Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Garret Club

Invited to display paintings at the lovely Garret Club in Buffalo, I was given two walls to show work near the grand piano. I chose to use one for botanical images and the other for local scenes and landscapes. This was a good opportunity to talk with groups of people who appreciated art and had interesting questions and comments. It was particularly nice to carry less home than I brought to the club. They asked me to leave the work up for more than a month. I like to have a group of paintings out at the same time, it leaves me a bit of room in the studio to reorganize and rearrange. I have a rule, no nail shall stand alone, so every lonely nail is given a new painting.

The Plein Air Force Houston

Houston artists

If you have heard me talk about the lack of unique character in suburban Houston, you have probably also heard me say that a painting can be found anywhere. This is just around the corner from Robin's street, a wide greenway lined with a row of evergreens. I have sketched here before as it is an outside street of a planned neighborhood and a good place to practice perspective; trees, houses, powerlines, parked cars, and the street all converge at a single distant point.

After a neighborhood walk the afternoon light was right and I brought my half French easel out to the shady corner, followed soon by Ian and Amelia with paper, lap desks, drawing supplies and their FURNITURE for comfort. It is humbling to be reminded that kids have no limits, no worries about appearance or rules, they just get involved. Hearing the chairs drag down the sidewalk, seeing them scramble to hold their artist odds and ends and grinning and eager to work with Grammy, I wish I had that picture. We all worked in the quiet, greeting occasional neighbors checking us out, dog walkers,  and cars slowing.

Amelia painted with her set of new brush markers and left sky holes in the trees and light marks on the tree trunks. It wasn't because I did this, it was because she was looking at what was in front of her. A lesson well learned. She wasn't sure what to draw and I said "just do whatever you are looking at."   
One of my very best days.

The Trees Across the Street, brush markers  9x12 c. Amelia

Across the Street @10x12 oil on Arches paper 
I titled this post Plein Air Force because there is a movement of that name to get everyone involved, to get people out, to try drawing and painting from life.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Carnegie Workshop

The Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters created a workshop to educate the public about plein air and encourage more to share our activities, enjoy outdoors and create paintings. Even before the scheduled start time, interested  people were looking around, asking questions and collecting handouts as well as Plein Air magazine and the Liliedahl video catalog, both donated by the publisher for our event.

My talk was about various ways to pack and organize, how to eliminate extra weight and pare down the amount of supplies to paint outdoors. The display included a half French Easel, Guerilla Boxes, Laptop Pochades and even a tiny oil color set in a doll size suitcase box. People enjoyed seeing box adjustments including handles, brush holders, strategic holes drilled and different ways to organize for pastels and paint.

Waiting for Warm, Late Winter Plein Air

Perhaps life gets hectic when the weather warms. At least, I think it does, but winter has its own slower pace. Right now I am ready for the busy painting schedule that NFPAP has put together, so I have been playing with a variety of different materials.

The first painting is from an upstairs window view. A little bit of snow and a lot of sunshine inspired me to capture the blue shadows of the biggest cottonwood tree I have ever seen. It is at least three times the height of a two story peaked roof. About 100-150 feet away and across the street, if it ever came down we would have a huge mess and a bit of damage. I see this tree out of every window in the front, and it fills my view from bed as well. This was a pastel experiment, the paper had too much texture for me, perhaps I should have used the back. I think the same painting in oil would be more successful.

The second is a front seat in the car painting. I parked along the Robert Moses, recently renamed the Niagara River Parkway. A fairly gray and quiet day, the Niagara plume hovered in the gorge making the buildings of Niagara Falls Ontario appear to float or sit on the mist.  A famous chimney has been moved to the river side of the road and was given its own parking lot as well. It is a good place to just look and think.

Shadows of My Dreams, pastel 9x12 c.K Schifano
Niagara river, kath Schifano, Niagara Falls
A Chimney's View watercolor 6x9, c.K Schifano

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The March Exhibit announcement

The Dispatch posted this about the show. We just returned from Houston so I hadn't seen the paper on Friday, but on Saturday morning it was the subject of yoga class. I guess they recognized my photo even though we usually are upside down or have our eyes closed. Thanks to the paper for printing this announcement from the library.

Naturally, Grand Island

Living on an Island? Surrounded by water, and blessed with two state parks, overlooks and rural areas,  and some interesting views make it very easy to display a collection of Island paintings. There are nearly 30 paintings in this show at Grand Island Memorial Library and all of them represent Grand Island scenes. Except for the two florals every picture was made outdoors, between the bridges.

I couldn't help but title this exhibit "Naturally, Grand Island". I am so blessed to have so much beauty to surround me. Although a few paintings are from close to home, I could fill another exhibit with works that show the changing seasons right in my own yard. Missing a few labels and the sign, this is how the paintings look this month on the day they were hung.