Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Filling sketchbooks, one story at a time.

Urban Sketching, virtual travel, watercolor and ink

I like to use art supplies and my brain. I don't need to make oil paintings or pastels, I just need to draw to satisfy myself. As a member of Buffalo Urban Sketchers we find ourselves limited by Covid to not being in a lobby or cafeteria to draw. Like the rest of the world, we have started Zooming together and our first Virtual Field Trip was to Acadia National Park in Maine. This is Jordan Park Trail which is familiar to Acadia visitors. I used Google maps to explore the park and choose this site.

artist nutcracker, small painted drawing, Kath Schifano

A little bit of Christmas in my studio inspired this. My big artist nutcracker and a fake tree were joined by a poinsettia and some garland to make me feel festive in a time when no visitors or parties were on my horizon. This is a good candidate for a future Christmas card. 

I have a painting of the poinsettia that I keep fiddling with, changing the direction of light, the background and also the color of the plant and its leaves. There is a pile of paint building up but experimenting is allowed at all times. I don't paint for business, I paint for myself and my soul. The plant continues to thrives on my good studio juju.

Monday, February 8, 2021

Practice for A Midwinter NIght's Draw

This is NOT the Hallwalls painting to be auctioned from Hallwalls in Buffalo at the end of the month but it is the practice painting I did to measure my time. This is a bit smaller and a slightly different view but it sure is similar! Trying the painting in advance helped me prepare for the official film for the event.

I will post the auction painting when the auction opens February 24, until then, all the artist's pictures are out of sight. But this one is available now.

Niagara Falls, pastel waterfall, bottom of the falls
Morning Cataract, 12x16 pastel c. 2021
Here is the final donated painting.

I hope I am informed about the buyer, there were 11 bids on this before closing Sunday night.

Hallwalls MidWinter's Draw

 I was invited to film (on Zoom) a timed 45 minute painting. It is for Hallwalls annual fundraiser. I've attended the drawing rallies the past, an event with lovely food and drinks and dozens of artists working while we watch. After 45 minutes the works are posted for auction and new artists take their places. At the end of the evening the winning bidders take their art home. 

The 2020 summer event was held online and bidders had several days to view videos of artists producing their art and to bid. It allowed for a wider audience than when people had attended the events. This "Winter Night"s Draw" will also be a virtual experience with several days to view online before the bidding ends.  Bidding will be February 24, 7pm and close on February 28 9pm.

I am THRILLED to have been invited and be a part of this annual event.

Here is a smidgen of the my work. It's a good one, bid high.

Friday, February 5, 2021

Reading Alla Prima by Richard Schmid

I found a link to Alla Prima II by Richard Schmid that I could download and read online as a pdf. This book in 3-D is a valued reference and frequently resourced by artists but I didn’t own it. I would like to hold the real book, to investigate the many color reproductions and flip back and forth to the footnotes and resources. Although I usually read library books online, this pdf didn’t change pages easily and is presented as one single long document, not as book pages. It’s a big book to read this way.

The copy I had didn’t have good color reproduction but I was thrilled to read Schmid's philosophy and approach at a time I needed to start thinking deeply about my work. The spontaneity of his brushstrokes are an illusion. Each stroke is planned and purposeful, each value is carefully measured to the adjoining ones. 

Classic cars committed to canvas

Mobil gas station, classic car painting
Nearly finished

My assignment was to use individual color reference photos of two cars, combine them with another image of an old building and make it into a realistic oil painting. What’s involved? Considering the scale of the different items, their angle of view has to match, and shadows and light were corrected and accurate for each part. With help from Carl and photoshop the composition was adjusted and established and I enlarged the plan to a 16x20 canvas. Normally, I paint on the entire canvas at the same time-for example in a landscape, a bit of blue paint from the sky lands in the water and on a flower or a shadow's edge. But these are cars so other than the chrome colors they were separate paintings. I did use touches of their colors throughout but that was a forced practice. There is the merest suggestion of one reflecting color onto the other.

This commission from a 2nd cousin is headed to Georgia. I believe it was Facebook that allowed us to be reunited online after many years. We had several phone conversations about the details of these cars, our mutual relatives and parents and memories of being kids. 

Knowing what is important to a client helps a commission become successful. The convertible was restored by him and had belonged to his parents. I chose a WNY sky on a bright day, using cloud shapes to draw you into the composition and mirror the car angles.  It was a welcome challenge to paint summer light as winter closed in and Covid lockdowns were cancelling our holiday plans. Fortunately for my sanity (painting keeps me sane) it took more than a month, not constantly painting but evaluating, doing research and correcting. This was a first for me, I’m usually attracted to rusty tractors and barn equipment en plein aire. It was a pleasure to do and I’ve enjoyed having it nearby and 'watching the paint dry' before shipping the painting.

Bill Farrington, classic cars, commission art, competition orange
Ready for shipping

"Where's the Key" 16x20 oil c. 2021

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Published in ‘Outdoor Painter’-Again!

An article about various kinds of plein air equipment by artists from all over includes a photo of me with my Guerrilla box, painting in a sunflower field in Sanborn. I am so pleased to be in the company of 'name brand' artists from all over the world in this international art magazine.

My box holds all my equipment as well as the finished wet painting. All I need to add is a tripod and my lunch. I have purchased several different size setups from them and am happy with each one.
 Click the link to see various easels and setups that Plein air painters use. I’m the one in the sunflower field. 🌞

Summer Memories

Perhaps the nicest day since the pandemic began was an opportunity to attend live music by Sharon Bailey and the X-Statics in Youngstown. Just a small, well spread out group, sunshine and great music. 

A value study of the inside of the barn behind a musician.
Ric and Sharon with Bob on drums.
Did I mention it was perfectly lovely there?

 A view from my front row seat. (There was only one row, lined up against a fence, just a few in this audience.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Sing along time

An Ode to Plein Air Painting
(to the tune of "My Favorite Things")

By Casey Cheuvront

Sunshine on water and shadows on rushes,
New RayMar panels and Rosemary brushes,
All of the insights a good workshop brings -

These are a few of my favorite things.

Finding the right trail when GPS fails you;
Hiking in though there's a storm that assails you.
Finding that one view that makes your heart spring -

These are a few of my favorite things.

Cadmium Orange and fresh tubes of yellow,
Chatting with hikers who stop to say "Hello",
How good it feels when your painting just sings -

These are a few of my favorite things.

When the cap sticks,
When the rig falls,
When the weather's bad -
I simply remember my favorite things,

And then I don't feel
so bad!