Thursday, September 30, 2010

In the Marshes with Acrylics

It was one of those warm, late summer days so we stayed out to paint till dark... 

This marsh is part of the Rachel Carson preserve and its in the flyway, so near sunset all these migrating birds stop for the  night. Flocks of geese settled in all around us.  

Marcus is working hard at learning to paint en plein air with acrylics.

 A family came by on a leisurely walk. They wanted to see the paintings. Marcus whipped out my canvas sheet of small paintings.  He kept saying I'm a beginner.   I told him to stop saying that.   Who cares ? Everyone is a beginner at some point.  He's got guts to just try and get out there and paint !

The wind died down. The mosquitos hadn't found us.  That was nice. 

My sister Ann stopped by and the painting stories and joking started. She was soon off out looking for some lobster for dinner.

I decided I had plenty of light to do another sketch.  Light?!  Who cares about light with acrylics?  I have to paint at break neck speed so the paint doesn't dry !    

The sun was now completely behind the trees.

A family out for a bike ride to the harbor stopped and had a lively bunch of questions about our paintings and how we chose our subjects. 

We had a pile of visitors and It was a good painting session! Marcus is still trying to decide the best way to fold up the french easel. I think I've seen him do it 3 or 4 different ways . Sometimes I think he's doing it just to make me laugh. Its very entertaining having him out painting with me. 

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Scarborough's Miles of Marshes

I was invited to paint up in the marshes with a great group of painters.  Some of them are out every day painting all over Maine.
We met at the Scarborough Marsh, a truly awesome spot with long flat vistas and acres of broad expanses.   The trail used to be a railroad track. We set out early with all our assorted gear.

Decisions, paint way out or stay nearby ?  The trail through the marsh is now the Eastern Trail so it is used by many and the bicyclists are numerous.  

I like to paint out of the back of my car if at all possible. So when I saw this view not far from the parking lot I was happy.

It was maximum high tide.

The trees were getting that late summer green and some of the grasses were already starting to turn russet.

Like a number of days this summer it was getting hot and the air was still, very unusual for the marshes where the wind almost constantly blows .  I put up my umbrella so I could paint in a bit of shade.

Two other painters were just up the trail from me. 

I started the block in and noticed the tide was beginning to turn. 

More painters arrived and set up. The umbrellas looked great rising above the flat marshes. 

Midway , I'm painting fast and the tide is really going out rapidly.

Groups of bicyclists and walkers go by the entire time we are painting.

I have enough information now to finish the painting. 

The huge expanse of water behind me has dropped so much that all kinds of old docks and structures are exposed. Maybe parts of an old bridge? I'm coming back here again as soon as the weather gets chilly. This location promises nice color in autumn and great winter  scenes.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In Two Places at Once

Readers keep asking to see pictures of my work.... so I started a new blog...

Have I lost my mind? 

Its short and sweet ....

with pictures of my watercolor sketches...

field studies.....

studio paintings....

and children's illustrations...

its called... Paint Eat Sleep

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Salt, Sun and Acrylics

Some of you may know that in my secret life I am children's illustrator . I've always used watercolors for illustration. I don't know why but I reached for watercolors when I was asked to do my first illustration.     
Last year was the first time I used watercolor en plein air when bad weather forced me to work in my car on a painting trip to the Berkshires. This summer happened to be the "plein air trial run" for acrylics. Acrylics?  What's an oil painter doing painting with acrylics?

 Its all because of Marcus - he wanted to paint with me outdoors and thought acrylics would be easier to start with than oils. So we decided to just dive in and go for it. 
I had a bunch of acrylics in the studio. We grabbed the colors I had and headed to Wells Harbor for our first experiment.The clouds, water and boats were spectacular!

We set up easels side by side so we could take notes from each other.  We taped large sheets of canvas paper to gator board and we each painted 4 small studies on it. This was Marcus' very first time painting so he'd keep asking, "How did you mix that color?" What a brave guy- and he's doing this outdoors? Its hard enough to mix colors indoors! 
We discovered we didn't have any red ! What a hoot! We had blues, greens, yellows, white and black.  We pretended ochre was our red. What a color harmony! Still we could paint recognizable trees, sky and water. 

As evening set in people gathered next to us to fish off the rocks. They were all on vacation and having a great time. The night before one of the girls caught a 20-pound striper, so everyone was hoping for a rerun.

As the sun set and the fishing crowd grew they came by to look at the paintings and talk to us.  Acrylics are very fast drying. No time for chatting.  Not only were we losing our light but our colors on the palette were drying up fast!  

Marcus graciously took over public relations. He packed up his brushes and joked with the guys. 

The clouds started to catch the really warm golden light from the setting sun so I went for a small fast sketch before it got dark. I can tell I am going to really like acrylics. They are like a combo of watercolors and oils. When I get used to this super speedy drying I'll be fine. I ordered some reds so soon we 'll have all the colors we need to make some decent paintings. Let's just hope we have a nice, long, warm autumn to help out!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Paint, Eat, Sleep

What a whirl wind week- the usual at plein air events.  Everything is at mega speed, you paint in the morning at one location and by afternoon you think you were there yesterday .  You paint, eat, sleep and do it again. The days run together and blur...
Then there's this big party...

and there is music...

and laughter...

secrets are shared...

new friends celebrate...

the collectors arrive...

awards are given...

congratulations and good cheer abound...

 the moment is fleeting...

painting is a memory...

art leaves for a new home...

parting is imminent...

the crowd is gone, the couch is full ...

we leave Vermont and head for home.

The North Bennington Plein Air Competition
Judge: James Gurney
First Prize: Jane Ramsey
Second Prize: Andrew Orr
Third Prize: Hiu Lai Chong
Peoples Choice: Chris Coyne