Sunday, May 2, 2010

Natirar Study, oil, 8" x 6"

Returning from an inspiring workshop with Kenn Backhaus near the Jersey shore (no guidos), I was itching to get out there and plein air paint some more. Working with Kenn's limited pallet makes it easier to concentrate on composition, values and design. I seldom paint solo outdoors but after being "stood up" by my "plein air date" I packed up my gear and went for a mid-morning jaunt to my favorite safe painting location, Natirar in Far Hills NJ. There were plenty of dog walkers but for the most part I was left alone except for a couple of curious onlookers. I have a feeling this is going to be an exciting summer.... stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Willowwood Inn" Oil, 11" x 14"

A note about this painting: This house is actually not an inn but rather a centuries old house situated on 130 acres of public farm land dotted with over 3500 native and exotic plants. A few years ago I was painting en plein air near the "inn" and beautiful live piano music (Chopin) began to fill the air. How great is that to paint in gorgeous surroundings while being serenaded by a concert pianist. The music stopped at which time an elderly gentlemen came out to see what "we" (a group of artists) were up to. Turns out he was a locally well known concert pianist and conductor. He invited us all into his living room which was sparsely furnished except for a magnificent 9 ft old ornate grand piano. The room was barely large enough to contain this incredible instrument. The old man has since passed and as far as I know the house remains silent.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Blue Ice" oil, 10" x 10"

Here is yet another Natirar scene. For those who have read some of my previous posts, you know that many of my landscapes are Natirar inspired. After the last snow fall, I went there with couple of cameras in tow and managed to shoot a few winter scenes with painting potential. I know, I know, I should show some spine and paint winter scenes en plein air. I will, eventually, I'm just waiting for that ideal spring day with a late season snowfall. Ha! I usually don't publish my reference material alongside my paintings but some of you may find it interesting to see how an artist (with plein air experience) can use the reference material as a jumping off point and then take it to another place. You will notice that I had to make a major modification to the composition to accommodate the square canvas.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

"Bridge at Natirar" oil, 10" x 12"

I've neglected my blog for too long, so here is my first post of 2010 of a plein air painting done at the close of summer. When I painted this, it was a busy Sunday afternoon, with people and their dogs and even a horse soaking up the last bit of warmth the waning days of summer had to offer. It was a great day to be out in the sun. Passersby would stop and chat with me or watch me paint for awhile. Non-painters, who seem to think that artists are exotic creatures, used my artistic endeavor as a teachable moment for their kids. Writing this today has warmed my spirits and helped me forget (almost) these frigid January sub-zero days.