Friday, August 21, 2015

Plein Air Painting in the Summer of 2015

Queen Juliana Bridge, Curacao Plein Air Invitational, 2015

What a year 2015 has been.  I’ve participated in many plein air competitions this year and I’m pleased with the work I’ve produced in the field.  I’ve had fun, too, doing something I really enjoy, something I’m good at and it brings in income for my business.  February opened up with Plein Air Curacao.  I’d never been to this tropical island and what a beauty it is.  The staff of  Plein Air Curacao was remarkable to work with and they went out of their way to be sure artists were respected for their hard work and treated well.  They focused strongly on selling work for artists, and this is a great help to those of us who travel far to participate.  Plein Air Curacao is an event I highly recommend and the island is a must see experience for just about anyone.  Please go if you have the opportunity.  The highlight of the event for me was my Honorable Mention Award at the Quick Draw, presented by judge Peter Trippi.

The Old Florida, Winter Park Invitational, 2015.

Next, I traveled to the Museum of Gadsden in Gadsden, Alabama for the Plein Air Painters of the Southeast Invitational and I thank everyone I met there for the impressive organization in handling their plein air event.  Artists were treated with tremendous respect and the museum staff was organized to the point that our every need was taken care of, and the final sales event garnered many thousands of dollars.  I was impressed with the scenery in this little Alabama town and I’d especially love to paint in the historic district again and some of those Victorian homes.  There’s nothing like spring in the south, when the dogwoods and azaleas are in full bloom.

The Winter Park Paint Out Invitational was another great experience for me and sales in this event were also robust.  At this point, I’d encountered three great sales events and I was feeling pleased about the results of my work.  Winter Park was hot but the painting was great and I discovered the peacock havens in and around the area where large masses of the birds live and this brought a delight to me (and, hopefully, to my customers) to be able to capture these lively and beautiful birds in paint.  I always stop by to see the egrets nesting in this area of Florida, but this year the nestlings weren’t as plentiful.  On my very last day in Florida, I found the lovely wild gardens which are the subject of my painting “The Old Florida,” and I was delighted to meet the wonderful and generous artist who lives there.

 Night Creeps In, Finger Lakes Plein Air, 2015.

Sadly, I had to bow out of the Paint the Beach event in Daytona Beach and  I also had to let go of Plein Air Grand Marais and Plein Air Hudson, because I just couldn’t work out my schedule and finances to make these events happen.  I sincerely hope I will be invited to paint in these venues in the future, and I’ll plan my schedule a little better.  I’m so grateful to be selected for these competitive plein air events

I'm very proud of my Quick Draw painting from Camp Hill, Pennsylvania - drawn, painted and framed within two hours.  Advance preparation makes for a good painting. It was during this event that I began working on preliminary sketching and I do believe it lends the artist a good start.

Sit A Spell, Quick Draw at Camp Hill, 2015.

Finger Lakes Plein Air was a big discovery to me. The area is more rural than I knew, and Canandaigua Lake is pristine.  There’s plenty to paint ranging from rural landscapes to water scenes featuring the lake, and darling villages.  I enjoyed painting the lush greens in this event.  Now, I’m waiting to participate in the Piedmont Plein Air event in High Point, NC and the Brandywine Plein Air event in Pennsylvania.  New discoveries excite me and I know I’m in the right place when I’ve spent some time looking around, trying to select a location and…. I’ve got the tingling feeling that I’ve just got to paint. So, here's to plein air painting and I'm so grateful to have a job that I enjoy.  I  paint because I'm still having a good time, and it's a blessing to have the opportunity to paint our country (and even beyond), capturing history and spirit in watercolor paint.