Monday, September 28, 2015

Mississippi Mudds on the river

plein air river food, Niagara Street

A favorite summer spot for a fun meal, Mississippi Mudds had a sign stating it would close at the end of the month. I had gone there to paint on the riverwalk, but the colors of the restaurant would be gone soon. I turned my chair to face the road, my back to the river. THe more time I spent on this painting, the more detail I saw, the ice cream cone lights, the flags on the terrace, power poles and various colors in the windows. Observers were all surprised to notice the lighthouse top in the painting, they had never noticed it on the building. It was partially obscured from my angle but out in the open from every other direction.

As I painted this in the morning, there were few people at the ice cream window to model for me, but as I finished, the lines had started and customers ordered fun meals for a late summer day. Oh well, next year I will start later, or perhaps I will choose Old Man River, or even the river!

Mississippi Mudds,  9x12 oil on birch, © 2015

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Looking For Colors in the fog

Kath Schifano
Painting shows the fog lifting a little after I arrived

photo taken when I started my painting

The day after I returned from a 5 day NYC art trip a paintout had been planned at Bond's Lake. Although I was not entirely ready to start painting right away, I still had art to unpack and put away, I went. Sherrill Primo had graciously offered to pick up my paintings from the NFPAP show at 464 Gallery and had them in her car.

As I drove north, a dense brown cloud appeared across the horizon, as I got closer to Lewiston I saw it was low to the ground right where I was headed, making a right turn, I drove right into intense fog, which appeared gray white from the inside. Again, I hesitated to continue, knowing that it was too dense to find my artist friends in the desolate park. I continued and realized the opportunity the fog presented in a painting, plus, I found them all easily at the end of the park road.

Glad to have my pastels, I set up quickly and made color notes on the lightly sketched page so that I would have the colors established as the fog lifted. The distance was invisible, just a shadow on the sky, and the middle ground alternated between fuzzy and gone altogether. This was a fairly quick plein air and I am so pleased that the fog remained when I needed it. As I finished the fog lifted and an amazing set of early fall colors appeared in the island in the distance. So glad I didn't see them earlier.

Looking for Colors in the Fog 9x12 pastel c. 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

New York art season.

 A long weekend in NewYork City during the opening of the art season resulted in miles and miles on my step tracking app. The Gagosian Gallery's Roy Lichtenstein Green Street mural reconstruction was a gift to see, the accompanying images by Roy showed how he used icons of American advertising to develop paintings and find graphics for his work. A marble notebook in a showcase was open to pages scotchtaped with newspaper line drawings for ads to buy mixers, luggage, home products and furniture. 
 Stepping into the Shepard Fairey show at Jacob Lewis Gallery was an adventure in itself, packed with people on two floors. Fortunately they were all chatting so I was able to see most of his controversial art, some of it displayed salon style. Laurene Buckley and I wondered which one in the crowd was Fairey so I looked him up on Google images. As his face appeared on my phone, he walked towards us, turned 180' and walked away, smiling, as he saw what we were doing. A moment later he watched us through the gallery office window, I think I saw a smirk and a wink. Wearing a crisp blue oxford shirt with carefully turned sleeves and dress dockers, he wasn't quite what we expected. Neither did he fit into the crowd of hip city folk in edgy fashions and attitude. I went home with a few 'Obey Giant' stickers to share in WNY.
Much of the work at this exhibit was directed at corporate America, in particular oil barons and waste producing unhealthy products. THe litho plates were mounted, along with prints, paintings and embellished works of the same images, most of it in the red/black/warm color schemes of this work. Loved the show!

So, the weekend also included revisiting the 'Sargent and Friends' exhibition at the Met and MOMA's Picasso sculptures, a few other galleries, lots of walking and meeting artist friends and ended with packing my solo show of ocean, jetty and water scenes in Long Beach, where they have been hanging for the last three weeks. 15 paintings, carefully packed, fit into my big leather carryall and I was able to squeeze it through the security lines at JFK as a carry on. Did I mention how much I love this job?

Monday, September 7, 2015

#30. The final painting

When I posted 30 paintings in 30 days I was also touching up the large picture 'Glory's Bath Takes Too Long'. The final was posted earlier. These images show the progress of that painting which actually spent several months on my easel, a good bit of that time was 'thinking' or evaluating the progress, how the colors should look, the proper perspective and light for the space, how edges could soften or be sharp. The slump of the back, expressing the difficulty of waiting until the washing machine would finally finish is the most obvious difference, but the hair and legs and the facade of the machine also changed. 

Glory's Bath Takes TOO Long, 48x24, oil

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Summer Plein Air

Kathy Schifano, Buffalo plein air
Allentown garage in Arlington Park, Buffalo

Kath Schifano, painting at festival, street flowers, flower garden
Center and 7th in Lewiston, NY

NACC, Kathy Schifano, Niagara Falls painting
Considering a Cruller, the Niagara Falls Hiker

Summer is outdoor painting season whenever there is time and decent weather. Each of these three paintings had a different reason to be made. The 'Fairweather Paletteers' of East Aurora met up with Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters in Allentown for the garage view.  It had a red tricycle in the driveway but the scale was wrong, so I overpainted it and hope to find another tricycle to put it back, larger this time.

The second was a demonstration painting at the Lewiston Art Festival, a view of their wonderful street gardens. It took two mornings to get the light right as I was facing west and the sun moved the shadows quickly.

The last was painted in the park across from the NACC in NIagara Falls, included two well known landmarks. Freddie's Donuts has been there longer than I have lived in this area, and the Hiker was placed early in the last century, at the corner of Portage and Main Street. I hope no one decides to clean up his gaudy blue patina.

Allentown Garage, 11x14 oil on canvas

Center and 7th, 7.5x10.5 oil on Arches Huile

Considering A Cruller, 9x12 oil on Arches Huile

Friday, September 4, 2015

Third Street mashup

  Annually, the NACC has a fund raising auction of paintings created on selected Sunday evenings at Wine on Third. This year I had planned to capture some of the building architecture up close but when I arrived the tents were up and the sidewalk was full of painters and friends as well as patrons. I decided to work across the street.

Originally interested in the perspective view of Third Street, I became attracted to the signs. As long as I have lived here, there have been complaints about signage, especially for tourists. This was my view and the painting in early progress. It is a sanded canvas, originally a picture of Chautaqua Lake swimmers and boats which I turned upside down-you can see a boat and docks where the 2 hour sign will be, and a bit of the tree line on the bottom of my painting. Fortunately I was across the street from the crowd. People who saw this work in progress were quite confused about me and where I was headed with 2 pictures happening on one board. Not every painting is worth keeping and my power sander helps me reuse those boards.

KAthy Schifano, Niagara Falls downtown, Wine on THird I am considering a few details yet, such as larger bolts on the signs and maybe some of the reflected light on the signs. Or maybe not.

Falls View 12x18 oil on board  c.K Schifano

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Falls at Water Level

Kath Schifano, plein air Niagara Falls, niagara artist

I discovered a new access to the water level of the lower Niagara. Close by parking and no climbing necessary, I expect to paint here often. Perhaps in early Spring we will have a larger glimpse of the Horseshoe Falls, the trees and leaves will not be as dense on the cliffs but I will have to bundle up. The lower river stays full of ice and very cold water for quite a while.

This is at the winter dock storage for the Maid of the Mist ships. The seasonal docks are just beyond the trees. The water here is the Horseshoe Falls.

At Water Level, 11x14 oil on birch panel

My beach paintings go on exhibit, 9/1-9/20, 2015

I currently have a display of 15 plein air beach paintings in Long Beach, 250 East Park Avenue. Galleries for practicing artists are rare on Long Island as people can purchase art in nearby NYC (or else WalMart). Last year, the curator for The Coffee Nut saw my work, so I am pleased to have my paintings selected for the busy end of the summer season crowd.

These photos show some of the paintings that are on display September 1-21. This is where they belong, in the salt air where they were born. All are Plein Air and all have lightweight frames as I will be bringing them home as carry on luggage when the exhibition is over.