Sunday, November 22, 2009

Getting on with the Blog.

Although I haven't been blogging here I'm still working and working hard. We had the opening reception of our " A Splash of Tuscany" show on Friday Nov. 20th 2009. All eleven artists who went on our Plein Air painting trip to Tuscany showed their lovely work. Please see the website section for the 5800 Gallery for a link to the show. It will hang until Dec. 18th, 2009.

I have 5 works from Tuscany hanging in the show, one that was half completed on the trip and 3 additions that were studio works from sketches and photos taken on the trip. Being the only pencil artist on the trip (4 oil painters, one photographer, and 6 watercolorists) I was at a disadvantage since my method of working and style of colored pencil work is so slow. I always knew I was a studio artist at heart but I needed to stretch my comfort zone like all growing artists should do. I have vowed to continue my plein air adventures. Even though my initial posts here were to document the trip and my efforts, internet access became my most difficult barrier to doing so. So to recover from my lack of presence on this blog here goes, a little belated though they may be.

What I learned on this fabulous trip:

1. Keeping a daily Travel Diary of the trip has proved to be an invaluable tool for remembering where and what we saw of note each day along with my sketchbook. Some days were so full of travel not much was drawn. So the diary has allowed me to put a location to the date my photos were taken. And with near 1,000 photos to document the trip you can see how this helps.

2. Being present with my artists mind absorbing color, composition, atmosphere, light became an important aspect of translating my sketchbook notes and photos. Since my photography skills are growing along with my artist skills, being able to recall the day and my artistic impressions helped me to recreate the scenes I have worked on so far. Seeing what the camera couldn't relay accurately and being able to change the photo to reflect the day became so important.

3. Packing for the trip: Or should I say overpacking for the trip. Don't do it. Unless your going to hold up in your room at night and use all that stuff! Look for an updated list here for what I would take next time. (I'll post it soon) I found that my lack of speed in drawing plein air hindered how much I really needed during the drawing sessions. And a hat is a must, even if you look bad in hats as I do.

4. Observing other media painters in the field helps an inexperienced landscape painter know where to start. Even though I thought that I had worked that out in advance. I did learn a few things.

5. Your never going to see those pedestrians again so don't be shy if they look over your shoulder and try to ignore them or you'll never get anything done!

6. Most artists have messy sketches when working plein air, don't let perfection slow you down. Get down a thumbnail fast, write your impressions of the day, scene, colors, whatever will help you with recalling it later on. If you have time to leisurely sit and draw do so but keep it small.

7. And finally the people of Italy are warm friendly and welcoming. Do this if you ever get a chance. My fear of driving a stick again was overcome, even though I still would rather be the passenger, I did it. Boy those Tuscan hillside roads are tricky!

There you go my impressions of this trip. Photos yet to come, I promise.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Just hours to go

And before you know it I'll be in Italy, well in exactly about 24 hours that is. I'm packed and next to get dressed and on my way to Dulles Airport. Flight leaves at 12:30 pm so most of the next several hours will be travel time to Dulles. And then a very long wait at JFK until 8:30 tonight when we leave for Pisa. Into Pisa their time at 11:35 am 9/5/09.

So most of the last several days has been non art related except for the packing and weening out the necessary from the not as necessary. You see I pack from the everything but the kitchen sink manual. So this is REAL HARD. But I am beginning to force myself into a "Plein Air" state of mind, a roving artist ready to paint in what ever beautiful site Tuscany has for me. Or at least that is what I'm telling myself.

The reality is that it may take that first glass of real Italian Chianti to get me to relax! The truth is I may not have any art to post here until Sunday. It's not an official painting day but it will be our first full day in Italy so I hope to do some sketching at the Castello di Colognole where we are staying near Greve. More on that Sunday.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getting ready for the trip....

After a very grueling root canal yesterday I'm at least sitting at the computer. I plan on setting up the new netbook I have, so I can post in Italy for this blog. Thanks for being patient, well at least for the 3 people who know about this blog. Any way as soon as I get my studio picked up enough to photograph my suitcase of art supplies and gear I'll get back here so you can see what I'm taking on my trip.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Getting out here for all to see!

I'm not really comfortable with putting together my thoughts for all to read.  But I have learned so much from other brave bloggers and artists out here I've been told I should add my own art to the mix.  I hope to document my travels in my art journey and likewise document my traveling with my art.  

I admire many artists blogs:  Nicole Caulfield, Toni James, Katherine Tyrrell.  And with my up coming very first trip to Europe I'm hoping to use what I've learned from Katherine Tyrrell and her blog.  MAKING A MARK – the blog    To use some of her tips and thorough steps to produce my very own landscapes of my travels.  You see I'm heading to Tuscany, the setting of my favorite movie! (Under the Tuscan Sun)  And if I can get my new netbook set up before I leave, I'll let you all in on how this first ever Plein Air painting trip goes.   For those who do not know, to paint "en Plein Air" means to literally paint out in the open air.    

I'm leaving with a group of 8 other women all who paint in watercolor or oil.  I will be the only colored pencil artist there!  Not having Plein Air painted with a group before, actually I've only sketched in my home garden.   This is truly an adventure.  All of my finished paintings whether watercolor, acrylic or colored pencil have been from a comfortable chair or desk inside.  If you go to my website: 
you will see my colored pencil paintings are usually close ups of my orchids/flowers, still life, or vignettes of my garden or favorite scenes.  My work has been characterized as realism with a hint of folk artsie.  This is probably because I started painting in acrylics from a decorative tole painting class, and I guess there is some of that carry over into my colored pencil work.  Although I personally feel my artwork style is still evolving. 

But hey what better place to learn/teach myself to Plein Air paint in colored pencil but Tuscany!   I aim big so if you choose to hang in here for my journey I hope I don't disappoint you.  With four days left before I leave there is much to do.   I hope to put down some of my thoughts on preparation and theories for keeping up with the many really good artists I will be traveling with.  

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