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.

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