Sunday, August 23, 2009

Rush hour demo.jpg

I posted this photo of Edie Dean from my Blackberry phone. On our way to Brewster, New York, suddenly we were caught in accident traffic which stalled our progress for over an hour. "We should get out our easels and paint," I said. No sooner said, the traffic started to move. But only a little. A a dead standstill, I asked Edie to get out of the car and do "a demo" for the pleasure of all the folks who were stuck with us.

The things we do to entertain ourselves!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My painting: "Lazy Grazing"

Not just any cows, these are Jorn's "stupidest bunch of cows ever."
Mr. Roland Jorn is the maple syrup king of Door County.

10" x 12" Oil on RayMar Panel.
Copyright 2009.
This painting was sold Sunday afternoon at the gallery.

Started this painting on Thursday morning at 8:00 AM. Next day at noon we had to turn in all of our work for the Gala Preview. Three to four paintings would hang on the wall, and at least two in reserve in the back room to hang when paintings sold.

Well . . . the cows hadn't cooperated earlier in the week, so this was one last chance to look for them. I only had an hour to paint this morning since I was required to paint from 10:00AM - 3:00 PM at a designated location. These weren't the cows that I went looking for, but they were cooperative cows just by being there. Mr. Jorn said, "These are the stupidest bunch of cows ever." My friend, Jon Browning, also says that cows are stupid. Who knows. I just know that they are curious, and the moment that you find a bunch you want to paint, you stop, and get out of your vehicle, and they all get up out of their reclining positions and come forward and block the view of them that you wanted to paint. (Kind of like painting in China, or India.) Now you have to wait for them to realize that you are going to paint, get bored and go away and be the cows that you wanted to paint in the beginning.

Jeez, they are stupid. They could have just stayed lying down and looking good, and that would have made it easier on all of us. But no, once they are up and wandering off, they just keep moving. So . . . I feel fortunate that I could get a painting of them at all before they walked over the hill at the back of the painting.

I took a workshop with Ken Auster who said that if you paint a group of anything, you only had to make one of the things look like it was, whether it be a person or cows, or whatever, and the viewers mind would fill in the rest. It's a good thing to remember. What I hate about this photo image of my painting is that you really can't see the true colors in this painting. The cow colors look pretty good, but the rest of the field and trees just don't represent the colors of this painting. So take it for what it is and know that it had more greens and violets, pale oranges, even if it was a misty kind of morning after a night of rain.

Monday, August 17, 2009

My Painting: "Eagle Harbor, Ephraim"

I had intended to paint cows the morning I painted this.
But, you can't trust a cow. They didn't show.

11" x 14" Oil on RayMar Panel
Copyright 2009

Since the cows failed me, Plan B was to head to Gill's Rock, a working fishing village at the very north end of the peninsula that is Door County. To get there I passed through Egg Harbor, Fish Creek, and on the downhill approach into Ephraim, Eagle Harbor looked pretty good. As I drove past the parking lot for Ephraim's beach, I saw open parking spots. I pulled in. Other artists had the same idea. Mary Ann was painting on the side of the road as I came down the hill, and on the beach were Debra Groesser and John Stewart Pryce. I got out, made the commitment to paint, and from where I was, there was also shade.
Standing where the parking lot and the beach come together, next to the opening in the hedge where folks come and go - and steps from my SUV - I had a wonderful view of the beach, the wetlands, and the harbor in the distance. Not many folks were on the beach yet, and it was fairly quiet.

Here's the photo of my painting on the easel once I decided I had nothing left to say with my brush. I'm glad I thought to take the photo since I didn't take photos of my work later.

Talking about what I had to say, it is the most important thing that an artist can ask themselves before they paint. What I wanted to talk about in my painting was the most distinctive feature of the harbor view, the church steeples nestled into the hillside in back of the marina. Just knowing that helped me figured out the composition and also to simplify all of the stuff one sees out there.

A grandafther who passed me painting as he entered the beach with his family kept coming back to check on my painting. Among other comments he would say, "You're doing great!" or "Wow, the painting has really progressed." Of course I was painting in a competition and sale. I wanted him to be aware of that and tried to give him the booklet about the festival that the organizers gave us to pass out to people we met. His wife said she knew all about the Plein Air Festival and stopped him from taking it. Bummer. I had hoped he might come and purchase this painting that he loved so much.
We needed two paintings on the wall by 5:00 PM on Tuesday, and I was excited about this painting. So I framed it and took it back to Fish Creek and The Peninsula School of Art to hang on my spot on the gallery wall. Talk about hot off the brush!!! I didn't see it again for a couple of days. But it was a good advertisement for me, and it turned out to be one of my most popular paintings. It sold in minutes, and I could have sold it many times.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My Painting: "Tomorrow's Promise"

All the Door County Festival artists were required to paint
sunset on Wednesday night at Anderson Dock in Ephraim.

8" x 10" Oil on RayMar Panel
Copyright 2009
Here is the painting I did from the very end of the dock. On my walk to the end of the pier, I passed many artists, already working away. I felt I was late getting there, but it was only 6:00 PM. Sun wouldn't set for another two and a half hours!

For my painting, I decided to focus on the sky, not the marina or boats. It had been quite some time since I'd painted sunset. The evening breeze was exhilerating; the smell of the water said I was home; as did the sounds of the water lapping against the pier, and the gulls crying out. I enjoyed painting that evening and felt alone in a crowd, but not lonely.
Many, many people stopped to talk and ask me about the reddish underpainting I often use. I had some great conversations that evening. My favorite was with a man from Australia who was retired and had all the time in the world to paint, but something was stopping him. I finally said that it was most likely fear. I handed him a linen panel and my card and told him to email me when he'd finished this painting. He lives in St. Louis, and most likely will be out there painting with Shawn Cornell. He was fun to talk with and said he'd watched me painting for about an hour.
My entertainment, other than the sky, was listening and talking with a man and his two boys, ages 5 and 6. He was teaching them to bait hooks and cast their lines into the waters just beside where I was painting. He was patient with them, and praised them when they did a good cast. We got to talking and he and his boys were going out the next day on a friends sailboat, a boat just like the one "he'd traded in for his two boys.
In prepartion for a good time, they'd bought a Jolly Roger flag and he got them hats and eye patches. Kooooool!
What I didn't know was that I had taken a photo of that ship the day before the competition started. It was moored in the Fish Creek Harbor. You can see the flag and red furled sails in my photo even though I never noticed it until I downloaded my photos a week later. I'd like to have had a ride on that. I used to play pirate.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Prepping for India

I am not a fast or accurate texter, but in preparation for my upcoming 7 weeks of painting through India, I have set up my Blackberry so I can post directly to my blog. It will mostly be a photo and a little text.

But, longer emails will be sent to those who wish to receive them, but most likely without photos. If you would like to receive those emails from India, usually one a week, please send me your email address and I will add you to that contact list.

I am also investigating other ways of posting to my blog and it goes to all who receive my email newletter.

Friday, August 14, 2009

My painting: "Summer Dazzle"

One of my two most popular paintings at the Festival.

12" x 9" Oil on RayMar Panel, wearing Black Hackman Frame

This is one of those paintings that people just loved.
The drama of the light, enhanced by a fine black Hackman Frame.
I could have sold it at least 10 times.

On the hunt for subject matter that was talking to me, I happened upon this marshy area shortly after sunrise. For me, this was a slice of heaven. The site was a kick back to my childhood, growing up on the water in Maryland, playing, crabbing and fishing from the row boat built by my grandfather, Edward Ittner.
The boat tucked into the reeds, and the blazing light on the water, quietly screamed, "Paint me!" There was a stillness along this ruelle with water on one side and summer cabins "with a view" on the other. Folks were sitting outside chatting, easing their way into the day and gazing at the scene after watching the sunrise. I asked if I could park and paint their view. I was set up and painting by 8:00 AM.
Mary Ann said she was going to paint at another spot up the road. In that time, Dennis the photographer came by and took some shots of me painting. We remembered each other from my first year at Door County. The folks from the house came out to watch and talk. The lady of the house wanted to buy the painting of her husband's boat as a surprise for him for Christmas. I could only sell these paintings through the school, and explained that this painting, which was going well, would most likely go into the sale on opening night. We discussed my coming back later to paint another, and exchanged contact info. This led to a commission and another sale.
The woman in the cottage next door brought me coffee and chatted about the festival. It was a great morning. I felt totally relaxed, and enjoyed the journey.

My Painting: "Hay Bales, Egg Harbor"

Here is the first painting I did after we got our panels stamped.

10" x 12" Oil on RayMar Panel. Copyright 2009

For some reason, they don't stamp the panels for the competition until Noon on Sunday. First thing you do is get stamped and what else? Go paint, of course! Mary Ann and I had discovered this spot either Sunday morning, or the day before. In addition to hay bales, this property had an extensive garden filled with glorious delphinium in many shades of blue, bird houses, statues, and a bunch of colorful stuff for painting! Inside the 100 year old barn - which a few years back had taken a direct hit from a tornado but has now been rebuilt - is an antique shop. We stopped for the hay bales (and a bathroom), and also to ask if we could paint at this site. While the antique shop sits on the original barn floor, the rest of this complex structure consists of rooms to rent!

I took this shot of my painting while it was still on my easel just after completing the painting. There is a lot of glare in the sky area especially, and it's a bit washed out, but it's the only shot of this painting that I got outside the frame.
I painted with Mary Ann Davis and Tom Nachreiner. Tom said he had a spot. We followed him and low and behold, his spot was also ours. Mary Ann and I had discussed painting from the parking lot/garden area, but Tom had noticed this side of it. We trudged our stuff up a small but steep incline at the side of the road and stood in an open field to paint. They stayed side-by-side, catching up; I walked around and decided on this view. So at the end of a couple of hours, this was my first painting completed during the competition. I felt good about it, especially since we needed to have two paintings on the gallery wall by Tuesday evening. My view of this site was totally different from Mary Ann's and Tom's who focused more on the bales themselves. I had a great time painting, and I liked the sense of place and light that I felt I'd captured. I rarely paint clouds, so when it came time to title this work, all I could think of was "I never paint clouds." I left it at the gallery on Monday without a title, and in the end it received the mundane title I'd hoped to avoid.
Here's another photo of my paintings for sale at the silent auction on the night of the Gala Evening. Here's how the sale works. Palette Sponsors buy a ticket to attend pre-planned events involving meeting the artists, watching the artists paint, trolley tours to painting artists, and sometimes accompanied by sumptuous buffets with drinks.

On the opening night, artists have their best three or four paintings on the wall for sale. The gallery is all ablaze with flowers and a wonderful buffet of food, with outdoor and indoor bars, and music. The Palette Sponsors have first chance to buy the paintings in one of two ways. The artists price is displayed on the tags on the wall. During the first hour of the Gala, a buyer can purchase a painting directly for an additional 15% over the listed price simply by writing their name on the sheet. If a buyer really wants a certain painting, that is the time to buy it. After that first hour, a silent auction begins, and continues for two hours, with each of four sections of the paintings closing in 15 minute increments during the last hour.

I sold the two paintings at the bottom during the opening minutes of the Gala Preview and was fortunate to meet the folks that bought them.

Fish Boil YouTube Link

Blue Chairs and Three Inukshuks

I took this photo of something I tried to paint but failed at, or should say, didn't have the energy to keep going. It was a really hot afternoon, and standing on that grey stone beach with the light reflected all around me, under a white umbrella, and after having painted all day, I just gave in. It was the first day of the competition and our time to meet with the Palette Sponsors of the Festival. The color of the chairs grabbed my imagination. Once I started this painting, all kinds of subtle colors just popped in front of my eyes in the shadows of the piled up stones.

As I mentioned, I've just come back from Ontario, Canada. When we are there, we always visit the Gallery Indigena which features mostly sculpture by Inuit Artists, but also paintings, prints, and carved masks - in addition to cards, jewelry, moccasins, etc. This year there were many carvings of these stone piles, and I found a small card talking about the meaning. Evidently they represent "man". In the long lonely distances one must travel in the north, to place one of these tells someone that you are on the right path, that someone has been here before you. I small pocket token of this symbol could be carried for healing properties. I find them charming, and a bit mysterious. It was nice to see a few of these stone structures in gardens as we walked around in Stratford. Here is the gallery website address: - I haven't even visited it yet. I usually come home with a small carving that was talking to me. This year there were three asking to come and enrich my life. I couldn't decide, and so saved the money for India.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Group shots

Left to Right:
Artists Shelby Keefe, Jack Wahl, myself, Frankie Johnson.Below is another of my favorite paintings,
this one by Frankie Johnson.
I spent many a childhood hour in our Montmorency cherry tree with my sister Rhonda. We picked cherries for our grandmother, who would later turn these into pies. This painting held a lot of memories for me. I should have bought it.
Frankie also had a great Quick Paint painting which I'll post later.

Just another wacky group photo. We were all ready to let our hair down a little. The awards had been announced, paintings were selling, and we were ready to spend some time together before the next mornings quick paint and live auction.
Back row left to right: James Richards, myself, Tom Nachreiner.
Front row: Shawn Cornell, Mary Ann Davis, Sterling Hoffmann.

A painting left undone.

I wanted to paint this lady working the plein air booth at one of our required locations. I asked if she minded if I paint her. She said yes, I could do it. But before I got my easel set up, she and another worker were moving the entire set up. I thought that this would have made a great little painting, but it wasn't meant to be.

Me and My Paintings

Here's a photo of me with the work I displayed at the Gala Opening on Friday night. We had the choice of displaying three or four works. Mine weren't too large so I decided to hang four. Most folks did.

I can't say how good it felt to deliver it, get all of the paper work done, and get it on the wall. Whew! It was a long week, grueling at times, but I was pleased with the work I had done.

Now, if only I'd gotten decent photos of it.

The Canadians

At left is Doug Swinton, from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and on the right is John Stewart Price, from Ontario. I think it is safe to say that Doug was a real treat for anyone that met him. He was always quick with a joke told with a great Calgary accent, eh?

John Pryce was just a really nice guy who sold a ton of paintings! He painted mostly 16 x 20's. At the end of the opening for the public, John brought out another painting - with cherry trees. We were standing across the room when he told me about this painting and I said, "Let's go see it." I liked this painting, and asked if I could get a photo of it. No sooner had I taken the photo, I said to John that this painting would sell. We turned away for a moment and when we turned back, it had sold! At that point, John had sold five 16 x 20's.
Here is the photo of the cherry tree painting.

Door County Winners

First Place: Colin Page
He's is a delightful young man, and a heck of an artist. That car painting at the bottom was one of my favorites - and sold immediately. One of his favorites was the painting that hangs above it of chiars at waters edge. I lightened this photo a little so you could actually see his face, but in doing that I had to sacrifice some of the impact of the paintings.
Congrats Colin on you're well-deserved win.

Second Place: Tom Nachreiner

Tom was last year's first place winner, and was certainly a favorite with the locals. His painting of the blue truck was my favorite by him. Gosh one would think I was in love with car paintings, but when they are painted as well as these two artists did them, who could resist. Below the truck is the painting that Tom did when we all got together to paint sunset.

Third Place: Shawn Cornell.

From St. Louis, Shawn is pictured here with his wife, Elizabeth (r) and (l) is Diane Miller.

Diane and her husband, Bill, were the host family for the Cornell's, and were also my host family two years ago.

Unfortunately, somehow, I missed getting Shawn's work at the Gala in any of my photos. He had a wonderful large painting of a cherry tree. The cherries were late this year and on the trees during the competition. I do have some nice photos of Shawn and his quick paint that I will post later.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Canada and Back

Been at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. WOW. Awesome stuff. Thought I could blog about it but there is a tedious learning curve for me concerning Blackberry. Thought I could post photos from the BB but it was more complex than I wanted on a vacation. Just typing this from the back seat of a van is a pain. But hope to work it our from home so maybe I can post from India.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Why Go to Wilson's?

Sterling, Mary Ann, Jennifer and myself went to Wilson's for lunch, and to relax from a week of intense painting. We ordered burgers which were very good.

While we waited for our lunch, we entertained ourselves with the table-side jukeboxes filled with songs from the 50's - 80's. Songs like Respect and Hot Rod Lincoln took us back and had us dancing in our seats.

Now here's a reason to go to Wilson's. Look at the size of the sundae in this boy's hand. He seemed to be in shock, and I couldn't resist taking this photo of him with this concoction.
And of course, when you've had your fill of food, treats and music, you have to pay your bill and customary to leave a tip. Here's what Sterling did to the dollars that we were leaving for the tip. Would love to have seen the expression on the face of our waitress when she came to clean the table.