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.