Friday, December 9, 2011

Link to ordering calendars

This Paypal button will work for ordering calendars by mail. It is the same as on my website,

Go right ahead and forward this to your friends with lots more shopping!

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Buffalo's Wheeler Grain Elevator Requiem

RIP Wheeler Grain Elevator 
The photo of this pastel painting was taken today. I don't shoot every painting but this one became 'famous' this week, after it was framed. In August the plein air 'Fairweather Paletteers' painted in the new downtown Buffalo area called Festival Park. It is a reclaimed area that has been landscaped with paths, benches and trellis enclosures right on the river.

From a comfy new bench in Festival Park I painted the GLF grain elevators and buildings across the river. The center forner Wheeler grain building was undergoing demolition inside while we painted, with lots of racket and activity indoors. This weekend it came down, with a crash, some of it falling into the water.

Now that this painting is posted we have one more structure that exists only on paper and in our memories. It's significance lies in the fact that it may have been the last elevator of its kind, a transitionary style between frame and concrete towers. Only one. In the world.

Our overworked preservationists are not fooling. The historical remnants of Buffalo's glory days will bring glory back. I have studied and taught enough architecture to truly appreciate the breadth of history here as the former gateway to the west and the thriving metropolis Buffalo was. Yup, they are old rusty buildings, but they have the historic beauty and value to bring tourism. Shame on us for losing so many significant buildings to strip malls and flimsy warehouses.

Festival Park's Elevators, pastel 12.5x9.5. August 4, 2011

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Niagara Holiday Market

Downtown Niagara Falls has a new look, the Holiday Market is blooming, the ice is ready for your skating and there is a tree lighting every night. On black Friday Carl & I went to the market, I had delivered some art there on Wednesday and the carpenters were still assembling walls and installing windows and doors. On Friday it was still in progress, but many of the shops were open and doing a lot of business, the crowds were amazing.

464 Gallery has a double sized white tent-with heat-and they are carrying a number of my printed works, framed and in mats, calendars and cards. I plan to restock some things this week and expand the number of framed prints on the wall. The original Gallery is located at 464 Amherst Street in Buffalo, so this annex will be a whole new adventure for my Niagara Falls friends. Don't forget to stop in, come back to the market several times and shop these small businesses!

Fall Painting

Lower Mountain Road Fields
A recent NFPAP paint out was on a lovely and mild Fall day with our organizer and chief, Joan Shaw, at her home.  If I lived there with her flower and vegetable gardens, neighboring barns and vineyards, out buildings and fields then I wouldn't ever run out of subjects to paint. In previous years I had tackled the crooked old tree, some barns and her studio which was formerly a barn. A group of us gathered underneath her comfy cowshed to paint. It kept the bright light off our work, but also we were out of the breeze and possible rain, yet close enough to keep up the artist chatter..'did you see that rabbit, look at the color of that shadow, there aren't many birds today, this yellow just isn't working for me.'

I sketch before painting and chose to make a small painted sketch before I used large canvas. My first little picture was horizontal and it was a bit overcast. I became interested in the distance, where a field appeared to continue between some clumps of trees. By the time I started the taller painting, the light had brightened, there was more light on the fall trees and I was in painter heaven.

Halfway Down The Ridge
If you usually read my posts on your phone, please take an opportunity to look on a standard computer and see all my posts at once, with enlarged images. You can easily post comments, and you do not need an account.

Lower Mountain Road Fields 7x5 oil 2011
Halfway Down the Ridge 5x7 oil 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Open Art Studio 2011

My 4th open studio is coming up next weekend, the busiest art weekend of the year in WNY, lots of shows and gallery walks, big shopping opportunities all over. I have prepared my studio with new shelves, they are just 4" deep so I can stand paintings and easily move them around, artwork has been up and perfect for a few days and I am ready to start moving them already.

I am planning on showing the Adirondack series all together downstairs, they are framed and waiting for set-up on Thursday, my big gallery wall is now full of Niagara scenes and I love seeing them all together. This photo is from 2010 Open Art Studio, everything is different this time!

2010 Open Art Studio View
Find an hour next Friday or Saturday and join me, there will be cookies and my special fudge.
1575 Huth Road
Grand Island, NY

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Letchworth State Park Plein AIr

Kath Schifano
When I am asked how I am, my answer has been 'wonderful'. Sincerely wonderful.

There have been many opportunities to paint this Fall in a variety of locations and I have not wasted a moment. These three were painted at Letchworth State Park at our annual overnight paint marathon. I missed the first day and night because I was in Houston, but drove down in the morning and painted two from Wolf Creek overlook. This was a new location for me, previous trips had brought us to many overlooks and 'Kodak spots'; this is a tributary to the Genesee River. The water passes under the road in a wide stream (a lovely view that needs to be painted on my next visit) and then condenses to rush through rocks.

Later in the day I turned around to the east and captured afternoon mist and shadows in the gorge, trees leaning into the late afternoon light.

The third tall image shows everybody's favorite Letchworth falls from Inspiration point. This is a tiny painting, on stretched canvas, so I painted around all the edges to continue the picture, it will remain unframed. Now just imagine me standing in the parking lot, holding a wet oil painting -on 5 sides- and figure out how I got it home without ruining it! The famous railroad bridge that passes over the falls was omitted, imagine what western New York would have looked like before trains and towns cut into the landscape.
Kath Schifano

Kath Schifano

Wolf Creek Moment 16x20 oil, 2011
Wolf Creek Mist, 10x8 oil, 2011
Inspiration Point at Letchworth, 12x4,  2011

Houston Painting Op

Kath Schifano
A warm sunny Fall week in Houston, while it turns chilly and rains at home. Could I ask for more? The big-happy-knee-grabbing-hug I got from little Amelia made the hours flying in a metal tube across the country worth it, but meeting the Katie Prairie being restored in Northwest Houston was a close second.

Watching suburban sprawl gobble up farms and old buildings, traveling on 12 lane highways and seeing endless stores and malls jaded me about this area. There was little to paint that looked different from anywhere else, Target, Walmart and Appleby's all look the same everywhere.

At Lone Star College, the extensive landscaping is totally a prairie restoration in progress and I had a wonderful experience making my own paths as well as following the suggested walkways. Standing under a live oak for shade while I painted, the water here was slightly misty in the morning. It dried quickly as the sun rose and the colors brightened.

I plan to go back here in different seasons and time of day to continue to enjoy an oasis of nature and paint the prairie as it expands and grows, hopefully inspiring similar natural restorations.

Katie Prairie Mirror 14x11, oil 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

2012 calendars

2012 is printed, packed and ready! The new calendar returns to the original format of monthly images with dates below. The past two years we used some innovative layouts with several months having full page paintings with the dates on the picture. That was a designer's challenge unless there was a lot of white mist to print over.

Since I chose to include just plein air paintings, most of my work was horizontal which made the traditional format a natural choice. They fit into wallet size photo frames; many customers have told me of favorite pictures preserved this way. I have also heard of the pictures used as bookmarks, coasters or inserts in a friendly note. The most flattering use was explained by Frank DiGaudio in Long Island, he rebuilt his kitchen and put in a heavy glass counter top, then mounted a whole series of calendar pages under the glass. Fantastic!

Calendars are sold at 464 gallery and the Niagara Holiday Market as well as The Book Corner, Castellani Art Museum, and Studio One.

Mail orders, $15 for one, $28 for two, 5 for $65. $12 for refills without a case. Prices include sales tax and shipping. There is a paypal link on my website or just comment her to get my attention!

Individual calendars may be purchased for $12 at The Book Corner or at Studio One, Niagara Falls, the Castellani Art Museum or at my Grand Island studio.

photo is back page of calendar, showing illustrations for 12 months of 2012

"Painting for Preservation" Exhibit in Buffalo

Kath Schifano
I have lightly aligned with a group called "Painting for Preservation" in Buffalo. I say lightly because most of their paintout events are on Saturdays and I can rarely paint then, although my heart is with the group. I have always felt a need as a painter to record changes around me, and as I look over my archived art works I am astounded at the number of things that no longer exist, lovely old barns, The Wintergarden, grain elevators and that lovely old ship that we loved to paint every year in the inner harbor of Buffalo.

[Copied from their website at] PAINTING FOR PRESERVATION
P4P is a group of eclectic and inclusive artists and preservationists that gather at historic places to make art on-site. We create positive awareness of distressed and under-utilized buildings; we create a record of current building conditions through the artist's point of view; we spark new and innovative preservation opportunities. We are inspired by our historic urban environment.

Painting for Preservation (P4P) will host its first show during the National Trust for Historic Preservation Conference in Buffalo, New York in October.

Kath Schifano
 I am pleased to have these three plein air paintings included with a number of other artists at the Statler Hotel Exhibit of P4P artworks this month and the exhibit will remain in the stately Statler Hotel in Buffalo until December. A percent of sales from art in this show will go toward the restoration. There will be a private opening and a public one to be announced. I am thrilled to be able to go back into this historic building, I always loved the grand spaces, chandeliers and staircases and the sense of history that pervades the building.

Froze in Time, 9x12 oil 2011
Shadows in Elevator Alley, 9.5x12.5 pastel 2011
Tugs and Grain Elevators, 9.5x12.5 pastel, 2011
Kath Schifano

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Artist update!

This Fall has been spectacular for me, returning from a week in Houston I woke the next morning, repacked and drove straight to Letchworth to join NFPAP painters for an overnight paint out. The colors gently changed as I painted. It wasn't too cold and the sun was brilliant so I completed three plein air paintings surrounded by nature. Where there were green trees with golden flashes on my entry, overnight the reds and oranges appeared on the mountainsides. The frost overnight made a big difference. My favorite finished painting Of the three is just 4" by 8" & 1" thick, a dimensional canvas with two waterfalls in the distance, minus the railroad bridge.

There is something about placing manmade structures in great expanses of nature. It is always a dilemma to include or exclude items in paintings, so often I choose to omit built structures. I will post them all as soon as the conditions are right to shoot the dry oil paintings. That means morning light, not too sunny, no wind and I am not otherwise busy. Fat chance of that happening soon! Life is good, but hectic.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

9th Annual International Plein Air Paintout

On the second day of my 9th annual International Plein Air Paintout adventure, I crossed into Canada to paint. Little did I expect that my favorite parking lot in the park would be gone, and I would have to pay big bucks and still have to walk forever with my cart, lunch, painting supplies and more. I was thrilled to pay only $7 at the Skylon, later it was $10, and when I left it was up to $15. I didn't find the other painters there, either.

I intended to paint the American Falls, and set up my easel and supplies in the shade by the railing. I happened to look through a small hole in the trees to my right and found the gorge full of dense mist, curling around below the river and rapids. Fortunately I had a small board with me and painted that tiny bit of bright water quickly, before the light and wind changed. Then I turned back to my original composition. The Bridle Veil Falls and Luna Island look quite the same, but there is now a 'dry spot' on the American Falls. There seems to be less water going over every year and I had not seen any water from the powerful cataracts course over this prominent rock all summer. Perhaps some rocks have fallen on each side, but I remember there being a trickle there 2 years ago.

Marshmallow Mist, pastel 6x12 2011
Split in 3, pastel 9.5x12.5 2011

Niagara, again

Still fascinated by the massive curve of the Horseshoe Falls, these two paintings were created 3 weeks apart from 2 entirely different locations. I am amazed that the colors are so close, but the weather and light were almost the same.

The first is from a bridge at Three Sister's Islands. I used my 'eagle eyes' to see this from more than a half mile upriver, choosing just a piece of the falls, west of the area I often paint. It was a brilliant sunny day and the mist stayed low.

The second painting is from above Terrapin Point, close to Top of The Falls restaurant. I have painted near this same spot for 5 years now, and have noticed frequent changes in the flow of water, the size and number of islands, and the fact that the trees growing there are starting to block my view! It started as an overcast day, I worked on the sky as the clouds started to break up and it turned into solid sunlight, similar to the picture above. This was painted during the International Plein Air Paintout, September 9-11.
Curve from Three Sisters, oil, 12x24 2011
International Mist, oil 12x24, 2011

Saturday, September 24, 2011

BNAA Fall art show at Artsphere

The Erie County Fair is supposedly the largest fair in America. Two years ago, the fair's plein air contest did not conflict with the Lewiston Art Festival weekend and so I competed.

I had four hours to create and return a finished, matted painting and spent a good part of that time looking for a location and racing back to the car for supplies. While I sat on a bench painting, a hawker behind me was screaming 'Guess your weight, your age, your birthday!' for the entire day. After a while it was pretty hilarious because he was making a ton of money guessing birth months within two months, (meaning 5 months of the year were covered), with similar conditions for weights and ages. The cable company's Roadrunner is a giant blow up next to their trailer , with classic fair food behind it, and riders screaming in the distance.

The picture is hanging at Artsphere Gallery and Studio, 447 Amherst Street Buffalo, this month along with the Youngstown pastel I made this summer. This is the Buffalo Niagara Art Association Fall show of small works; this one is framed at the maximum size, it is 16x20 with a maximum impact!

 It won a 2nd prize, but mostly my process cemented the sensations of the fair in my brain. Permanently.

Guess Your Age, Your Weight, Your Birthday, pastel 12x18 2009

Lewiston with Sherrill Primo

Summer. Painting season, a chance to plan multiple dates with artist friends to paint outdoors and capture that day's joy, to listen to birds and boats, kids and campfires. Plein air is such a pleasure, to actually experience one single place for the better part of a day, record feelings with vivid colors and have a beautiful product to preserve that memory. June seemed mostly wet and chilly, I missed several great locations due to weather, distance and other appointments, but it ended with my week in the mountains and a magic experience with painters from all over, people who are now my friends with shared experiences.

On the last day of June I joined Sherrill Primo for a stolen day, a last minute decision to leave other responsibilities and get out with my easel. Meeting in Lewiston, it was natural to head for the water. I just wanted to sit and swivel my head 360' to drink in the view, indecisive about choosing my composition. There was so much to select from, piles of colorful stones, blossoms bursting, seagulls, boats, underwater rocks, miles of Canadian shore were all in my view.

After a period of sketching ideas, I selected a small canvas and laid in the shapes of the Silo above me and the craggy hill of wildflowers. I was most interested in the horizon with seagulls soaring and distant clouds rolling along, perhaps from Lake Erie, yet underneath the Silo Restaurant on North Water Street.

As that was completed more people arrived on the waterfront, calling to friends, fishing and eating lunch. Mostly they remained for a short time and then moved away. One young man, perhaps 10 or 12 patiently fished the entire time, someone who was enjoying the beauty of calm winds, clear skies and soaring seagulls at the same moments as Sherrill and I. Painting the second image calls attention to the peace and pleasures of solitude in nature the three of us experienced.

It was a long day with a lot of painting, a perfect start to a great summer. I have completed several new falls and water scenes that may eventually be posted here as well as parks and city life. Now that the first of Fall has arrived, I am watching the tinges of color and have my sights set on another Buckhorn meadow picture as well as many other forest and field scenes of crimson and gold.

Above the Clouds, 5x7 oil 2011
Lewiston Dock, 5x7 oil 2011

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lewiston Art Festival tent photos

 People ask me 'How was the art show?' and my response is usually 'Which one?' The term art show can refer to a gallery opening, an exhibit of my work or of others or a museum.

Recently, that question refers to my annual Lewiston Art Festival exhibit. It is the ONE big weekend show that I have my tent at annually, with the most people. I consider it the social event of the summer season because I get to see so many friends and acquaintances that I may not have seen otherwise.

It is also the release date for my calendar, you can see the 2012 displayed on the table. All of the new monthly paintings are horizontal this year, if you have collected them there are different formats each year. For some reason I did not choose any long or tall paintings as I have been trying some new sizes recently.

The next outdoor event I participate in is a one day show,  Music is Art at Delaware Park, across from the Albright Knox. It is a celebration of music like no other, with a small number of artist tents and activities, a food section and organized especially for families. It is a fundraiser for the music in the schools programs, so come on over, Saturday, September 17, 10am to 10pm.
Photos, Kath Schifano tent at Lewiston Art Festival, 2011

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Whitesville House

 Mike White turned 50 this summer, Carl designed an invitation to the planned pig roast birthday party, and I had an opportunity to bake a crazy birthday cake, camouflage icing, pig relaxing on a chaise lounge, dirt (almonds) around the sides. I just copied Carl's invitation and treated frosting like paint, mixing various muddy colors with my spatula. Off we went to Wellsville with cooler and my paint sets.

I always liked the view of Monica's pond and the woods behind it, but this hot afternoon it was particularly moody and cool looking. I settled myself in the shade of the house with my pastels to capture the scene, hoping that one of the balloons from the balloon rally that weekend would soar overhead and be reflected in the pond. That didn't happen, although there were balloons to be seen.
Whitesville House Kath Schifano Kathy Painting house portrait
Several people came over to watch my drawing evolve that afternoon. Later in the evening we got into a conversation with Linda and Buck who have been updating and restoring the Whitesville House restaurant, tavern and hotel since 1992. I remembered this building from a great meal we shared with Monica and Mike during the snowiest winter. It is right on the Pennsylvania border and I had known Whitesville as a town occasionally mentioned on the TV weather.

They asked about painting an architecture portrait, so the following weekend I packed a variety of my materials and canvas sizes, spent 5 hours drawing and planning the painting in unbelievable heat and worked a bit more back in Wellsville. I returned the next day and 7 hours and gallons of water later went to my car at 6pm to see that the shade temperature read 101'. No wonder the paint was so sticky!

This old lady has great architectural bones and details and they have done an amazing amount of work to develop the porch, outdoor area, stone wall and waterfall, flower boxes and even more indoors. The hardest part (besides the heat) was the foreground, every time a car pulled out of a space, a truck would pull in so I could not ever see the entire front. I just ran back and forth making sketches and taking pictures. Although it was started as a plein air, I had to bring this into my studio to paint the rest of the wonderful details, the windows with beer signs, the flowers, red and white sign, porch rails. I am very pleased to have created a wonderful record of an historic building, it was built in 1826 as a hotel and you can still get a nice room there.

So if you are in the southern tier of NY, do stop at the landmark Whitesville House, a bit of history, great character, excellent food and wonderful caretakers.

Afternoon Delight 18x24, oil 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Upper Rapids, the fury of water

I am working on the perfect painting to capture the sound and fury of the upper rapids of the Horseshoe Falls. This is meant to be a really loud painting, I want you to hear the water crashing as it races to become a cascade. A blend of Plein Air and studio work, it woke me last night with the sound of water running, not as loud as I expect it will be, but loud enough for me to have to check water faucets!

I know that paintings can be powerful; I am putting enough power into this that it may dribble.
To be continued!

In progress (Untitled) painting on location, 12x24, oil on canvas 2011

Music is Art 9/17/2011

Please join us as we celebrate the talent and culture of Western New York Saturday, September 17, 2011, 10 AM-10 PM @ Delaware Park behind The Albright-Knox Art Gallery!
I'll have a tent there, it is my big fundraising supporter effort for the Fall; so take a chance on winning an artwork submitted by selected exhibiting artists. Music is Art supports the instrument drive for instruments in the schools program as well as new musicians. The September 17th event is an amazing chance for everyone in the family to have a good time. It is totally all ages, lots for the little ones to do for free and at least four stages of continuous music for everyone. FOrmerly on the grounds of the Albright Knox art gallery, now it is now across the street in Delaware park, Shakespeare hill area.

Monday, August 8, 2011

WIne On Third Art Exhibit still on the walls

Wine On Third is a neat bar & restaurant downtown Niagara Falls, a little jewel of a spot that is like nothing else downtown. The small plates are delicious and the wine list has a nice variety, there is a secret restaurant tucked around the side. My display was scheduled for July, a very nice opening reception was held on July 5th, right after the holiday weekend. 

The exhibit has been held over into August. Try to stop by, it is great to see so many of my large paintings displayed together. Besides, there is a daily happy hour and 40+ wines by the glass with inside and outside seating.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

July Saturday with Monica

A great party in Wellsville for Mike White's 50th involved a bit of cooking and packing for a crowd-olive & feta salad, a crockpot of beans and a big layer cake.

Arriving from our two hour drive we sat right down to eat, the roast pig had been cooked and carved and all sorts of wonderful creations sat outside in trays of ice on a blistering hot day. The salad and beans were ready for those just starting to eat and more who came up for seconds.

Walking around the house, I found a big patch of cool shade overlooking the pond that reflected the sky and encroaching woodland. Since this was a balloon fest weekend we hoped to see a few, and I was hoping one would fly over the pond, putting my speed painting skill to the challenge. A set of pastels and  supplies was in my car and my after lunch rest involved recording this idyllic scene. Obviously no balloon went over or it would have been painted. There was one sighting to the north near sunset, and several ready for morning flights on the parade grounds as we drove home late that evening. All together, a perfect day.

This painting was hurriedly added to my 2012 calendar as a summer scene.

Pig Roast Siesta, 9.5x12.5 pastel c.2011

Youngstown & Used Sailboats

I missed the first scheduled date, but a second Youngstown marina paintout brought out many artists, they spread out on the docks to capture sky and waves, sailboats in the Niagara River and on land as well as the Youngstown Yacht club area buildings. Already in love with this area for inspiring compositions, I searched for a spot with shade and parked myself in the lee of a giant sailboat on a drydock rack. I had a giant tractor wheel next to me to serve as a table for piles of colorful pastel sticks. 

After a moment of studying the sailboats moored in front of me, I turned and caught sight of a small but lovely wood work building with a wide open door, colorful cans for gasoline and oil stacked inside the door. That would be my picture, so I turned my easel and supplies away from the water. As the day passed, sunlight started to sparkle on the red metal roof, followed by windy enough weather change to convince me it was time to stop.

This one is now on the 2012 calendar, going to the printer tomorrow.

Sailboats for Sale, pastel  9.5x12.5 c.2011

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Last Part, Adirondack Publisher's Invitational

I drove for nearly 7 hours in the sun to register for my week in the Adirondacks; I checked in, moved in, and met many painters before, during and after dinner. I had come ready to paint ~ Paul Smith area is gorgeous and I was promised spectacular sunsets like the Hudson River painters had recorded.

Well, I really had come to paint, so I prepared my first oils and a small canvas on a rickety table on a 2nd floor deck. It was becoming more cloudy and overcast, but I took my chances because I was so ready to push the paint around---of course the skies would turn brilliant orange & gold, reflecting on the lake below. I chose a composition, laid in my shapes and underlying colors, waited for the spectacle of glorious color to arch into the clouds so I could fling paint at the waiting canvas at the absolute best moment of colors blasting a blinding sunset at me.

Nope, never happened. In fact the pink that did appear in the sky was so dim and fleeting that several people asked me if I made it up. Nope. But I did exaggerate the minor spectacle I witnessed, and if you have been following this, then there is no surprise that I was denied rich sunsets for the entire week.

This sweet little oil was set aside to dry, then left on the bottom of my collection. Only recently did I reexamine it, finding the simplicity, as well as my memories, strong enough to consider it for my 2012 calendar.

Listen for the Loon, oil 8x10, 2011

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Moon is A Balloon, 2011 & Wine On Third

 Years ago I started this rose painting, it was one of my early large floral pastels. It was matted & framed under glass-until the glass broke. I adjusted it to have a double mat after reworking the naked image in 2006, when I added blues to the previously white sky as well as more values of yellow in the petals. The rose peacefully settled in a quiet corner of the living room for several years. 

This summer I took it down and re-reworked it. The sky gained more blues, greens and a bit of violet, the  petal shadows were made richer with violet and orange and I finally completed the stem; poor rose only had sepals without a stem. Under glass, it is finally ready to show.

Invited to be July 'artist of the month' at Wine on Third, Niagara Falls, this painting is the first on the wall in a series of large florals and food paintings there as well as 6 Niagara Falls paintings. It is finally in public along with other studio works. Having mostly painted and shown smaller plein air paintings recently, I enjoy seeing the display of large works together, and it will be up until August.

The Moon Is A Balloon, 24x30 [framed to 30x36] 1995-2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Part 3- Publisher's Invitational Paintout 2.0, Ampersand Pastelbord

Gabriel's Farm, 6x18 pastel, 2011
Ahhh, the mountains, an example of how they move and dance in the clouds. A nice breeze chased large rain clouds which mostly stayed away from our final location, Gabriel's Farm, only 7 minutes away and our closest paintout location. I had been using pastels for several days and was eager to try a new panoramic museum series panel from Ampersand, called Pastelbord. It is absolutely smooth and flat with a fine texture and can be worked to the edge without  marking. I spoke to Jim Markle about this new board and he liked the superflat surface as well, going off the edge to finish a stroke left no stripe and made us both happy. I think this is perfect for soft pastels, using their grey undercolor was perfect for the day and this composition. Afterwards I brightened the foreground as it was clear and bright overhead, the storm stayed in the distance, alternately covering and revealing the mountains. A field of wild flowers had all of us admiring the beautiful varieties, it seemed to have been planted for color.

Part 2- Publisher's Invitational Paintout 2.0

Continuing the Adirondack adventures.

After painting a few pictures in oil, carrying them fresh and wet into another person's car and looking at the results that evening in a dorm, I realized that pastels would be a good choice in the mountains. The pastels are heavy, but require less space and equipment to carry. It was a good decision as I was caught in the rain and had to work very quickly. My yellow Fantasy Island slicker stayed waterproof, but my plein air umbrella wasn't totally waterproof when it stayed wet. The first painting here is successful because I stopped early and the pastels captured the image I wanted and will allow me to paint it again on canvas without the distraction of details and with the richness of experience. That won't happen soon, it's a possibility for winter, so in the meantime, it is NFS and I like it just as is.

The second was painted from the dock at night, oh! how I love to paint at night, it was quiet and peaceful, and it is always a treat to see later in room light when finished. My hat batteries held up, so I could see my palette box and picture quite well. That evening was like 'yoga painting', peaceful, comfortable, healthy and calm.

Splashing water at St. Regis Falls really is orange, this is a study for another pastel made the same day. I decided to add more of the rocks to my second painting, in the meantime, the light changed and it seems like the amount of water crashing had increased. Three of us were under a pop up tent and had a wonderful time protected from weather. The foreground rock really looks like a seal from my location and a big turtle from the front. It can be seen in old photos and paintings and helps identify the exact location.

Slippery When Wet Flume, 12.5x9.5, pastel, 2011
Night on the Lake, 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011

St. Regis Falls Splash 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011
St. Regis Falls Monitor 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011

Slippery When Wet Flume, 12.5x9.5, pastel, 2011
Night on the Lake, 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011
St. Regis Falls Splash 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011
St. Regis Falls Monitor 9.5x12.5, pastel, 2011

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Life Changing Adirondack Event?

Painting for a week in the Adirondacks exposed me to a few art concepts.

1) I can climb up or down slippery slopes with an easel, 6' umbrella and wearing a yellow Fantasy Island rain slicker.

2) It's okay to paint in the rain. Not perfect, but okay.

3) I'd rather paint without the rain.

The Publisher's Invitational Paint Out 2.0 in The Adirondacks was a unique professional opportunity to paint alongside over 80 nationally known outdoor artists, to share rocks, experiences and turpentine. There were no lectures, classes or schedules, just a quick breakfast, packed lunches and all day on the road chasing waterfalls, rapids, flumes and mountains with paint and pastel. Sponsored by Plein Air Magazine, this was open to invited artists.

The original Hudson River School of painters packed their supplies and trekked these sights and made a name for themselves capturing 200-300 painted vistas and scenes that you see in museums and books. Now renamed the Adirondack Mountain Painters (founders) our group painted 700-800 scenes in one hectic adventure, carpooling and caravaning, parking alongside creeks and farms to capture new scenes with oils, acrylics, WC, pastel and camera.

Listen to the Loon at VIC, oil on board, 12x18, 2011
High Falls, pastel 15x12.5 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Rivershore colors

Kath Schifano Kathy Painting house portrait Cayuga Island NIagara FallsThis Cayuga Island home portrait has been in progress on my easel for nearly 3 months and it is leaving me as a surprise gift to the homeowner. I had promised myself to never do another surprise house painting because there is little opportunity to spend time sketching the building and generating a personal relationship to develop the composition. Cameras flatten images and the eye is more honest. It happens to be cited on the water, surrounded by mature majestic trees so it was easier to select a view.

However, there are many details to any house and I did several 'drive-bys' to take pictures. The neighbors wondered what was going on, the kids playing hockey in the street just stared. It felt like I was lurking and clicked photos from the window of my car since someone always seemed to be home.

I took the first pictures in early Spring when trees were bare; this let me paint the sky, lawn and entire house and place the trees and significant branches. As the foundation plants grew in and trees claimed their shapes the portrait could continue. A fairly large painting, this is a lovely heirloom that commemorates the energy the owners invested in creating a lovely home.

There is always a little feeling of loss when another painting leaves. Now, what's next!!??

Rivershore Colors, 22x28 oil, 2011

Erie Canal Locks in Lockport

Two consecutive weeks were scheduled on the Erie Canal in Lockport, NY with Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters this month. We listened across the canal as children on field trips screeched and exclaimed waiting for their tour boat rides and the cruise narrator repeated his prepared speech about the history of the Erie canal, the height of the locks in Lockport and the upcoming 'widest working bridge' as well as train whistles and passersby. This was followed by the natural quiet of a park and the regular opening and closing of huge lock gates to change the water level.

Huddled under my giant paint umbrella, straddling a picnic bench, I relished each moment as I painted. The network of paths and bridges and stairs engineered under the level of the city of Lockport was fascinating. Both paintings are from the same location, the park across from Market Street, but painted one week apart.

Waiting for Tour at Noon, 8x10 oil 2011
Opening the Lock. 16x20, oil 2011

Delaware Park Rose Garden

Slipping off to Buffalo to paint the beautiful Delaware Park Rose Garden doesn't bring the Albright Knox Art Gallery to mind. All of the other painters-there were about 8-headed for the beautiful colonnade, surrounded by steps, columns, roses and trees. I had spent a full year painting only roses, so I was up to this challenge and liked the idea of varicolored bushes, clusters, longstems and bunch roses.

As I perused this lovely location, the sight of the Albright's E. B. Green 1905 building peeking over the end of the gardens grabbed me. I turned my easel around and accepted the challenge. Having painted on the grounds and having a profound respect for the institution, I did appreciate this distance view.

However, I ended my visit with about 50 new rose photographs, with all the varieties and colors one could imagine.

Look What's Growing in the Rose Garden, 11x14 oil on masonite 12x18
Photo; in progress plein air painting

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Margaret Louise Park, Amherst, NY

My second visit to this jewel of a park was a perfect Spring day. We had been through a spell of cold and rain which caused a few paint-outs to be washed out.

The painters kept murmuring 'what a lovely day' as we drank in sunshine, listened to geese clattering over territory and birds celebrated their varied chirps.

Painting on a masonite panel reminded me how important the surface is to a composition. My oils slide like butter on warm toast but dry more slowly so each brushstroke must be carefully placed to avoid muddy effects. In this case, the tannin in the water created deep dark browns, but the sky and scattered clouds reflected themselves in all the light areas.

If this is the best plein air I create this year, I will still be happy. It is named for the turtles basking on the log in the water to the left of the tree trunk.

4 More Turtles, oil 16x20 2011

Olmsted Parks paintings.

It's unusual for me to paint from a photograph, but I was indoors, painting an Olmsted Park. I used a dull photo and my memory to capture the day I was there early last Fall. This Spring I spent a day with representatives of Olmsted Parks of Buffalo, painting at the 'Plantasia' event on the Hamburg fairgrounds.

The varied Olmsted designed parks in Buffalo include several traffic circles in the system, including at McKinley, Kleinhans, and Richmond as well as South and Delaware Parks. I donated this painting to their fundraising and by a roundabout way it remains much loved in

Olmsted at Delaware Park, 9x12, oil 2011
collection of Buffalo Park System

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chasing the sun from the shadows

My previous post showed a finished painting drying in the sun. Actually, painting on a canvas that has sunshine on it creates a very strange painting when brought indoors, sometimes it is positively garish and other times it is incredibly dark. It took me 3 ruined paintings to learn to ALWAYS have my canvas and my palette in shade. Therefore I bring a 60" artist umbrella to our paintouts as well as choose locations with abundant shade trees or overhangs. Standing in sun for hours, sunblock or not isn't a healthy practice either.

It helps to have a good sense of direction or a compass when plein air painting. In this case, I put a straight edge on the ground at the edge of the shadow and watched to see the sun move over the marker-it only takes 2-3 minutes to plot a good spot.

photos by Bobbie Peters