Monday, September 29, 2014

Random thoughts on contests.

Tired, cloudy.
    I got home at 12:30 this morning, no wrong turns, no traffic, no car problems (engine light on!), exhausted, but home. Too tired to ask myself why I do these, presumably I would say the prize money, and/or the opportunity to exhibit and sell a painting, meeting other painters and "networking".  All good reasons.
    The concept of a "competition" when engaged it the arts is a bit absurd. In my years of formal education  anything that settled on an absolute simply didn't exist. Of course  there's the idea of competitions is anti-modern, but that's not necessarily bad is it?
     Painting is not a group activity, I go to great lengths to find remote locations, not because they're more prosaic than the I.G.A. parking lot, (well maybe a little), but because for me painting is a meditative process, I'm focused on looking and totally forget about everything else, I don't want to be watched, or to have conversations with anyone. So a painting contest is out of my comfort zone on a number of levels.

     Now I'm in this tidal zone, in between tides, and I've got the paint flowing, and one after another, cranking out paintings in the same location, this is what pushes me in the direction I want to go. Being away from home and my day to day routine is the best way to work this intensely. This is why I do this.
    In this particular group of painters I felt a bit different, maybe it's just my view of it, but ultimately I could see how the focus of my work differed from my comrades, and it clarified for me what that focus was. I'm going to keep the paint loose, and the brushstrokes visible. I'm going to find compositions in nature and let nature reveal it's symmetry to me. I'm going to focus on getting the light with color that I see. I have to work fast, the light is fleeting, and I must see it and it must be in front of me, because if I can't remember what I went into a room to get, how will I remember the subtle changes in tone between the rock and the water?  These convictions are for me, for now, and I can change them at will anytime for any reason. Each and every artist needs to decide what they do for themselves, what works or doesn't, and I feel that this competition helped me clarify this.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Oyster Bay day 2 (x2)

82  F   Sunny!
I went back to the same spot as yesterday, I wanted to start just before low tide,(8:20 A.M.) and I did, starting at 8:00. which was pushing it for me, but the effort was worth it.(I think)

What's not love about this scene.

The nature of the animal was to start with the lights, and that strategy worked well.

I'm still feeling a bit clunky with my sand colors, the way the light bounces off it.....

There were some nice contrasts and they stayed constant during my session, although the tide reached bottom and was starting to come back up.

#411 Cold Spring Harbor. Oyster Bay, NY.

14 x 16

My scene.

In a few hours this spot will be underwater, and that's cool.

Sight-size shot.

Teddy Roosevelt on a horse. I broke for a fish fry lunch and it was good!

Same spot again, only nearing high tide.

Worked out better than the 9 x 12 I did yesterday from the same spot (low tide). When the paints flowing and I'm on that edge, it's like that sweet spot,  it always seems to take a few paintings before I get there.

 Sand is getting better.

Close, the tide was rising, so my grass was diminishing.

This is where I ended up. I was pretty tired at this point, especially from being in the sun.

#412 Cold Spring Harbor

9 x 12


Money shot.

Tonight is the opening and the announcement of prizes, I'm not expecting one, for a number of reasons, but it's been fun. I'll re group and try and rest, I'll drive upstate after the opening and it will be a challenge to stay awake for the drive home.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oyster Bay day 1(x4)

78  F  Sunny!
This is the beach at Sagamore Hill, where the teaching studios plein air painting contest is taking place, it's the National historic park of Teddy Roosevelt,

I got a reasonably early start, for me, and headed strait for the water. I don't get many chances to paint on the Ocean, so I couldn't pass up this opportunity.

Sorry these are not in focus. I liked the format, of a close up of the stream in low tide and what the light did off of it, but I had difficulty getting the colors right.

The blue against the tan of the sand was working, but probably the only thing working, this was what I was after but the rest didn't follow along.

See what I mean.

Here is where it ended up. I still haven't passed judgement, but I do want to re-visit the spot tomorrow, we'll see.

#407 Cold Spring Beach, Oyster Bay, NY.

9 x 12

The tide was coming in quickly, while it didn't effect my stream in the foreground it did the background, which was the problem anyway.

After I had finished the first painting of the day, I walked around the grounds to scope out more sites, which I should have done first, I went for lunch, returned and found myself in the same spot, only it was high tide.


I wasn't sure how it'd be working on the shore, I figured the colors would throw me a bit, but when at the shore, paint it.

The far hills acted like my comfort zone, with the foreground, not.

The light and darks of the foreground water were troublesome, and I'm not sure how I came up with the result.

That big chunk of darkness is weird in the foreground.....

#408  Cold Spring Beach, Oyster Bay, NY.

12 x 16

Money Shot.

High tide.

This is the old orchard, and I love the old trees.

There were a lot of good scenes that were not the shore, but these are similar to my own back yard.....

I liked the back-lit quality of this scene.

#409 Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, NY.

Money shot.

I had scouted this clump of grass earlier, but it was way under water when I had come back (and did the second painting of the day)  Now it was perfect and I had drama in the lighting!

With a lot of contrast it's easy to dive right in to it.

My light was changing, with the light on my subject grass, and the shadow overtaking the beach.

Here it is, and it was quick.

#410 Cold Spring Beach, Oyster Bay, NY.

8 x 10

Money Shot.

Sight-size shot.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

County rt 60, Cambridge, NY. 1st u-tube video!

The above is a link to my new "channel" there are the three segments of video I made today, I didn't edit although I should have,  I'll blog as usual anyway, here goes...

64  F  Mostly sunny with a few clouds.
# 406 County rt. 60 @ Cobble Hill rd.

14 x 16

Money shot

I drove around a while before I settled on this spot, as you can see it's a sun-drenched side of a light yellow barn, and the sun is coming from behind..

I had the camera set up in the van to do the video, so I took fewer stills.

I didn't want the video to take over, and I don't think it did, the painting progressed with the panel at an odd angle so the glare wasn't in my eyes and this seemed to work.

This is where I ended up, the brightness of the barn gives it a bit of a ghostly quality, appropriate for this, the first day of autumn.

My scene.

I also don't usually like county hi ways, but this one doesn't have that much traffic. and there was room to pull off.