"Mrs. Norris' Root Cellar" Plein Air oil, 9" x 12"

“Mrs. Norris’ Root Cellar” Plein Air oil, 9″ x 12″

I’ve been painting up a storm lately. Tomorrow we head out to Meeker for the Plein Air Meeker competition. Its in conjunction with their “Range Call” which is Meeker’s way of celebrating July 4th.

"Rocks and Wyethia" Plein Air study, Oil

“Rocks and Wyethia” Plein Air study, Oil 6″ x 9″

I’ve have lots of studies from places around Paonia so I’m looking forward to the change of scenery and alpine vistas in the White River National Forest and Flat Top Wilderness area.

"Pipe Organ" Oil, 8" x 15" en Plein Air

“Pipe Organ” Oil, 8″ x 15″ en Plein Air

I did paint at the Colorado National Monument on Friday, so I had a change of scenery for a couple days. But this is yet another change. Stay tune for more posts about the week in Meeker! Although I don’t know how I’ll be able to compete with the Meeker Massacre Pageant, Meeker Bank Robbery Reenactment or Jon Wangnild Memorial Shoot. Painting versus shooting weapons and pretending to kill people? Hum? At any rate, I am leaving for Paonia before Range Call to join in my town’s own July 4th celebration, Cherry Days, which honors the first fruit of the season to be ripe. Yep, shooting people or eating cherry pie, eating lots of ripe sweet cherries and drinking hard cherry cider,  my choice is for the cherries.

Plein Air season 2017 is beginning!

Plein Air Painting view of Mt. Lamborn

I’ve been painting every day the last couple of weeks to get in shape for the upcoming Plein Air painting season. On the 26th, I leave for Meeker, CO and the Plein Air Meeker competition. In August its the Red Brick Plein Air Festival in Aspen, CO.

I’m getting ready and will get my hat on, bug spray applied and set up my easel and umbrella and paint away!

Plein Air painting right near my house

Follow me on Instagram at Plein Air Cedar for the the latest news.

Alternative Exhibition Space

Q: When is a tattoo parlor an Art Gallery?
A: When its an empty retail space in Paonia.

The front from the street

The entire storefront from the street.

The former tattoo parlor at 237 Grand Ave has been unoccupied for a while as are several other retail locations in our town’s two block downtown. They look like missing teeth from an otherwise beautiful smile. I approached the property owner and requested permission to hang some of my paintings in the front window until he rents the space. He graciously said yes to my idea of an alternative exhibition space. I got this idea from my friend Charlie when he told me what the town of Helper, UT did to its vacant storefronts.

Right side of the storefront.

Right side of the storefront.

I didn’t want to overstep any boundaries so I decided not to use any electricity for lighting. The front windows are west facing and pretty bright. I measured and graphed out the window space to display my paintings. I framed lots of really good ones. Allen & I got the supplies we needed to hang them with minimal expense and work. Then we set to work putting up the exhibit.

Left side of the storefront.

Left side of the storefront.

I am glad to have my paintings up and able to be viewed by lots of people. Paonia is a busy little town and people were walking by as we were hanging the paintings. I also hope to sell some of the paintings as every artist wants to be able to pay for their supplies sooner than later. I am happy that people will be able to understand what I do all day when they walk by and see the products of my labor of love. And my paintings are a lot happier being in the light than wrapped up in the “Vault” (that is what we jokingly call the shelves in the garage where I store art).

Left side window.

Left side window.

So stop by when you are in Paonia to 237 Grand Avenue and take a look at some of my paintings. You can go across the street to the Blue Sage Center for the Arts after next week and see a couple more of my paintings. I also have 2 in Grand Junction at the Art Center there. I hope to be hearing from some of you soon!

Right side window.

Right side window.

DIY workshop “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern

I have started a new self-improvement project. I am going through the exercises in a book recommended to me by Jill Soukup called “How to See Color and Paint it” by Arthur Stern.

I started by reading the whole book. Then I set about to get all the things I needed to go through the book and do the exercises. That involved buying paints and canvas paper, constructing a little set-up box, buying a few inexpensive supplies and making some shapes. I also had to dig around in my cabinets for things to go in the still life set-ups.
I look at it like attending a workshop, only the instructor is the book and there are not any other students. I am glad I can muster the discipline to follow through with projects like these. Of course I do like to take a break and get on a mule for an afternoon, too.

Me on Foley, its cold out but not too bad.

Me on Foley, its cold out but not too bad.

Each exercise involves painting a set up in the three-sided box. In each exercise you do either 1, 2 or 3 “statements” for each painting. Statement 1 is just flat planes of color in general. Statement 2 expands on that and adds a few more areas of color within Statement 1. Statement 3 involves finding many patches of color to paint. The paintings are exercises and not “masterpieces”. Use of a palette knife instead of brushes makes it a bit more challenging, especially since my palette knives have seen better days but I didn’t want to get new ones because I basically forgot to get them when I got the student grade oil paint. Palette knife use also is there to keep me from blending the colors. Which happens anyhow, some how I just am a bit messy with the edges of things.

The very first exercise I did in this book was to make a color chart. Its a lot like the color charts that Richard Schmid has in his book, Alla Prima. But no where as complex. So I was up for that!

Here is my color chart.

Here is my color chart.

Below is one page from Schmid’s book:

 

 

Sketches are the bones of painting

Sketches are the structure on which I base almost all of my paintings.

Wild Horse Crossing Campground

Wild Horse Crossing Campground

I love to do sketches, even if they are tiny small thumbnail ones, of a painting before I begin.

Moses Lake baseball field, WA

Moses Lake baseball field, WA

So I sketch a lot.

Big Southern Butte, from Crators of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

Big Southern Butte, from Crators of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

I’ve included some sketches I did while on our trip through 5 states earlier this month.

Firehold Canyon Campground view, Flaming Gorge, WY

Firehold Canyon Campground view, Flaming Gorge, WY

Painting gets in a show: San Xavier in Tubac

St Xavier, en Plein Air Oil, 8" x 10"

St Xavier, en Plein Air Oil, 8″ x 10″

San Xavier (A-Vear) is a mission south of Tucson, AZ.  Ansel Adams made it famous in his photos he did mid 20th century. I painted it en Plein Air when I was at the Plein Air conference in April 2016. It has been accepted to the exhibition: “Wish You Were Here”. It is a national juried exhibit of art that focuses on Southwestern Arizona. The show opens July 29 through August 28, 2016.

 

Showing unfinished paintings: To do or not to do

I know some artists who don’t like the public to see their unfinished works. Its supposed to convey a sense of professionalism to only display the finest and finished products and leave the public in a state of mysterious awe and wonderment. But I like for people to follow the drama, work, soul and transformation that a painting goes through before the artist (me) deems it complete.

In that vein of thought, I am showing a couple of my unfinished paintings I did while on my plein air slash camping trip through Nevada, Oregon, Washington, back through Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming and finally back in Colorado. The first one is a little creek, Clear Creek, in the Malhuer National Forest. It was along a road to a state park. Weather was clear and temps were mild, perfect!

The next one is of Silver Peak just north of Ketchum near Easely hot springs. Again a great day, slight breeze, cool temps, sunny with some fluffy clouds chasing by. Enjoy!

Clear Creek, work in progress

Clear Creek, work in progress

Silver Peak, work in progress

Silver Peak, work in progress

 

Plein Air Painting Trip Part 9: Craters of the Moon National Monument

Cone at Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID.

Cone at Craters of the Moon National Monument, ID.

After 4 days of cool temperatures, no wind and nights sleeping in the back of the truck in upper 30’s temperatures, we had a change of everything. We drove about 70 miles southeast to Craters of the Moon National Monument near Arco, Idaho. It was over 90° and windy.

Lava tower

Lava tower

Lava tower

Lava tower

We hiked around the lava and cinder cones and checked out the view. We even saw a horse pulled wagon along the road as its part of the Oregon Trail. Someone was reliving the past!

On the Oregon Trail in Idaho by Craters of the Moon National Monument.

On the Oregon Trail in Idaho by Craters of the Moon National Monument.

We checked out the lava tube caves and I sketched an extinct cone and lava fields in the broiling sun and wind. Allen & Tova were under a limber pine at a picnic table enjoying themselves.

Lava craters

Lava craters

Plein Air Painting Trip Part 7: Plein Air painting in Idaho

Hiking out along the Harriman Trail near Easely Creek, ID.

Hiking out along the Harriman Trail near Easely Creek, ID.

The day after we got together with the McKelvy family, I got to do some painting! Tova and I hiked out into a field with a great view of Silver Peak.

Me, painting Silver Peak

Me, painting Silver Peak

Almost finished!

Almost finished!

Tova has a certain distinct style of assisting me when I’m painting. I am documenting it.

Tova, en Plein Air assistant!

Tova, en Plein Air assistant!

Plein Air Painting Trip Part 6: Going to the Sawtooths in Idaho

Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho.

Redfish Lake in the Sawtooth mountains in Idaho.

After Wenatchee, we drove on through Baker City, OR. The next day we drove through Boise, ID to meet up with our friends, the McKelvy family, in Easely, OR. Sue is my best friend and fellow plein air painter. We didn’t have time to paint at all as a large family gathering was taking place: We were scattering her mother and father’s ashes around the family summer cabin they owned over 30 years ago.

The view from the Visitor's Center at Redfish Lake, ID

The view from the Visitor’s Center at Redfish Lake, ID

Afterwards we all drove over to Redfish Lake. What a beautiful spot! Sue & I lamented our lack of Plein Air time but we took a lot of photos. The view of the Sawtooth Range from just over Galena Summit was breathtaking.

The Sawtooth Range in Idaho.

The Sawtooth Range in Idaho.