Summer Approaches

Plein air season is here, and as I head into this year’s events I’m thrilled to be getting out of the studio and into the wild. I never know who I’ll meet—animal or human—or what I’ll be painting, and that process of discovery is almost like being a child again, with the world open to possibility. Each day is exhilarating and exhausting. What could be better?

As the season swings into gear....

It’s a good thing spring takes a while to get revved up here in the Adirondacks, as I don’t feel guilty for spending time painting in the studio, rather than painting outside.

You might wonder what the life of an artist is like—how do you get known, how is your work recognized or how does it gain merit? There are a number of paths to this, and like the old Q & A about getting to Carnegie Hall, all of it requires practice and work. Social media and the internet has allowed artists to have more of a following, but we are always working to get our paintings into galleries, into regional shows, and to earn awards or professional recognition from arts organizations or societies. In addition, some of us are active in our communities to further the arts, which brings visitors and tourist dollars, and can go a long way into revitalizing towns.

For most of this year I ‘ve been working on my July show for NorthWind Fine Arts Gallery, titled “Farm to Table.” It’s been a wonderful exploratory process, bringing me back to doing still life paintings as well as some landscapes (please see my events page). There will be approximately a dozen new pastel pieces on exhibit for that show, and a couple of oil paintings for good measure.

In juried show news, I was very honored to have my pastel painting “Our Little Town” take 1st place at the Adirondack Artists Guild Annual Juried Show among a large field of mixed media pieces. My piece, “Sunset on Heron Marsh Pond” has been accepted into View Arts Center’s Northeast National Pastel Exhibition as well, and I’m waiting on news of other juried shows.

The summer and fall will have me at four different plein air events, and bringing my work for numerous exhibits. By November I’m going to be ready for a bit of a vacation!

Reflections...

Two more seasons have flown by, and moving house, building an addition (still), taking some writing classes, and ordering frames and art supplies have been bookended by painting.  The 9th annual Adirondack Plein Air Festival was this past August.  The nearly week-long event was spectacular again this year.  The photos below, are from a couple of days of painting at the event.  Now that I live in the Adirondacks year-round, painting here is even more wonderful than it was before.  It would be easy to think I'd take it for granted, but seeing the daily changes without the effort of traveling back and forth to another home as made it so much more accessible and enjoyable.  

The Adirondack Pastel Society has had a number of workshops and events this summer as well.  I was honored to be given an award at their 3rd Annual National Pastel Exhibition for my painting "Milkweed," and I was thrilled to take a portrait workshop with Corey Pitkin.  I'm hoping to do more portraits, I find them challenging and intriguing.

My new studio will soon be open--and I need to get to work in it!  Picture of the finished studio to follow (when it's done!), but here's a "getting there" photo.  The plastic "curtains" on the window--I'm not sure I'll be able to live w/o them once the insulators take them down!  Ha.    I'm looking forward to enjoying the natural light in there this winter.  

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Spring, Finally!

Spring comes slowly to the Adirondacks.  Mid-way through the second week of May we watched the snow fall on the trees whose leaves were still (wisely) too timid to come out.   Now we have a riot of greenery, and lilacs, while just a few hours south in the Northeastern Corridor, the lilacs have had their day, and the lilies are going to be in their glory.

While all this is going on, I'm planning a farmhouse/apple blossom painting, and working on a blown milkweed painting--out of season, yes, but I don't question my muse.  It's about color, form, and value.  Somehow I've been drawn to subjects with a wealth of chaotic grasses behind them.  They are challenging.  You don't want to tell too much, yet be authentic.  It would be easy to be messily impressionistic, but the textures, and the direction of the background grass tells part of the story.  In addition, it is in such contrast to the frothy, showoff-milkweed that more detail is warranted--at least to my eye.   

This is being worked on a charcoal-colored sheet of Pastel Premiere, one of my favorite surfaces to work on, and I'm using Terry Ludwig soft pastels, with (in the early stages), some fixative, a few paint brushes, and a hairdryer.

Finished.  "Milkweed"  Pastel on Pastel Premiere.  16 x 13   

Finished.  "Milkweed"  Pastel on Pastel Premiere.  16 x 13

 

MIddle stages.  Maybe one more day on the easel.  Pastel on Pastel Premier.  Terry Ludwig pastels.

MIddle stages.  Maybe one more day on the easel.  Pastel on Pastel Premier.  Terry Ludwig pastels.

Blown Milkweed, just on the easel.   Pastel