Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Change of Pace

This has been a different year, so far.  A good year, but different.

As promised in my last post, I continue onward and upward in the joyous journey called, My Life as an Artist.  It's a journey fraught with twists and blessed with surprises, and it hardly ever goes the way I plan.  I do my due diligence, don't get me wrong; flying by the seat of my pants has never been my forte, no matter what you've heard. 

So I have professionally ventured into plein air painting, having been an avid amateur for more than a decade.  Seeing the field from the field, competitively speaking, instead of from the studio window, has given me a new perspective and some interesting insights.  I was slated to write an article for Oil Painters of America this summer and thought it would be about color, but as I began tromping around en plein air, I came to realize that I had to write about something else.  So I did.
What happened next surprised me.

I was going to copy/paste the article for you here but it would be better for you to go to the OPA site, because the surprising thing happened in the responses.  If you scroll down to the Comments section under the article, you will see what I mean. 
Click here to see the Oil Painters of America article.

Then the next thing that happened was also unexpected: another magazine wanted to do an article on the article and the responses to it.
Click here to see the Outdoor Painter article.

The most conversation took place on Facebook though.  It was fun and a little scary to see it; scary because I felt like some people were thinking that I am against plein air events.  I am not; not at all!  I love them.  Fun because it is comforting to know that you are not alone when you find yourself in an unexpected place~ and I always have fun when there's a group of us!  And also rewarding, as I received several emails from people who said that they were about to hang up their paint brushes for good, but now felt like they had been given permission to stay in the field and explore their own art at their own pace. 
I'm reminded that we are on this journey together, contributing to the culture and the historical mark of our generation; to encourage each other on the path is a part of our job. 
I hope you enjoy the articles!  Feel free to add your two cents, and thank you for stopping by PYJ.

Shell Basket, a work in progress

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Great Outdoors!

I decided at the end of last year to spend this year really focusing on plein air painting.
My thinking was that I would only paint en plein air for a year, but events have conspired to convince me that what I should really do is just what I tell other people to do, which is: "Paint Your Joy!" 
And it is such a joy to paint the figure and objects of beauty, as well as the landscape.

Until this year, plein air painting has always and only been a great sport that I play with my friends. I've never been trained. When I decided to get serious about it, I signed up to study with two top-notch plein air painter-teachers: Ray Roberts and Jill Carver. Roberts' workshop was in the West's Most Western Town of Arizona, out in the desert, this February. Carver's was in the Cowboy Capital of the World in Texas, this March. I am a new person out there now; I cannot say enough about the skill and generosity of these two artists.

I am just freshly back from teaching my own workshop in the hill country and am preparing to go to the Oil Painters of America's national show, and this time I am really sticking my neck out. In addition to the big OPA show, there is a "City by the Sea" plein air competition. I've never done anything like that before. I'm going to do it. In the words of my son (who was 8 years old when he said them), "What's the worst that can happen? ...They can't kill me."

To prepare, I have been working very hard. I have just finished three books about designing landscape paintings, and with the workshops fresh in my mind, I've been painting out as much as is weatherically possible. (weatherically. adverb. 1a: with regard to weather <as much as is ~ possible --KS Carlton, 2015>...) These preparations have kept me from my blog post, but I am bound heart and soul to pass along the joyous journey, so back to my post I faithfully come.

I will share for now only my trip to Fairfield, TX, this week, where the wildflowers lend credence to the town's name.

After exploring a wide swath of beautiful landscape, I ended up painting in the median of I-45 at the Fairfield overpass. For the first time EVER in a roadside plein air stop, I did not have a single obnoxious honker. I attribute that to the presence of my husband, whose truck was pointed toward me as I painted, across the feeder from where I worked. It was grand and glorious, and while I have not yet shot a "real" photo of the finished work, I will attach what I do have for you. First, here's the work in progress:

The temptation was to really "get" the flowers, because they were beautiful and so paintable.
Instead, I applied my lessons and went for design and essence. The bluebonnets are still present but are hiding now under the new grasses; visible, peeking out here and there, with a strong presence in the shadow of the main tree. My motif was the flowers in front of the tree shadow. If I create a studio piece after this, I will bring out the flowers a little more. I have to tell you, I just love painting out in the open air. I love Texas and I hope this little 10x8 will bring some of what I love to you.

Thank you so much for stopping by PYJ. I'm dedicating this blog to my dear friend, Donna, who has been very patient with her MIA BFF, and to Lewis, who also has been very patient with his MIA MSP pal, and who encouraged me to post this blog.
I'll let you know what the next chapter held, once I find out.
Love, Kim.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Spring "Just Paint!" Workshop

This spring's Just Paint! workshop will be held in the brand new Spicewood Center for the Arts, in the beautiful hill country area near Austin. John and Patty Curtis will host the workshop and will answer all your questions about how to be a part of it!

We are planning to have a variety of workshops there in the future: portrait, still life, and plein air, as well as short-shops for color charting and other special skill-boosters. This time, I've invited students to bring their own source material; whatever they want to paint. It can be actual still life objects or photographs of anything that inspires them.
I have found that there are a lot of people who have great art inside them but are afraid or unsure of how to let it out. That ember of inspiration can either die or be fanned into a flame. I'm a flame-fanner, baby! If this is you, if you want to paint your vision but are stuck... bring me an ember of inspiration and we will start a bonfire of beauty that will let your joy be seen by the people it was meant for. Quiet all the other voices and listen to the still, small voice that whispers greatness for you: believe it! Do it! Just Paint!

If you missed this one, contact Kim ( or Patty ( to be added to the wait list for September's workshop.