Saturday, July 27, 2013

Allentown Association Art Exhibition

The Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural National Historic Site preserves the elegant Ansley Wilcox house  on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. There is also a lovely restored carriage house which will showcase paintings of the Allentown area in early August, with a reception on Friday, August 2. This show is sponsored by the Allentown Association for its 50th anniversary and includes works of the area's features by artists who live, work or paint in Allentown.

One of my two paintings is this driveway side view of an elegant victorian home on Pearl Street, just a few buildings down from Allen Street. Painted this year, I was intrigued by the tans and browns of the structures hi-lighted by the forsythia bush and its glorious yellow presence.

I like to feature yellow flowers in paintings, it is a challenge for me, but it also holds its own on some of our drearier days, the yellow in nature paintings sparkles through the gloom of a long winter afternoon.

The second painting in this show is a colorful blue corner porch with morning glories winding up the column. It is a pastel, framed to 20x16. Pretty little bits of Allentown are making their way back to Buffalo from Grand Island for this exhibit.

Pearl Street Spring 14x11 oil,  2013

2 Paintings in North Dakota

Bismarck Art & Galleries Association sponsored a Square Foot Show in their gallery for the second year. These two paintings were sent to North Dakota for the exhibit which runs from August 6 to 30. If you happen to be in our nation's breadbasket, the BAGA opening reception is at E. Front Ave from 5-7 pm. Let me know how the show looks and if I have a nice location for my work, I have to be here to paint in Olcott!

They are on 12" by 12" stretched canvases and the 1" deep sides are painted to continue the image around the corners. This is often called Gallery Wrap. Each is a wonderful painting and I am proud to have them represent me there.

oils to No. Dakota gallery show
Both of these florals were completed in the studio, started from my drawings on location. The rose was painted from a conte drawing I had wanted to use in a painting, while the peonies were started en plein air at my picnic table and brought indoors for development. The flowers changed as I watched, and the breeze moved the flowers and branches just enough that I kept losing my place in the big bush. There are so many flowers this year, I am hoping the farmers have as much success with their fruits and vegetables as I am having in our lush gardens.

Summer Glory 12x12x1 oil, 2013
Peony Riot 2, 12x12x1 oil, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Carnegie Art Center Paintout on the canal

architecture painting, SchifanoSaturday's intense gusts almost took out this setup several times, a collection of bungee cords attached everything in winds up to 50 mph. I set up in the shade of the railroad bridge, not realizing that I put myself into a windier place than an open site. I eventually moved under a tree and still had to fight the wind, all my available equipment was used to weigh down the easel. The red line in the sky is a hook attached to my easel drawer. I chose to paint the Remington Tavern because of the historic architecture [formerly Remington Typewriter] that was adapted to become a great restaurant, but also because of the beautiful flowers bursting forth from their canopy.

Working in shade allows colors to be recorded more accurately, if someone paints in sunlight, especially when the sun is on the canvas, the image appears dark when indoors.  Often my huge artist umbrella protects art in progress and the palette more than me. I could not use it here due to the high winds; otherwise boaters would be fishing me and all my supplies out of the Erie Canal.

The Carnegie Art Center sponsored this paintout in the North Tonawanda area to coincide with Canalfest. This Remington Tavern painting was displayed in the beautifully restored Riviera Theater where the giant organ was played to the delight of the crowds.

Breezes at Remington, 11x14 oil.

This is a link to a newspaper article by Jill Keppler, click to read it for my 'quotes' and a little bit of background on the day.
Chasing light, catching shadows
There are life lessons in plein air painting: It's all about location. Life keeps moving. Travel light. Embrace imperfection. Roll with the punch

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Publisher's Invitational Plein Air 2013 paintings

Plein Air Publisher's Invitational Paintout.
This is it. All of my finished paintings, from nearly a week in the mountains, sort of taking it easy, so I also have a collection of drawings and sketches to go with these as well as a head full of beautiful memories.

This first landscape painting is '3 Dollar Sky', pastel 9x12 because I started by laying in the gray-blue for the sky with a new stick of Unison pastel. It was half gone when I had the undercolor completed. As it cost $6 a pastel stick it was named well.
 'High Falls 3' 16x 12 pastel. This was my second trip carrying gear down the semi perilous steps, but I had also painted a 4 foot tall picture from my previous references.
 On the way home, we stopped in Harristown for a 'painting break', one more for the road? one of just two oils I did this week. 'Harristown Interlude', oil 8x12
 Norman Ridge Skyline, pastel 9x12 Miles of mountains recede on the horizon. The air at this altitude was so fresh, the wildflowers were bright and the day was perfect, with perky little crooked clouds trying to stay afloat.
Return to the VIC3 oil 8x12  Three paintings in 3 years from the same spot, if only I had walked another 200 yards to a super paint spot in shade. Next time, I suppose.
'Rocks at Bog Falls', 9x12 pastel, a very quick painting, there were a lot of bugs in the muddy spot I selected for this composition.
 Roosters at Bog River Falls', pastel 12x16, the first I painted here.
 Solstice Above the Flume, 9x12 pastel. I was looking down at this section of the rapidly descending flume water, seated on huge round rocks at the edge of the cliff. I was sort of tilted forward so my toes were constantly pushing me back from the edge as I painted. When I finally got up my feet were very happy as well as stiff.

From the same vantage point I was able to see the Flume below, perhaps my favorite image of the week. We arrived very early in the morning before the rest of the campers and I ventured very close to this falls area to paint this one first. As I finished, a bit of sunshine sparkled on the top of the waterfall, shining into the gorge from overhead.
Solstice Sun on the Flume, pastel 12x9

Thursday, July 4, 2013

3 Variations of Marsh Grasses in Western New York

painting water reeds, Schifano
If they have not been crushed by heavy snow, marshes keep their tall fronds of dry golden grasses through the new year, until new grasses fill in. Spring growth adds bulk and color variations as the green shoots stretch for sunlight.

These were coincidentally painted the same week, each about 25 miles further away.

The first is an oil, made in Buckhorn State Park, my favorite meadow, secluded and quiet, with a distant view of mists from the Falls to the west. It was hot and a little buggy, occasional clouds gave me a break from the sun even though I had an umbrella for shade. The marsh grasses nearly glowed white in the sunshine

The center painting is a pastel, painted at Tuscarora State Park on my second visit there this year. Peggy sat close to the water and made a statement about the movement of the water, giving me an idea for the title. It was neither hot nor cool, just a perfect painting day.
This last picture is also pastel, painted deeper into the Tifft Nature Preserve than I usually venture. A map noted that the water is named Mosquito Pond. Wrong. The non native Red Ants in this area were atrocious, even marching in thick lines on the raised walking platform. I tucked my pants into my socks, sat with only my boot toes touching ground and occasionally jumped around. It makes me itchy to remember as I write this! The grasses here seemed almost pink at the tops, I liked the horizontals formed by the receding layers of nature and the patterns of verticals from the growth near to far.

Ironically, I created three paintings in one week with the same subject, unintentionally, each captures its own moment and place.
painting water reeds, Schifano

Reminiscing, 9x12 pastel, 2013
Water Flows Both Ways, 9x12 pastel, 2013
Mosquito Pond in Tifft, 9x12 pastel, 2013

Lilac Gardens in Niagara Falls, Ontario

painting in the wind, Kathy Schifano
c. K Schifano
I am so fortunate to be able to get outdoors and spend a day in nature. Finding the right weather helps! A planned outing to the Niagara Parks in Ontario was postponed because of doom and gloom weather reports, but I chose to venture across the bridge anyway, the day seemed bright. It is close and I wanted to capture the lilacs in bloom. They were early this year and I was going to miss them if I waited.

Open fields by the expanse of the Canadian power project were subject to the announced winds, so I set up against the breeze, behind the car, easel on the ground with me on the inside of the car surrounded by pastels and materials. Within an hour I was gripping the top of the easel to steady it in gusty winds and watching tourists walk around sideways, head into the wind, clothing whipping around. It kept getting stronger while the scent of lilacs increased and the bushes rattled to their roots.

Working in pastel, all excess powder from my sticks was gone with the wind, mark making had a whole new meaning for me in the gales that started increasing. I always said I would rather paint in the rain than wind, but I love the plein air effect of wind in this painting. It still vibrates and blows on my page.

As I finished, fat raindrops started and I pulled the hatch shut. My drive home was erratic as the gale winds had toppled trees, broke large branches and sent all sorts of things into the roadway, heavy rain compounded the difficulty. I had spent the day out, captured it and made it home safely, another great paint adventure.

Windy Lilacs, 12x9, pastel, c. 2013