Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lewiston Art Festival August 8 & 9

Preparing for the Lewiston Art Fest- my new tent location will be in front of the Orange Cat Coffee Co, right near the corner of 7th Street on Center Street. Although I will miss my comfy park lawn site, the new Festival setup should be exciting. The entire area of tents will be closed to traffic, & everyone will be between 4th & 8th Streets on Center.

I plan to have my calendars available then, my fingers are crossed! The ink may be wet & I may be up late Friday night packaging them, but the all 'Niagara Falls' edition went to the printer for proofs last week.  Having included 3 or 4 Falls paintings every year, it was a a challenge to have 12 'excellent' paintings completed without using the old ones. You may be a little surprised at some of the new layout effects we are trying.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Comparing Paintings

Once upon a time, I said I didn't like to paint bridges. Since then , I learned to love them, especially these little bridges we find to cross creeks and streams.  These pictures show two of my 2009 paintings, the framed one was done in Florida, the other is at Allegany State Park, & they were painted 5 months apart on location. I was surprised to see the similarities, but also was amazed to remember the differences-the fire ants vs. the flies, the scorching sun vs. the rain that ended the painting session.
Both paintings were wonderful experiences, the process of plein air can not be matched in a studio. There is no substitute for real life.

The Red Bridge oil, 11x14 2009
Redhouse Bridge to the Playground pastel, 9x12 2009

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Satisfied customers

Monica & Mike White came here on Sunday & left with their completed portrait. It had been drying for long enough to have a light coat of varnish-it's now archival enough for the first hundred years or so. Their New Jersey home (in the painting) is currently listed for sale, & the painting will hang in Wellsville, at their new address.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rainbow Bridge from Whirlpool

Easy to find in older digital files because they were arranged by date, I can post this original pastel composition from 2006 to compare to this year's. 

The softer afternoon light has less contrast & shadows are bluer in the water here. The 'Niagara Towers' building is still in Niagara Falls, as are several others visible from the park. I originally put this in because it is home to Martha Schifano. Several other buildings are visible, but this is a good example of 'artist's license' -- leave out what you don't need/want.

Whirlpool Bridge View pastel, 18x12, 2006

Painting the same scene 3 years later

This is water rushing through the gorge after cascading down Niagara Falls, it is called the lower river, but still too rocky & rough for boats yet. If you have looked around my studio, then you may have seen a similar painting behind the door. Several years ago, as a new plein air painter, I went to Whirlpool State Park, leaned on the gorge rail & completed an afternoon view of the bridge and lower rapids. The Niagara Frontier Plein Air Painters, hosted by painter Carol Mathewson of Youngstown met at the park this month, so I chose the same composition. 

Comparing the two paintings, it is not evident that they were painted a few years apart, instead, it becomes obvious that they were done at different times of the day. This is a morning painting, while the other was made in the afternoon, reversing all the lights & shadows!

The difference that I notice is I can now attack a composition, lay in local colors confidently & block in shapes to start faster. This is definitely a result of practical experience, many days have been lost to changing light & capricious weather. The 2nd difference is the view-lots of vines & shrubs have grown into the public  viewing area. I  admit to having pulled aside several yards of Virginia Creeper in order to see the gorge-and I was standing along the viewing rail.

 Whirlpool Bridge from Whirlpool pastel 18x12

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grand Island Happenings

I joined our Grand Island Chamber of Commerce this year, & also exhibited with their 'Grand Island Happenings' showcase event, which included 'KidBiz', Jim Sharpe's brainchild for GI youth. There were games, artists, food vendors & services in KidBiz-all by youngsters. Quite impressive. 

Over on the 'old people's' side of the park, there were opportunities for eating as well as three rows of tents representing GI businesses, including mine. We left the walls off & had lots of fresh air & visitors. I participated in this exhibit two years ago & had a nice day then. That was the first time with a new tent, but we are very efficient & fast now.

American Falls painting-the wettest

10,000 cubic feet a second at the American Falls? This Niagara oil was painted in Fall, but I have certainly taken my time to re-photograph it. As you look at water right after the brink of the American Falls, you see that there are areas where the water hits rocks on the way down, creating new cascades.

I chose to re-publish this picture to celebrate summer. It was painted on a summer-like day, which hasn't happened often this year. Mid July, & I thought about wearing socks with my jeans today. What's wrong with that? Well, I usually put my jeans away for a few months to wear shorts & bare feet.

It was bright enough to take pictures this morning-& not windy, so I think the final two paintings can be laid out for the 2010 calendar. I had shot them a few times before, but the late day light is too warm, & the early day was too blue! I'd rather have them right in the camera than adjust colors afterwards for printing. I really miss the camera, umbrellas & strobe set-up for taking photos I once had in my Niagara Falls High School classroom. But that's all.
Steps of Niagara, oil 16x20, 2008

Friday, July 3, 2009

Father Louis Hennepin, O.F.M.

There is a great boulder north of the Rainbow bridge. It has a bronze marker stating that Father Louis Hennepin probably stood near in 1679 to view the Falls. He was supposedly the first European to see the cataracts & artists have recorded paintings of him standing in various places, but never there. It is a mile or so to the Horseshoe Falls  from that big rock, as the seagulls fly-if they flew straight.
It happens to be the place I set up my easel & selected this tiny corner of my panoramic view. It is the edge of the Canadian Table Rock section, the mist was not filling the gorge  much, so I had a great view & a lovely morning in the park. Remember, this was a mile distant, so my eyes had a great workout!
'Father Hennepin Stood Here' 9.5 x 15.5, pastel 2009

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pure serendipity day

Everyone in our neighborhood decided to yard sale the same weekend, so I carted out the odds & ends I had been saving on purpose. After the initial flurry of checking arrangements & price tags on the driveway on Saturday, I set up an easel & painted part of the porch from under my sun umbrella. I was totally into the picture, but people kept handing me money instead of walking off with the goodies. After two days, I packed my car with leftovers & donated them to the Hiawatha Manor in Niagara Falls, NY. When I returned, I collected some more useful things & put them away for the next yard sale event.

 This was the ultimate multi-tasking experience, because I was able to clean under the basement stairs & some of the garage, chat with neighbors, paint my pansies & clematis before the blooms were done & also spend a lovely Saturday out front.
NoEarlybirds, pastel 11.5 x 15.5  2009