Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Channeling Magritte?

Saturday isn't my favorite day to paint because it interferes with my morning yoga class. This Saturday paintout was in Niagara Falls, Ontario, with Jacq Baldini and Kathryn McMahon. We had been trying to get together to paint for a few years, and this was a perfect day. I had never been to this Canadian overlook as a tourist or a painter, it is the terminus of the Spanish aerocar which crosses over the Whirlpool rapids.

When I stood back to evaluate my painting the sun seemed to blind me but I realized that the setup of my easel and the view were in pretty good alignment. Looking into the iPhone view window to take a photograph the image it was nearly impossible to see in the sunlight.  I seemed to have done a pretty good job of matching the shapes. THis was a good reason and a good day to skip yoga class.

A recent series of end of year paintings have evolved into realism, this is an example. Close up, the painting has a lot of abstract areas but it sure matches the scenery in the photo on the easel.
Kathy Schifano, river painting, Autumn Niagara
Whirlpool from Ontario 12x16 oil on birch

Friday, October 9, 2015

American Falls from the base

Going back to this site, if I could reproduce the day, I would make my 30 seconds of video quite different. Alas, this is what I did, and here are the two paintings, still wet, that I completed at the base of the American Falls.

My year has been good for painting, although I have thought my work would be a bit more abstract by the end of this season, realism creeps back in by itself. I call myself a Realistic Impressionist.

WIth friends in town to ride the Maid of the Mist I paid my $1 to go down the overlook elevator and set up beyond some massive boulders while they appreciated the park. These garage size rocks stopped most of the mist from landing on my palette. Although some mist doesn't particularly affect the picture, if enough gets on the painting the brush starts to slide and paint will not stick. It only took a moment to decide to omit the staircase and tourists in blue plastic raincoats who can climb to meet the water. It seems that leaving out the manmade structures is usually my first reaction in nature. They just would have been tiny bits of brilliant blue slapped onto the cliff edge, this waterfall is respectfully massive, dwarfing all scale references.
Looking up at the American Falls, Morning light 8x10 oil

Looking up at the American Falls, Afternoon light 12x16 oil
That's my umbrella, and I am standing back to check my painting from a distance. Photo from the cliff above by Darice Lang.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Buffalo's China Light

Buffalo marina, k Schifano

I have been here before and I have painted the lighthouse several times. It is the China light lighthouse in the canalside area of Buffalo. The shape is the same. the horizon is the only item in the view other than the lighthouse, yet each painting captures another day, another weather, a different sky. In particular, this does not have a light in the beacon area, nor is there glass. The giant lamp was being retrofitted to have a light, but not to be a marker for ships in the lake. It no longer correctly marks the Buffalo harbor on ship maps, there are smaller buoys to mark channels and safe areas.

The day after I painted it, the lamp and windows were returned to the top. I had considered going back to paint the new top but have decided that my plein air painting captured a particular moment.

'A Day Before the Light' 16x12 oil on birch