Friday, September 28, 2012

Flying wet painting

The Towpath Plein air weekend paintout was held in Tonawanda and North Tonawanda, in the area of the Erie Canal. My painting named 'Morning Canal',was donated to Partners in Art Gallery for the Carnegie Art Center fundraiser, and was sold. Making the spirit of painting work, by supporting local projects is a goal to keep in mind.

The day this was painted was fairly windy and I often put my hand up to keep the easel steady in the gusts. Frequently, we step back from our work to see how it is progressing, one of those times it took off in a gust, tumbling end over end like a miscast frisbee and landing about 10 feet away, 'butter side' down on the lawn. A boater, watching just below me on the dock stood frozen with two hands up to her face as she watched it take off, muttering loudly, 'ooooh, ohhhh'. To me, it was just another plein air event to deal with and the painting bears some evidence of its adventure, a little dirt and some grass lines that add to the honesty of the art. I suppose if I was painting a bit closer to the canal I would have learned whether old wood houses can float.

Morning Canal, 10x8, oil, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Youngstown Yacht Club mishap

Kathy Schifano, Kath, Yellow Truck at Youngstown Yacht Club
There is a good reason I did not post this picture when I painted it last Spring.

Annually, there are opportunities to paint near the yacht club, this time we went when the yard was full of owners painting boat bottoms, sprucing up woodwork and boats being lowered into the river. I had previously painted a wonderful pastel of a sailboat in progress (sold) and was interested in staying in the shade to paint this time. I chose a cool shady spot near a large sailboat that was a long way from being ready to sail, there were drop cloths and tools around it, a ladder against the side and it was fully up on blocks from winter storage.

The truck painting was nearly finished after lunchtime, the two different yellows of the frame and the old chassis had been fun to paint. There were also several boats painted in the water, moored on the anchored buoy balls, but I removed them as they seemed distracting in the composition. As I touched up the water, a huge amount of foul liquid poured over me and my easel, I was sure someone on board my shading boat had dumped a bucket over the rail. I heard a gurgle and grabbed my easel to the side as more water shot out the bilge hole in the side of the boat, filthy water that had sat in the bottom of the boat all winter, including mold, grease, bugs and antifreeze, the same garbage that had been ejected onto me. Apparently the battery was just attached and the bilge pumps itself automatically with power. Realizing the extent of the filth..and the smell...I scrubbed myself in Carol Mathewson's studio, fortunately the nicest best supplied washing area we had ever painted near.

The painting did not fare as well. The grease sat on the surface while the water ran off easily. It took me a long time to clean and repair the painting and I cannot verify it as quality materials or archival supplies. But at least now I can laugh about it.

Yellow Truck at RCYC. oil on board 8x10 2012

Roswell Park Paintout Weekend

 Roswell Park's plein air weekend started with rain so I found an overhang with a view and donated this 14x11, titled 'Cheese Truck Lunch'. Note the yellow truck! Of all the fun food trucks in Buffalo, I least expected the cheese truck to spend the day at the hospital entrance. I was also attracted to the flagpole and the reflection of the flag in the window as well as the blue street signs, neither of which show up well in the photograph.

The painting was donated to Roswell along with a second painting of their Black Eyed Susans in the garden, painted on the second day. I love to paint, but the studio can get pretty crowded with a sreason of wet oil paintings spread out to dry on every surface, so this is a perfect solution. Go paint, enjoy the day outside with my easel, and leave it to be sold and raise funds for Cancer Research. 

Cheese Truck Lunch, oil, 11x14 2012

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Storm Surf Oil Painting

ocean painting
Waves arrive in sets of three and bunches of nine, and it is easiest to see this when they are big. One night we had some rain, but the real storm stayed at sea, churning the water and sending great surf water onto the beaches. Surfers watch and count these waves and in Long Beach and Atlantic Beach different areas are reserved for surfers each week. You cannot see any surfers in this tiny reproduction, they would have been all over this painting if this was a surfing beach that week.

I painted this early, while the storm clouds were still visible, rolling out to the southeast. By the time I finished, they were just spots on the horizon and the sun was burning off the mist and haze. The waves stayed rough for most of the day and most of the swimmers stayed close to shore, playing in the surf where it was shallow.
Morning After the Storm, 11x14 oil 2012

Jetties at Long Beach, Long Island

ocean painting
Another glorious week spent at Long Beach, New York allowed me to continue studying the jetty at Ohio Street. It changes with the tides and the light, the time of day and the pounding surf. Waves come in faster as high tide approaches and recede faster when the tide goes out. As the powerful salt water reaches the edge of the jetty the sand swirls around and over the rocks, it covers and exposes them in a new way each day. The beach and sand is higher on the east side of all the jetties, lower on the west. To this day, the value of jetties to reduce beach and land erosion has not been determined or proven.
Ocean painting, jettyLast month I was intrigued by the waves crashing on the furthest rocks, making giant rooster tails that twisted and reversed as they crashed onto other rocks or back into the sea. This visit found me exploring in paint the inside end that you see here. These sites are both painted at the same location from a little different angle and different times of day. Morning sun lights up the algae and grasses and water, but an overcast sky softens those colors in the second picture.  Various rocks are covered and uncovered by sand each day as seagulls and sandpipers scavenge and flit about the shore.

Incoming Tide, oil 8x10 2012
LowTide Jetty, oil 8x10 2012