elkhorn Creek with the Plein Air Painters

This morning the Plein Air Painters of the Bluegrass met at Elkhorn Creek close to Peak's Mill for a morning paint out thanks to Betty BeShoar who secured permission from the landowner for us to set up along the creek.
The creek is always a beautiful place to work but I was especially interested in getting in some plein air practice because of my upcoming project. The Kentucky Department of Parks has generously granted me hotel space at 9 of the state parks. While staying at the parks I will be creating plein air drawings of the beautiful landscape. KY Parks are known nation-wide for their beauty and hospitality.
From those sketches I will create larger works which along with the initial sketches will appear in my show at Artists' Attic in Februray 2013.
So here are 2 sketches from this mornings plein air practice session.
"Elkhorn Creek May Morning" 8"x12" plein air drawing on Wallis sanded paper

"Elkhorn Splits" 12"x8" plein air drawing on Wallis sanded paper