Friday, May 25, 2012

Hazards of plein air

I painted yesterday at the yacht club in the shade of a docked sailboat. A worker inside attached the boat battery and the auto-bilge kicked on and dumped a winters worth of antifreeze, diesel and fungi on me, my painting and easel. Fortunately I moved before it started pumping the rest of it. Stinky, and the guys there will have a funny story for years to come. (they were very apologetic to me, but I can hear them laughing in the future anyway). My painting has interesting waterproof speckles, not sure if I will keep it.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Niagara River Paintings

I just posted 13 new paintings on Facebook, linked HERE, it has been a wonderful Spring for painting as my painting friends seemed to have scheduled all the nice days.

These two were painted by inspiration. I usually carry my plein air supplies in the car, even when I transport passengers and luggage there is a tiny watercolor set ready to capture the moment.

I had run my Niagara Falls errands when the 'big magnet at the Falls' lured my car there...for just a Spring peek. It turned into a long afternoon on a bench and I am so glad I went. It seems like I paint this scene every year but it looks different every time. The bushes and trees on the islands had not filled in yet and I could see between them.

Buckhorn marsh is a lonely place to paint, in fact Spring is probably the best time to go, I can see so much further without trees full of leaves. I knew it would have more people exploring on this fine warm Spring day so I felt safe and headed out for the afternoon. The combination of warm air and cool water created a soft mist on the river, I could barely see the Skylon tower or tall buildings. Although some bushes have sprouted, the cattails and marsh grasses are still asleep.

Interrupted by Spring-the Curve, 12x16, pastel c. 2012
Buckhorn's Island Bridge 4x6, oil c. 2012

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My most recent art show!

 Burchfield Penney Art Center invited area member artists to display their creative art work, naming the show 'Artists Among Us'. 669 responded to the call for work and a great opening night on May 18th featured crowds of artists and guests from one end of the huge building to another. Both Carl and I are included in this show, due to stay at the museum for a few months.

I took the pictures before we found our pictures, my tall vertical composition 'Shadow on the Pulpit' is nearly visible in the second photo bottom right, next to the portrait. Carl's digital collage, 'The Path' is right around the corner attracting a large crowd of admirers!
K. Schifano 'Shadow on the Pulpit'

Monday, May 14, 2012

Titan Arum Flower at Niagara Parks, Canada

Kath Schifano painting the Titan Arum background
On May 4, I drove to Niagara Parks Floral Showhouse in Ontario, Canada, to sketch the giant Titan Arum that was about to bloom. It is commonly called a 'Corpse Plant' because while it blooms it smells like rotten meat to attract insects. There were tables nearby, so I sat with my travel watercolor set and visited the wonderful bulb, observing some of its expansion and swelling as I opened later that evening and the giant stinky bloom lasted just the next day. Painting, I was able to watch the ribs expand, showing more red undercolor by the time I left. There is a second bulb behind it which will open soon and has been moved to the front. They have a wonderful step by step blog with photos here, the first one reached 95" in height. It was on the news so many visitors came in while I was working, sometimes I had to wait until the crowd thinned to see the flower. Placing the man taking a photo with his phone was so easy, as he walked away, another came to look and take the same photo.

One of the nice things about the Floral Showhouse is the resident birds, they have hidden birdhouses indoors and there are many songbirds of various colors for entertainment, at first I thought it was a recording. My two photos are only 30 minutes apart, look carefully and see how the base is expanded in the second photo. I probably missed the opening by only 2-3 hours, but I plan to return for the second one. These are very rare, the 150 pound bulb was planted in January and grew a few inches each day. If you choose to go, it is just upriver from the Horseshoe Falls, near Dufferin Islands, not at the floral clock or butterfly conservatory.
Kath Schifano, photo