A Colorful Summer

AtHighlandEasel

Work in Progress on Easel and View of Highland Lighthouse

Summer on Cape Cod is always colorful. From the selections of ice cream, the beach umbrellas, the kayaks on top of the cars going over the bridges, and the towels on the beaches there is color. But, this year Cape Cod Life Magazine wrote, “It’s going to be a colorful summer.” Plein Air Painters would paint, demonstate, and exhibit their interpretations inspired by Edward Hopper in “After Hopper” events hosted by Addison Art Gallery.

Plein air painters were at Highland Lighthouse which is located in Truro in the Cape Cod National Seashore. I was one of the artists who demonstrated my painting techniques in pastel near the lighthouse and the Truro History Museum.

In describing Hopper’s work Dicum of the New York Times wrote, “Isolated buildings in broad vistas are meditations on form and color that steer toward the abstract while remaining figurative.” Keeping this in mind, I set up my easel, so that the lighthouse was viewed at a distance. It was also convenient for transporting my set-up.

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Assorted Pastels

There were many specific questions about materials and types of pastels and paper supports. I welcomed the discussion and enjoyed sharing my passion for pastel.

Technical notes: Assorted pastels – Terri Ludwig, Sennelier, Unison, Rembrandt, and Conte Pastel Pencils on Sennelier La Carte pastel card.

My ’53 Chevy

My recent painting commission was to paint the scene of an autumn wedding which took place in a barn in the hills of Northern California. I was given a few candid photos of the event, but decided to begin the pastel on location. The hills were still green from recent rains, despite my need to be accurate with the dry grass of October.

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Plein Air Start

My clients wished to have certain items included in the painting: the two barns, a red horse trailer, and a blue ’53 Chevy truck which was used by as the couple in place of a limousine.  Reference photos showed the truck on the right of the large barn at the event. I needed to consider the composition of these elements.  It seemed that the red horse trailer and the blue truck would appear as bookends to the two barns if placed this way.  Instead I changed the arrangement, so that the truck was placed on the left, and the driveway would act as a lead in to the barn which was the focal point.

This solution lead me to another issue which was how to accurately depict the Chevy truck without one for visual information.  Fortunately, I was able to purchase one on eBay that was 1/64 scale or the size of a Matchbox car. It was quite useful for drawing the

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truck as accurately as necessary given the changes made.

Here is the completed painting which I titled “Before the Wedding”.

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“Before the Wedding”, pastel, 12 x 18

Painting in pastels can bring back childhood memories of the sight of a new box of Crayolas or even playing in a pedal car or truck! Also, I hope that the newlyweds find that the painting brings back fond memories of their special day.

Technical Notes:  UArt #400 mounted board.  Pastels by Unison, Terry Ludwig, Sennelier, Rembrandt, and Girault. Conte and Stabilo pastel pencils. Some underpainting with alcohol wash. Color  in this image may differ from actual painting.

Japanese Iris Garden

Iris Garden Entry, pastel, 11 x 16

 

The Japanese Iris at the entryway of the Cape Cod Art Association caught my eye on a June afternoon for plein air painting. I loved the deep blues and purples against the many greens. The garden scene was fairly complex with bouganvillea, lilac, and azalea combined with the light and shadow patterns of the weathered shingled wall. There were areas of bright sunlight and deep shadow by the entrance. I am focusing on painting stronger light and shadow and this was a good opportunity for this. I omitted the sculptures on the right and cropped the trellis at the top for emphasis and composition.

Painting notes: Uart #400 Pastel Paper; Pastels – NuPastels, Rembrandt, Terry Ludwig, Unison, and Conte and Carbotello Pastel Pencils. Underpainting of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol.  (See underpainting below:)

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Photo of Iris Garden Entry

By the Sea

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Easel at Mayo Beach for After Hopper in Wellfleet, MA

The Paint Out for  Addison Art Gallery’s “After Hopper” in Wellfleet, MA was last Saturday. The event celebrates the artist Edward Hopper and continues the tradition of plein air painting iconic images of Cape Cod. I chose Mayo Beach and the oil house behind what was once the Mayo’s Beach Lighthouse on Kendrick Avenue. The pink and white beach roses which surround the simple painted brick outbuilding were in full bloom. Artists had the morning to paint and then deliver the finished work to the Wellfleet Public Library for an afternoon reception. This is often called a Quick Draw at other plein air paint outs.

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Thumbnail sketch for “By the Sea”

I planned my composition with a quick thumbnail sketch. With only a few hours to work from concept to completion, I thought the simple building that originally held the oil for the lighthouse would make for good painting that could feature the simple beauty of the Cape scene. The race against the clock is helpful to push me to capture the essence of the view and not get caught up in overworking a painting. I used the broken split rail fence that was surrounded by the roses as a directional element to draw the viewer into the focal point.

I finished the pastel, framed it, and delivered it to the Wellfleet library to be hung for the reception to be held from 4 to 6 pm.  Soon I was rewarded for my morning’s work, when a new collector chose “By the Sea” for a gift for his wife. I have memories of a beautiful day by the sea.

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“By the Sea”, pastel, 11×14, private collection

Raise The Roof

The roof line on the right of the house in my painting, “Yellow House in the Vineyard” got a repair. In my last post the house appeared to be falling into the ground. I raised the roof line on the sun porch and tweaked the area of the vineyard that overlapped that house. This is the beauty of working in pastel which is a very forgiving medium. It was a simple fix that involved removing the initial marks with a soft bristle brush before applying strokes of pastel. Here is the original that needed to be adjusted. I think the painting above is an improvement.

 

 

Yellow House in Vineyard

"Yellow House in Vineyard", pastel 11x14

“Yellow House in Vineyard”, pastel 11×14


The yellow house in the vineyard caught me eye one day when I was out on my usual walking route. I returned with my painting gear of pastels and set up my easel at the edge of the vineyard last week. Soon, the growth on the grapevines will be pruned to stimulate the growth for the next season. I wanted to catch the vines at their wilder state despite the challenge of depicting the tangled vines. Of course, there is always room for artistic license.
On location in the vineyard

On location in the vineyard


Painting Notes: Some of the background was simplified, so the focus was on the main elements of the scene, the barn, house, and rows of vines. To avoid a tangent of the barn roof and distant hills which, I added some height to the hills. Otherwise, the plein air painting is an accurate interpretation of the scene.
Technical Notes: Pastels by Terry Ludwig, Rembrandt, Sennelier, Nu Pastel, and Conte Pastel Pencils on La Carte Sanded Paper.

Corn Hill Beach

“Corn Hill Beach”,11×14, plein air pastel


The days of summer on the Cape are just memories now, but I finally have a moment to post some of my paintings done on locations where artist, Edward Hopper painted in the 1930’s. He spent half of his summers in a home studio in Truro, MA on the outer Cape. He painted Corn Hill which is a long, narrow sand beach which borders grass covered sand dunes that is north of Pamet Harbor. Corn Hill is named for the location where the Pilgrims found a cache of Indian corn which sustained them through the first winter.
On location at Corn Hill Beach

On location at Corn Hill Beach


Often the experience of plein air painting is more than the created image. When I look at this piece it brings back the warmth of the summer day at the beach, the sounds of music from the group of beachgoers, and the scent of sunscreen covered bodies. These are sweet memories to sustain me until the next summer season.
Painting notes: Ampersand pastel board (11×14) with a variety of pastels from NuPastels, Conte Pastel pencils, Rembrandt, Unison, and Terri Ludwig brand pastels.

Wellfleet Plein Air

“Capturing Wellfleet” is a plein air painting event that is sponsored by the Addison Art Gallery and showcased at the Wellfleet Public Library. I was one of 24 artists who painted on locations around Wellfleet which is a town on the Outer Cape of Cape Cod. For an artist, Wellfleet combines beautiful landscapes of its protected harbor and quality art galleries.
On Friday I set up my French easel near the pier and painted the scene before me as interested passers-by stopped by to watch the progress.

"Capturing Wellfleet",  See top Right

“Capturing Wellfleet”,
See top Right


It was a beautiful day for painting outdoors. The changing tide exposed more sandbars in addition to boats that continued to move provided more than enough challenges to the ever progressing light of day.
"Wellfleet Morning", pastel 11x14

“Wellfleet Morning”, pastel 11×14


Plein air painters need to work quickly to photograph, frame, and ready the work for a show. When the public arrived at the Wellfleet Library for the Saturday night reception the room was filled with art supporters, refreshments, and the music of a jazz piano. The show and plein air demonstrations continues through Aug.1st.
"At the Pier", pastel, 11x14

“At the Pier”, pastel,
11×14


Top right, "At the Pier"

Top right,
“At the Pier”

Both Sides Now

My pastels are collected on both East and West Coasts now. My goal of showing my work on Cape Cod where I now have a summer studio is now a reality. The Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA hosted a Painting Orleans Plein Air event during the week of July 14. Artists painted on location from Main Street down to Nauset Beach. I spotted a beautiful garden at 26 Beach Road and Leila graciously welcomed me to paint it.

Leila's Garden and Easel

Leila’s Garden and Easel


It is always a challenge to capture moments in a painting. Plein air painting can be a quiet respite from our busy world, but even the flowers were changing before me. What a privilege to watch the unfurling of the bud of a red poppy during the time I painted. A close up view of nature doing it’s magic before my eyes. But this quiet reflection was soon interrupted by a rain shower. I am glad I brought my umbrella to cover the pastel. The paintings were to be delivered to the gallery by 2 pm, so it was time to put the pastel under glass and framed in the back of my car.
Framed Painting "Leila's Garden"

Framed Painting
“Leila’s Garden”


The Addison Art Gallery hosted a great reception and sale on June 14th where artists and art collectors admired the work painted for the event.
Addison Art Gallery, Orleans, MA

Addison Art Gallery,
Orleans, MA


My painting was also included in the next show on June 21st which featured paintings done during the Orleans Garden Tour. When I arrived at the reception to show the painting to my daughter who was visitning, I found that it had been SOLD. So, I am collected on both coasts or “Both Sides Now”. And the temporary moments in Leila’s garden are captured in time and enjoyed by an art collector.
"Leila's Garden", pastel, 11x4 “Leila’s Garden”, pastel, 11×14[/captain]

Plein Air Week

It was quite a week painting in the Frank Bette Arts Center Plein Air Paint Out from July 29 – August 3, 2013. Forty artists were invited to paint on location in Alameda, CA and show their art work at the show and sale on Saturday at the South Shore Shopping Center.
Monday: I arrived at the Arts Center to have my blank pastel boards to be stamped to show that no work was started before the appointed time. After searching for parking, I set up my easel for painting Park St. Antiques in the commercial hub of Alameda.

On location - Park Street, Alameda

On location – Park Street, Alameda


Here is the completed painting of the Park St. Antique store which sponsored a page in next year’s calendar.
Park Street Antiques

Park Street Antiques


Tuesday: A windy and cool day to paint a sailboat by the Encinal Yacht Club. I was happy with my color and soft focus of the distant hills and fog. The challenge was to simplify the busy scene and to model the hull of the white sailboat. In the end, I think I need to show more contrast in the shadow to have this read correctly. I got lost in time and enjoyed the scene, but need to work on SPEED PAINTING! Each night there were social events planned which is great for exchanging ideas with like minded plein air painters. It was great fun and hors d’oeuvres at Dragon Rouge Thai on deck beside the estuary one night and a member’s backyard another evening. The forty artists came from CO, NC, Northern and Southern CA.
Wednesday: Quick Draw check in required an additional stamp before heading out to paint the Victorians around Grand St. I painted an Eastlake cottage on Paru Street. The contrast of the soft landscaping against the moss green clapboards caught my attention. But, what a challenge to paint the off white gingerbread trim by 1 pm! It was a mad dash to frame the piece in the back of my car and return for the hanging and show by 2pm. Note to self: Smaller size paintings next time – 9×12 or so.
Quick Draw - Schwalm Home

Quick Draw – Schwalm Home


Thursday: Enough working on fussy architecture! It was time to savor the landscape by the San Francisco Bay. So, I set up the easel in the sand dunes along Alameda Beach with the beautiful softness of wildflowers called “Sea Rocket” and “Coastal Buckwheat”.
Easel set up at Alameda Beach

Easel set up at Alameda Beach


Alameda Beach

Alameda Beach


Friday: The day was dedicated to tweaking the three paintings this week, photographing, and framing them for the show and sale.
Saturday: The big reveal! Check-in and hang paintings on panels with fishing line attached by nails in the top edge. The South Shore Shopping Center in Alameda hosted the Show from 10 to 5. I was competing and exhibitng with many talented artists. The juror was Kay Carlson. Although I did not earn a top prize, I did win the Calendar Award and $100 prize for my painting “Park Street Antiques”. The Frank Bette Calendar for 2014 will have a month with my painting featured. Then I checked in the Beach and Antique Store paintings to be exhibited at the Art Center from August 9th through September 28th. What a week. It is getting time for a vacation!img_1638