Saturday, June 09, 2007

June 9 - Back in California, and memories of Kentucky in Oils

Back home again, into the hot tub, two glasses of wine later, and I'm about ready to slide into the sheets for a good night's rest! Although I'm posting it at 8:45 pm, my head thinks it's 11:45!! The flights were uneventful, but it was hard to say goodbye to Melissa and Kentucky--but who's complaining with the reception awaiting here? We went over to the Red Mile and did some needed reference photography of the harness horse training and workouts before she took me to the airport.

Today's painting is one that I did on location at the Iroquois Hunt Club creek a few days ago, and is the second of three I did that afternoon. This one, a five by seven oil, as compared with the first, shows how important it is to have the sense of place "in place" before beginning painting. It is much better in design and value than the first, more hurried one of yesterday. It really says moving water and stream to me.

Tomorrow the routine begins again, with some stress, yet I know I am happy to be home, refreshed, loving my hubby, so will say "nighty nite" to all of you for yet another day. Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your artistic journey!

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8 - Leaving KY, Creek Study, 5 x 7 Oil

How sad I am that this is my last night in Kentucky--yet how happy I will be to see and enjoy all that awaits me upon my return to California tomorrow! I share with you one of the two quick studies I did a couple days ago while Painting with Kathy Lambert from Florida. This is the warm up one, while I was still establishing a "sense of place" in my mind. It is of the creek, still swollen from the recent rains, behind the Iroquois Hunt Club.

Interesting that I have found just how important it is to take the time to get a "sense of place" before beginning a plein air painting. Without it, one's work looks false and full of effort. I'm sure you'll see that tomorrow's 5 x 7, which was painted immediately following this one, is MUCH more evocative of the creek and its gift of being in front of me. I will miss the rushing and trickling water, but my pond is working well at home now, and I can hardy wait to see it.

That sense of place comes when I wait in an area for 30 to 45 minutes before begining painting. I can set up, but tend to wait until I have allowed the site to sort out in my head, making the choice of what to paint an easy one. The place tells me. So when you head out the door to paint--don't be in such a hurry to set up and get something done. Sometimes the best learning time is BEFORE you lift your brushes, when you rest quietly and allow the place to speak its special magic to you!

I went for my last ride around the farm today with Melissa, on Belle who was again a joy to ride, and we circled by these round bales. I will so miss the greens and yellows of this area!

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

June 7 - Getting There, But Not Quite, and Ashford Stud

It is almost done, and if you'll again compare this painting with yesterday's in process, you'll see I have don a tremendous amount to alter and change those large laid-in shapes! It isn't finished yet, but at this stage I may need to stop so it will be able to travel back home on Saturday. I travel with not-quite-dry oils by sandwiching them between sheets of wax paper, and wrapping the pile of paintings so they don't shift while in transit. I can also "quick dry" some of them by putting them on the dashboard of a closed up car in the sun. At least dry enough to travel.

Today was special in another way, because friend and artist Barbara Livingston picked me up, for a fun day of signtseeing in her old "turf"--she grew up in Versailles. We also had a unique opportunity to visit Ashford Stud, where outstanding horses such as Fusaichi Pegasus, Hennesy and Giant's Causeway are in full breeding season. Amazingly beautiful stallions, we were able to get behind the scenes with an escort by Helen from Ireland, whom Barbara knows. She took us all throughout the farm, seeing horses worth millions of dollars and the extraordinarily beautiful grounds.
Here we are at the main gate of Ashford. If you'd like to see more, please go to there site here.

Also, if you go to the Bluegrass Plein Air site, here, and scroll down a bit, you'll see a photograph of a bunch of plein air painters from our excursion to the Shaker Village site. Fun!

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

June 6 - The Lesson Painting, Next Steps

If you'll compare this image with yesterday's blocking in of the value pattern, you'll perhaps see that I have kept with the general values of the areas as I fill in the larger color notes of those areas. Think of a quilt with the swatches of fabric, that create a design of values. I fill in the large "swatches" of color to make my quilt, and then embellish the swatches to make a finished painting. Can you guess which swatch is missing? Yes, the sky! (and the distant fields and the tops of the Queen Anne's Lace, but those are small ones.)

Today I spent a wonderful afternoon with Kathy (omigosh, forgot her last name!) and David her husband, who came up to Lexington from Florida to visit relatives and see the horses, and we got together and painted down at the Iroquois Hunt Club. I managed to do three paintings--two of the creek and one of the Grimes Mill, which is now the Hunt Club headquarters. Great day, not many bugs and great company! Have a safe trip back to Florida!

Tomorrow I meet up with Paint-L member Barbara Livingston, and we'll be seeing the horse farms, and spending some wonderful time together. You bet, more painting!
You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 5 - Lesson Painting, Kentucky Countryside Continued

When I work on a painting that has no "obvious" focal point selected, i have to be very careful to balance the value groupings to convey the viewer's eye to whatever I decide will be the eventual area of greatest interest. One exercise for artists to discover their own strengths and preferences in value placement and weight, is to take black and white paper, and cut shapes out of the black to place on the white paper. One can get a strong feeling for what "goes right" in this exercise. Looking at my painting at this stage, it is as if I did that exercise! However, my values structure is locked in, and as I progress, I won't lose sight of those large darks.

Today was a wonderfully full day with a three-hour trail ride deep into the Kentucky woods with friends of Melissa. I rode Belle at first, but she pitched a fit when she couldn't lead the ride, so i switched horses with J.B., Melissa's daughter. I'm on "Lurch", a HUGE Irish import hunter gelding in this photo--the red horse on the left. We're at the "Blue Hole" although it doesn't look blue right now. Beautiful ride!

To show you just how BIG this nice fellow is, here's a photo of me next to him after the ride. I'm 5'4" tall, and he TOWERS over me! It was like riding an aircraft carrier, and just look at his feet!

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

June 4 - Shaker Village On Location, Lesson Painting

Off to meet up with about eight other plein air painting buddies at Shaker Village this morning, and the weather could not have been more perfect! Breezy and sunny, with puffy clouds (that later became wonderful rain!), I quickly painted a 5 x7 study, and then decided to start a lesson painting for your enjoyment.

And enjoyment was all over the place, because this area is absolutely beautiful for painting! I took 65 photographs before beginning the session--the place has so many painting opportunities, I can see why it is a favorite.

My source material is below, to share with you what I was seeing while painting. My first pass is the OH-SO-IMPORTANT abstract structure--the bones of the canvas. My underpainting to get rid of the white 16 x 12 canvas was a concoction of cad orange and sap green, thinned and rubbed out.

These lines may be "scribbles and jots" to the casual observer, but these lines are crucial to establishing the division of space and patterns of repetition to carry the eye. I was intrigued by the tree in the meadow above, and that repeated ball of tree on the lower right, and the linear quality of the Queen Anne's Lace and the shadow shape of the tree line near the horizon.
Tomorrow I'll start covering the canvas, and yes, I almost finished it today!

After painting, we all enjoyed a Shaker meal for lunch in the original buildings. Wonderful time!

This message posting is the 601st message on my blog! My goodness! How time flies.

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

June 3 - Fireflies and Thunderstorms

A very full day today, with a trail ride through several farms and along deep forested creeks with belly deep grass, creek crossings and wild turkey hens thundering up out of the meadow to startle the horses! We saw white tail deer and had a great ride early this afternoon.

Then, as the weather mixed up the sky, I headed over to the end of the barn under cover while the wind buffeted the trees and painted this 8 x 10 oil of the back pasture. The skies opened up and drenched the parched fields in a ducket-filling downpour that left as quickly as it began. It has been close to a record number of days without rain, although still the greens are everywhere. Painting while the rain clattered like marbles on the tin covering was exciting, yet that was topped by the discovery of a corn snake--a species I haven't seen close up in the wild--coming to watch. Gentle enough to capture, I showed it to the farm manager's boy and friend, then we let it loose in the woodpile.

Tomorrow Melissa and I head over to Shaker Village where the workshop was going to be held, and spend a day painting on location with a group of local artists. It will be a full day. But today was not finished yet, as I just felt I had to go out and try to get a photograph of the fireflies/lightning bugs that are such a part of my growing up, and so welcoming to see yet again. We don't have these insects in California, and they are so dear to my heart. Who says you can't photograph a lightning bug? I was able to get these two on the driveway up to the farm! I'm just glad nobody was around to take a picture of this crazy artist chasing bugs!

You can see the entire blog here.

If you need to email me directly, please click here.