Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Buffalo Botanical Gardens Waterfall

'The Palm Room' is the central domed rotunda at the gardens; through the years we have watched various palms reach the 60-70? foot high ceiling. Some have been replaced, others trimmed, but every time I enter that beautiful space, even when it is for consecutive weeks of painting, the room is different. Flowers are moved around for seasons, lemons grow from white buds, displays are rearranged. This winter, a new feature is a lovely waterfall near the center, a peaceful moment right where people converge from four directions.

The first is a photograph of the site, followed by an underpainting and then a picture of the nearly completed painting.

A week later, daffodils, hyacinth and majestic tulips surrounded and covered the rocks, making this little painting a true moment of that particular time.

Tinkling Waters, oil 7x5 c. 2014
plein air art

Kath Schifano, greenhouse painting, waterfall art

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Baehre Swamp in Amherst

Kathy Schifano, Margaret Louise Park, Plein Air
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Call it Great Baehre Swamp or Margaret Louise Park, this was a great place to officially start the plein air club season. We came early last year also, but the geese had paired, green was everywhere and frogs were sunning. It was eerily quiet this time, except for a single pair of geese practicing their water landings and the regular walkers getting exercise, the day was gray.

I chose a spot at the beginning of the raised wood walkway, intrigued by the amount of ice that remained in the pond.  I am sure it was merely an inch or so, melting furiously to make way for sun and reflections.

Once I got going this painting went quickly, as it is quite small. I am sure that the buds on the trees in the distance expanded during the time I was painting. A day or two later and there will be green here, the ice will be gone.

Interesting -I searched the former name 'Margaret Louise Park' to create a link and one of my paintings from a previous year here came up first in Google images.

Spring Melt, oil on canvas panel, 6x6

Thursday, April 17, 2014

April Snow

Kath Schifano, Grand Island painting, Spring snow
I planned to paint outdoors, but the weather report was gloomy. Waking to white stuff falling isn't high on my list in April. There was not much snow and it melted quickly as the ground had warmed already. Snow only remained on the tops of the evergreens and on horizontal branches. I took a photo out the back, ate, and realized I should paint from indoors. Carpe diem.

 The woods glowed silver with iced mist. My new birch panels were ready to go, three coats of gesso and sanded. As I prepared to paint, it warmed outside and the scene changed, snow melted and large drips from tree branches kept the surface of standing water flickering. Now that I have tried it this birch painting surface is my new favorite.

I painted our garden rock wall far to the left of the big pine in this photograph, but I included this photo to show the magical effect of icing in the wetlands and snow on our half grown evergreens.

April Snow, oil on birch panel, 8x10

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sharing an International Plein Air Painters post

 This works for me. Returning from painting outdoors, as I tired as I may be from lugging equipment, climbing, getting buggy and bit, I still have joy filling my soul. Painting where wildlife accepts my presence and acts naturally, and I can hear ferns uncurl, plants pushing up dried leaves, birds hopping, well, nothing is better for my self.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

New plein air frames

I usually order my frames custom sized from a wholesale frame company, but I couldn't resist these plein air frames and birch panels from Blick, all on sale and delivered to my door. Now I am ready for the Camp Hill Plein Air week. I am expected to paint on location, and return several finished paintings, framed and wired for the awards judge and display for the public exhibition.

For two days I gessoed the panels, with white on the 'back' and two coats of clear on the front. They may need a third coat and a light sanding, but this gesso brush hand is on hiatus for a while.

Often people ask how long a painting takes...does the answer include all this prep time, the travel, packing materials and the sketches? Or is the real answer 30 years?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Car Painting

painting in the car, Goat Island, Schifano

rapid start, Kathy Schifano, Niagara River painting
Too chilly to paint outside, this view of Goat Island from the parkway was a comfortable afternoon paint 'in'. You can see Goat Island and where the river splits to tumble down the two falls at Niagara.

 Sitting in my car, the new Guerilla Painter French Resistance Box works perfectly from the front seat. With my french easel, I need to paint out the back deck, protected from the wind, but not quite as comfortable or warm. I may never go back to it again.

'Rapid Split' 6x6 oil from the front seat