Sunday, October 30, 2011

From Ghost Ranch, NM to Snow in Virginia

It was sad to leave Ghost Ranch, in Abiquiu, NM. It was mostly sad because a big nor'easter was blowing through the mid Atlantic, leaving a wet sloppy snow in Virginia, along with power failures at my house.

Thankfully, I arrived home safely and I wish everyone along the Mid Atlantic and the Northeast well, as this bad storm barrels along the coast, leaving many power outages along the way.

I hope that these pictures will leave you feeling warm.

If you ever have the opportunity to visit Ghost Ranch, I highly recommend it. What a gorgeous location with so many possibilities for the painter.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Class at Ghost Ranch

Today is the last day of my class. Everyone put their paintings up on screens and the outcome of this week's work is amazing. Great, great work, everyone! The class was full of interesting folks from all over the country. I immensely enjoyed meeting everyone.

After class, I went hiking towards Box Canyon to find the pond. I wanted to get pictures of the mountain reflected in water.

Here is another painting to share with you, "Morning Shadows," as well as pictures from my hike.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, Tuesday

My workshop is going splendidly. Everyone in class seems to be moving along quickly and they've all begun painting the landscape.

Today, I went on a tour of the area where Georgia O'Keeffe lived, and we saw her home and many of the areas where she drove her car, which she had customized into a studio on wheels, and painted.

If I thought the landscape on the public part of the ranch was strange, then today I discovered that the private areas where O'Keeffe painted were even more imaginative: more twisted forms, layers of different colored rock, odd columns and holes and more contorted shapes.

I'm posting some pictures from the landscape tour, as well as my first completed painting of the scene outside of the art center, where I'm teaching.

Monday, October 24, 2011

New Mexico

The Cottonwood trees are a brilliant gold. I can see why Georgia O'Keeffe was mesmerized by the rough beauty of the area. I understand her paintings now.

Earth Colors and Chimney Rock

How does one paint the colors and the contorted rocks of the New Mexico mountains? I've never seen so many earth colors: all the reds, all the yellows, all the ochres and browns will be required, as well as grays, lavenders and greens.

Today, I finally sat down and began an "en plein aire" painting of Chimney Rock. It's a strange tower of red rock, hung high on a cliff. It was so windy, my paper and palette were blowing and, of course, the paints were drying very quickly. I ended up with a fairly nice little piece, which I'll post tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are more pictures of Ghost Ranch, including the Cottonwood Trees in all their fall glory and Chimney Rock.

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, is the land of dreams

Ghost Ranch, New Mexico, exceeds expectations. The vastness and strangeness of the landscape is incomparable. Is it a moonscape? Is it from some strange imagination? There’s geologic drama everywhere you look. The colors consist of reds, oranges, purples, greens, and grays. The shapes are molded and melted and twisted from some sort of cataclysmic geological event. The light during the day is amazing and I can clearly see why the shapes and light attracted Georgia O'Keeffe. The night sky is the blackest I’ve ever seen but, at the same time, it’s full of more stars than I’ve ever observed. There are so many stars and complex galaxies, that the sky is nearly opaque.

I’ve never felt more like a grain of sand than I do now.

Ghost Ranch must be one of the most eerily beautiful places on earth… are some pictures to share with you.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Dancing Shadows and The Apple Tree

"Dancing Shadows" is a portrait of the little stone spring house on the Wyeth property and "The Apple Tree" just won 1st place in Watercolors at the Waterford Fair in Virginia.

Wyeth Estate: Paint Fast! Real Fast!

Friday was a delight. About forty artists were allowed to paint on Jaimie Wyeth's estate in Chadd's Ford, PA. What an interesting farm. First of all, the site was waaaaay back on a dirt road, with a skull and crossbones on the sign! Then, we drove beyond the estate into a field and had to drag equipment for quite a long way and THEN: we had to turn in a completed and framed painting by noon! And, it was already nine am!

Imagine selecting from these scenes: a tremendous stone house; a striking multi level barn with dramatic shadows; pure bred black horses and black cats; an ancient cart with a hat artistically placed by the whip on the seat; spotted goats; peacocks; mountain vistas; and a little stone spring house with purple shadows dancing on its side.

The result of this morning's painting session was "Dancing Shadows," which will be available at Wide River Gallery in Colonial Beach, VA, during November of 2011.

"Old Glory" in West Chester, PA

The previous painting from the King's Ranch area is titled "Big Sky," and it is sold. That painting was completed in three hours!

The previous painting of "Autumn Arrives at the Old Mill" will be available at the Wide River Gallery in Colonial Beach during November, 2011. That painting was also completed in three hours.

On Thursday,I did a really fast piece, "Old Glory," right in front of the West Chester, PA courthouse. I sat right under the eaves and by the hot dog vendor (yum). It was a lot of fun, the sky was glorious, rain was impending and I drew the perspective up so quickly, that I excited....myself!
This painting was the fastest one yet: it was completed in two hours.

King's Ranch and the Brandywine Valley

I painted in the King's Ranch area on Wednesday. King's Ranch is an enormous area of acreage in Pennsylvania that is very historic, rolling farmland filled with every beautiful scene imaginable to the painter. I painted this piece on private property. We drove over a very old covered bridge to reach our destination and there were so many things to paint: a beautifully restored barn! a gorgeous historic house! sheep! fields and mountains! little interesting outbuildings!

I decided to paint on this lovely, well kept, delightful garden that overlooked the broad vista of the Brandywine Valley.

Plein Aire Brandywine September 2011

Painting in the Brandywine area of Pennsylvania was very tough. Artists were fighting rain and insects, as well as time, all week long. Every day, we were on site by around dawn. We had a few hours to paint and then our framed pieces had to be in by an assigned time: daily! This is particularly tough for a watercolor painter like me. All frames, mats, paper and glass had to be cut, sized and ready to go.

Every time it rained, it came down in torrents and we had to rush our equipment back into our cars. I didn't sleep much, nor did I go to the bathroom or eat much. Needless to say, when I returned home after my week, I slept a lot.

I did enjoy the beauty of Longwood Gardens and Winterthur on Monday. Honestly, my favorite place in Winterthur is the Enchanted Woods, where one and all can become children again and play on the troll's bridge, or sit in the tiny chairs in the tiny cottage, or hop along the mushroom path. It was lovely. On Tuesday, I painted the old stone mill at the Hagley Museum. The painting looks like it was ... a little rainy. I sat in the woods and created this piece in three hours.