Friday, June 29, 2012

Lately I've Been Avoiding All The Painting Blogs In My Blogroll

I actually have paintings to post. Three paintings. Don't know if I can, or should, though. I'm displeased with them for various reasons. Will probably start them all over at some point. 

Mostly I want to avoid painting for a little while. 

Then after an appropriate amount of sulking, I might take on these beautiful pointy evergreen treetops that I see out my window every morning. 

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Camp Hill Plein-Air 2012

Ok, I know I haven't posted in a while, which makes it seem like I haven't been doing anything, but I have. Seriously you guys.

I've been painting nearly every day this week, just on long-term projects that are secret.

On top of that, today I participated in the 2012 Camp Hill Plein Air Quick Draw. It was awesome! 

I psyched myself out the day before, getting all nervous and even dropping by the neighborhood to stake out some good compositions ahead of time. I found a great spot at the corner of Willow Mill Park that gave me two nice options:


In the 4 pm light, I was sort of leaning toward the house, with the sweet little shadows along the roof and clapboards, and the nice contrast-y shadows and highlights in that big tree. I knew the light would be drastically different in the morning, though, and sure enough when I arrived around 9 am, the house was flat grey-blue. The park, however, was glorious:

The sun was behind clouds for the first half of the morning, but some delicious long shadows were still stretched across the grass. Don't you love long shadows?

I'm so glad I got there early. I had plenty of time to set up and then sit and enjoy my bagel and coffee and just look. I tried to paint it all in my head, since real painting wasn't supposed to begin until ten. 

I was so nervous and excited beforehand - I imagine it's the way runners feel before their races - and my hands were even a little shaky for the first five minutes or so, but after that, things went really well, just like they should - underdrawing, shadows, deeper shadows, sky, fill it all in, and add highlights. 

Passer-bys were inquisitive and friendly, and showered me with encouraging compliments. Two hours was the perfect amount of time to fill up an 8x10 canvas without feeling rushed. And there was a funny sense of relief when noon rolled around and I absolutely was REQUIRED to stop painting.

I didn't take time to photograph my progress along the way, but here's the finished painting:
"Morning Shadows" Oil on canvas, 8x10"

And framed, for the show:

The colors are not very accurate here... I'm going to have to start using Josh's camera. 

Here's a picture of me and Amy, who also participated - in fact, Amy is the friend who first brought this event to my attention!

It was a fantastic morning. I'd guess there were about thirty other paintings in the competition. I didn't win any prizes, or sell my painting, or anything, but it was a really enjoyable experience to be a part of a real live plein air competition and show. And I couldn't help but thrill to notice that my painting fit right in with the rest. I'd even go so far as to say my painting was one of my top five favorites, and I don't say things like that often. 

I think today's victory is that I was able to paint the way I prefer, under pressure. That feels really good.