Friday, April 21, 2017

Plein Air Spring

                                                              watercolor on yupo 12x9

 Who knows when we`d see the sun again? Every able bodied person went outside today if only for a moment. Sidewalks and parks got some use again. Knowing the forecast days ago, I arranged to paint outdoors with my pal Mitch.
We set up at Steven`s Meadow and took in the views. This lovely city park is just a vast field of grass open to the sky. We sat at the edge in the shadows and began painting the hedgerow in the distance. As popular as plein air painting has become, for me it is always awkward. It aways seems like a bad idea until I get enough paint on the surface of my paper. But the conversation is stimulating and without much conscious intent, something begins to form.
It was an afternoon well spent.

                                                           watermedia on paper 22x15

 This is from the mid-nineties soon after moving here. It was another sparkling April day in Washington Park.

 In the winter of 2015, once a month I did a demonstration painting in my studio on a Saturday morning. Anyone could come. I think I did six of them and then it began to feel like a complete ego trip. The master and his acolytes. However, I met some very nice people. Some of them went out of their way to help me in my recent ordeal. So I`m going to do it again on Saturday May 20, at 10am. If you think you`d like to come, please let me know. It seems 10 is about the most that can fit around my table and see. It`s a standing room situation and the floor is concrete. Not especially comfortable but the questions and conversation are always interesting. Lots of parking nearby and in my driveway.

5373 Lakeview Blvd
Lake Oswego OR 97035

 The Wonder Street Blog has a handy description of the major brands of oil paints being made. Give it a look if you`re considering oils. They sure are easier than watercolors but you need good ventilation.

                                                         mounting Yupo

I haven`t tried this technique of mounting Yupo yet but I`m going to. I`ve succeeded with small dimensions using a different method but failed spectacularly when I tried it with larger pieces. Air bubbles are the problem. An unglazed unframed watercolor that is 'stable' is a holy grail of the medium. Framing is expensive and laborious. Imagine finishing your masterpiece and just hanging it on the wall! [I would recommend a spray coat of UV protection acrylic varnish first however].
Here`s the dilemma with me; if I go to the trouble of mounting a fresh unpainted sheet of yupo, it then becomes too 'precious' to paint on. I think I`d choke up. But if I took a good completed painting and mounted it and it developed bubbles, I`d be really upset.
Is it just me or are most painters this neurotic?

                                           A beautiful painting by Bernd Haussmann.

                                                           photographer unknown


Libby Fife said...


No one is more neurotic than me, painter or not! I have a wall full of work that could be mounted. I have done two that turned out well. It took some coaxing to do it. What if I ruin the work. Really?

Your friend Mitch does some lovely work. Thank you for the link to his site. And of course, as always, I enjoy taking a close look at your color and brushstrokes. It's a treat.

I wish I was closer. Just having a quick look would be instructive.

Hope you are doing well.

E.M. Corsa said...

You have truly captured spring with this one. That is why I love plein air work - can't do that in a studio.

WonderStreet did a great article on watercolors too. Remind me when we next "talk" to tell you something about WonderStreet. You'll find it interesting.

RH Carpenter said...

I thought I'd left a comment on this - but, apparently, I just imagined it! Lovely painting - so fresh! Thanks for sharing all the post and the other artists PLUS that wonderful raven pet :). I had delays with getting Delayed Pollination to the framer until after the deck and then the resultant migraines and got it to him today :). It will look great and I'll share when it comes back to me. I hope you are enjoying spring and not slogging through mud and wet like we are here - today it's so windy you feel like you might just fly away! So much strange and bad weather so many places, including snow!! So glad there's no such thing as climate change and global warming :(