Sunday, March 30, 2014

Plein Air Camp Hill Art Festival

These photos may look a bit busy or hectic, but I believe they are from the final day last May at the  Camp Hill Plein Air Art Festival near Harrisburg, PA, and most likely the judging for QuickDraw, a timed outdoor event. That involves artists painting within a designated area for a block of time, perhaps two hours, to create a painting from life, frame it and return to the display area. These works are usually a lot of fun, very fresh and never overworked.

I pulled these photos off their website, as I am selected as one of 45 artists for the week long event, and I am thrilled to be included. Selection involves an application fee, a set of recent plein air paintings and bio information and waiting a long time for the judges' decisions. This 5th year celebration includes activities for the whole town, including paintouts and a scavenger hunt for kids as well as the professional artist component. Friday night's gallery opening is a gala collector's preview and awards with a public reception for paintings displayed on Saturday and Sunday.

Time to buy a new hat.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Monica's Mists and her frame

Kathy Schifano, Niagara Falls painting
Started last winter, this sat unfinished, clipped to a huge backing board and behind the door, for months while my wrist healed. I took it out to finish and check my grip on the pastels and slowly built up final layers over two or three weeks. It is from a photo in my files that I took in early Spring, the light pink area is a huge mound of ice taking its time to melt; the water temperature was still low and there is a massive amount of ice built up from the mist.

The inspiration for the painting is a frame. And winter studio time. Right from the start I planned to give it to Monica for her birthday, it took about 6 extra months, but she has it now. I thought it was huge, but when I delivered it to her new Fillmore Street studio it seemed to shrink on the massive white walls. She planned on bringing it her home, where it will get big again.

The frame was originally Monica's, gold with a white mat and a reddish inner mat and fancy corner detail, so I had it a looong time before I found the right image of the Falls to suit the frame and the colors. I was also hampered by knowing what colors she lives with. Truly a backwards way to work is to start with a frame and make a painting suit it. This is my only painting that includes this much of the park area and both Falls.

Mounds of Mist 20x32, pastel

Saturday, March 8, 2014

A tiny portable paintbox works fine in the car.

plein air in a car, Niagara River, Iceboats, Kathy Schifano Years ago, I was given an old 'Beginners Paint Box' with some dried up paints. It had been purchased used at a garage sale for a dollar or so. It sat in my studio all this time, more as a memento of the person who gave it to me than as a useful art product.

Recently I was researching the purchase of an artist's pochade, which is a very useful travel box with lots of gadget type aspects. I had a few new sample paints, a couple of short brushes and a teeny jar for some medium and so I tried out this teeny box. The little plastic cap on the medium in the photo is smaller than a quarter. Altogether, the box is 6x9 and less than two inches tall so it fits under the car seat or in most purses. 

I painted this oil parked at Eagle Overlook on Grand Island, looking over towards Navy Island and the industry near Niagara Falls. I pushed my seat all the way back, leaned on the steering wheel, and propped it on the dashboard for a 'longer view'. With the sun shining the car stayed pretty warm, it was about 11 degrees out and two iceboats were consistently sweeping the ice away from the massive New York Power Authority intakes, seen on the right side.

I came home thrilled to have been painting outdoors, ready for this most frigid winter to end and Spring to bloom.

'Icebreakers on the Niagara' 5x7 oil on board

Painted Anthuriums

Botanical Gardens, plein air, floral painting  Can't wait to go paint outdoors? Join me on Thursday mornings in South Buffalo.

 Buffalo's Botanical Garden has the most amazing displays as the plants react to longer days and warmer sunlight. The cactus are pushing flowers, the koi are more active, orchids scream gorgeous and all the freshly trimmed trees are putting out new branches.

This set up is with my new Guerilla Painter artist box, it is so versatile and lightweight, my first use of it  here was a joy! I will write about it soon.

'Anthurium Spring' 9x12 oil c. K. Schifano