Plein Air Convention and Beyond

May 5, 2016 in Landscape by joanvienot

Pastel painting of a cove clifflike in Nova Scotia

I attended Plein Air Magazine’s 5th annual Plein Air Convention and Expo in Tucson, Arizona, a few weeks ago, for a week of lectures, demonstrations, and painting with 900 other plein air enthusiasts. The pre-convention workshop was presented by Matt Smith, an amazing painter who discussed his theories and practices and showed examples of everything from subtle temperature shift to panoramic composition. It was fairly overwhelming, and I took a ton of notes. Other convention presentations conflicted and overlapped, requiring choice and sacrifice. My intention was to learn about Marketing, so I attended Plein Air Magazine publisher Eric Rhoads’ Marketing Boot Camp lecture series which started every morning at 6:30 AM. Another seminar was offered by the magazine’s marketing team, who presented essential elements of every aspect of marketing, from developing a Curriculum Vitae to managing social media, gallery representation, and website development. I’ve got some work to do over the next year!

One of the demonstrations I attended was performed by Nancie King Mertz, who used pastels. I had not worked much with pastels as a medium alone, though I had a number of colors which I believe my mother had given me, that she did not use. When I was in college, I had used them merely to add background tone in some of my figure drawings. After attending Nancie’s demo, I went to the Expo store where fantastic deals were offered by manufacturers and distributors, to feed or hook every attending artists’ addictions – media, tools, toys, and DVD’s – and I bought a set of Sennelier soft pastels, the “Paris Collection”. As soon as I got home, I signed up for 4 lessons from our local Artist of the Year, Melody Bogle, who teaches pastel classes at our Bayou Arts Center for the Cultural Arts Alliance.

In the first two sessions, I painted a 9×12 of our Gulf Coast lupines. I immediately could see why pastelists need so many colors. My collection of 120 half-sticks was hardly adequate; I borrowed a the more subtle colors from Melody. A few days later, two commission patrons visited by my studio, and they left with Lupines, my first pastel, sold!

My second painting in soft pastels is above, a scene from my first artist-vacation 15 years ago, a trip to Nova Scotia. While I was painting it this week, I again experienced the feelings which prompted me to spent some time standing in that spot, enjoying the visual feast. It is my hope that people viewing my art also get some sense of that awe, the energy of that specific place.

The paintings I created at the plein air convention in Arizona are below. It’s a wonder I could paint anything at all, because of the disconnect between what I was learning or relearning at the convention, and what my right-brain could assimilate and immediately put to work.

2016-0416 Tucson Greens
Oil painting of a mountain ravine at Picacho Peak State Park, in Tucson, AZ

I painted this first painting, at left, outside my motel room door. The desert started at the edge of the hotel grounds. In the middle ground were some flat-roofed buildings providing pinks which played well against the greens of the distance, and finally, the late afternoon light on the mountains.

Names were drawn for different benefits and prizes throughout the convention, and I won a critique with Jove Wang and Kathryn Stats. This is the painting I chose to be critiqued. I was pleased when both gave favorable comments. Click on the painting for a larger version.

The darker painting of the mountain ravine was painted on the last day of the convention, a full day set aside to paint at Picacho Peak State Park. I believe I was the first painter to come into the park, probably because most of the convention attendees had been at the closing party the night before. I backpacked my gear about a half-mile up a trail until this scene presented, with the light just giving a glow in the the crevice between the mountains. I was passed by several hikers and painters later, but only had one four-legged visitor, a salamander who gave me a wary eye for a long time before moving on.

I am very pleased with Desert Mountain Ravine’s hint of early morning light. The sun was above the ridge line, to the left of the picture frame, but only the warmth creeping into the ravine interested me, in contrast to the cool sides of the mountains.

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I am back home now, and I am very lucky to live a mere two hours from the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, the regional plein air invitational and paint-out, where I will enjoy a week of demonstrations, learning-lunches, presentations, and receptions. But I will be working this year, participating as one of the six Florida’s Finest Plein Air Ambassadors selected from various parts of the state, who are assigned the task of mentoring plein air novices in one-on-one 2-hour sessions which are offered 3 times a day, for the first 5 days of the event. This will conflict with and prevent me from participating in certain parts of the event, but the experience of the 15 one-on-one sessions of mentoring will be invaluable! There are still 3 slots left in my schedule, if any of my readers are dallying: 2016 Painting Stations (click here).

Later this month, I will make a serious effort at absorbing more marketing information, by participating in the webinars and activities outlined in Art Marketing in a Box, a program produced by Plein Air Magazine. When I first started painting en plein air, 4 years ago, I had planned to spend the first year trying to remember how to mix colors and how to use my brushes. The second year I was going to go to as many workshop[s as I could afford, and in my third year I was going to develop a marketing plan. Developments in my day-job prevented me from devoting the necessary time to my art marketing plan, so I postponed it to this year. I intended to start teaching a few workshops in my fourth year, and that has already started, with one workshop at the Chautauqua Assembly in DeFuniak Springs in January, and now the mentoring sessions I will be doing this week in Apalachicola. I continue to be surprised at how effective that suggestion was when my career coach told me to put my first weekly plein air painting session on the calendar 4 years ago! Thank you, Saramae Dalferes!

Oil painting of potted plants and arbor in a nursery

 

At left is my impression of one of the colorful plant racks and displays covering the grounds of Clay Garden and Gift Shop, east of Seagrove Beach, where our local plein air painters group met this week. It was a bonanza of light and color, and the paintings of the nine painters attending reflected our ecstasy at being in this “eye-candy store”. The owner has invited us back!

 

 

JoanVienot.com, A Progress Report

April 24, 2016 in Landscape by joanvienot

2016-0419 Picacho Peak State Park - Desert Mountain Ravine

Desert Mountain Ravine, Picacho Peak State Park, Tucson, AZ, painted at the 5th Annual Plein Air Convention. 11 x 14, oil on linen panel, painted en plein air. Click on image to go to Purchase Information Form.

When I began my website, I was documenting my progress by blogging. I committed to blogging because writing about my efforts seemed to cement my progress. As I look back on earlier works, I can see my growth in expression and craftsmanship. Now I am ready to step into another part of my career, sharing my work with a broader audience.

I have been invited to be a Florida’s Finest Plein Air Ambassador for the 2016 Forgotten Coast en Plein Air, the annual event of national renown held in the area of Apalachicola, FL, the second week of May every year. As an Ambassador, my job, along with 5 other artists selected from across the state, is to mentor newcomers to plein air painting, to introduce them to outdoor, on-site painting. Some may never have touched a brush before, and others may be accomplished studio artists who simply haven’t had the pleasure of painting outdoors yet. I’ll be available for any of three 2-hour time periods per day for 5 days, May 7 through May 11, 2016. Here’s where you sign up for your one-on-one 2-hour session: www.pleinairfl.com and go to Events and then Painting Stations. Sponsorships enable the incredibly low fee of only $25!! Following are my assigned locations:
Lighthouse, Port St. Joe, Saturday May 7, 2016
Riverfront Park, Apalachicola, Sunday May 8, 2016
Salinas Park, Cape San Blas, Monday May 9, 2016
Reid Avenue, Port St. Joe, Tuesday May 10, 2016
Reid Avenue, Port St. Joe, Wednesday May 11, 2016

I look forward to seeing you there!!

~~ Joan Vienot

Buy Original Art Instead of Prints – Here’s Why

April 3, 2016 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

I will never forget the moment I saw the original of Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night in the Museum of Modern Art in New York City as a young adult. Overwhelmed, I felt its impact in the center of my chest, and tears came to my eyes. I had admired the expressionism in Van Gogh’s works since I was a teen, staring at my book of print reproductions of his paintings for years prior to that visit to the museum.

Why then, did the original have such an effect on me? I can only say that for me, the original has the spirit of the artist, his time and his vision. It was as if I was, in a way, actually meeting Vincent Van Gogh. Probably also some of it also was due to the fact that the painting had become iconic to me. But there was the visceral reality of the original painting, its physical presence, seeing the actual paint, the colors mixed by the artist, the brushstrokes, the canvas sometimes showing through the impasto, indicating the haste or the care taken, all of the things one sees when looking at an original painting, providing a glimpse into the artist’s experience. “This morning I saw the country from my window a long time before sunrise, with nothing but the morning star, which looked very big,” van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo, from France. [Excerpt from the Museum of Modern Art’s webpage, http://www.moma.org/collection/works/79802.]

Isn’t that really what a painting is, a representation of what the artist “saw”, whether in actuality or in his or her mind? That is my intention in sharing my art, to share my vision, to share my experience of my environment, my own appreciation for what I see and how it all fits together, the light in the composition, and the way the elements work together – the lines, forms, colors, and textures. I share my thrill.

While it is true that printing processes are always improving, an original painting is so much more impactful than a print. People see differently than a camera. And in the technical process of reproducing the image of a painting, colors separate and forms change, with the mechanical image sometimes showing the paint layer underneath instead of the one on the surface. My own print-maker brings me multiple proofs, tweaking the cast, correcting a color here and there, and even still, sometimes I feel compelled to go back in with a brush to tighten up some of the details, or I have to make the decision to live with color separation in areas where there was a perfect blend in the original painting. My own photos miss values by as much as 2 steps on a 10-step scale, and fail miserably when it comes to capturing certain colors, most especially the pinks of sunset. The original painting has the energy, the color mixes, the form as the artist intended, while in the end, a reproduction is what we end up settling for.

The solution? Buy original art! Certainly buying prints is better than not buying art at all.  I can supply giclée prints from $50 to $650, depending on whether you want a good paper print or if you want a larger-than-original gallery-wrapped canvas. But a print is still a print. There are reasons to buy print reproductions, such as when something is whimsical or if your taste changes frequently. But it is absurd to buy a house for several hundred thousand dollars, or several million, and then to decorate it with cheap prints. Purchasing original art is a way of honoring yourself. You deserve original art, art that you pick out, art that transports you. Original art has an energy far exceeding that of a print.

I made a decision some time ago to hang nothing but original artwork in my own home. It enhances the energy in my home by tenfold, worth every penny. Every time I enter a room, I actually look at the art on my walls, and I have the same feelings that prompted me to buy it in the first place. Each piece commands attention and contributes to the energy in my home. This is in such contrast to the print calendars I have hanging here and there, the images certainly beautiful, chosen for their theme, but purchased as a necessity and easily ignored. Original works of art contribute far more than prints, in much the same way that real wood carries a stronger energy than veneer or faux finishes.

You and I are sensitive to energy. We can meet a person and know in our gut, instantly, whether we have “good chemistry”. The same is true of inanimate objects, the stuff we surround ourselves with. It’s the reason we want to escape from our plastic-and-concrete workplaces to visit the scenic wonderland of nature. Our home is our haven, and we should surround ourselves with energies that enhance our sense of well-being and our vitality. We honor ourselves by purchasing original art.

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Oil painting of the brook line and shadow patterns at Lincoln Park in Valparaiso, FL

Click on image for purchase information.

Plein air painting is risky — sometimes the light changes so fast you feel like you are chasing it. But I struck gold with the scene I chose when I joined the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters on Wednesday for our weekly outing this week. We painted at Lincoln Park in Valparaiso, Florida. It had been raining for several days over the previous week and weekend — my garbage can had 18″ of rain in it (warranting yet another note to my garbage man to always turn it over after emptying!). The grassy earth was like a wet sponge, sinking underfoot, each step flooding my painting Crocs. I set up my easel beside the purple splash of a wild iris blooming near the brook at the edge of the park. I was exhilarated by the play of light and shadow in the warmth of the spring day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adjust, Adapt, Accommodate – Painting through Challenges

March 25, 2016 in Figure Drawing, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

After several months of adjusting to challenges on several fronts, things are settling down and I am returning to painting in oils. In early February, I had the first of two surgeries on my hands, to create a new joint for the base of my thumb. I chose to have this done on my left, non-dominant, hand first, so that I could plan for the disability I will have when I am recovering from the same surgery on my right thumb later this year. The surgery I had is called a CMC arthroplasty, and I am fortunate to have nearby one of the best clinics in the country, the Andrews Institute of Orthopedics right here in Northwest Florida (thank you Dr. Steven Kronlage!). I was not comfortable using my oil paints when I started painting again, what with the mess I usually make and my left hand not being of much help, so I switched to watercolor paints for a little while. Below are a few of my watercolors painted en plein air during weekly outings with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters.

2016-0302 Village Church

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2016-0309 Dune Impression

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2016-0309 Dune in Bloom

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2016-0309 Windy Dunes

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2016-0316 Monet Ferns

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I tried out watercolor canvas in my studio for the first time, and I liked it very much. After spraying several light coats of Golden archival spray (matte), the painting can be framed without glass, so the watercolor painting is open to the viewer, instead of being separated from the viewer by glass. I painted the painting below in the studio, to submit to a Cultural Arts Alliance show of watercolor paintings which Melissa Brown and I are coordinating for the A+Art Committee, whose mission is to showcase CAA member artists’ work in our Art in Public Spaces program. The show will open with a reception at 5:00 on April 1, 2016 at the Bayou Arts Center, 105 Hogtown Bayou Lane, Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459. It will show through June 1, 2016.

2016-0304 The Red Boat

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I went to the local figure drawing session CAA holds every two weeks, thanks to Nancy Nichols Williams’ persevering efforts, which was managed by Liza Snyder this week. I should draw more often, to stay in practice, and I am looking forward to a reduction in my work hours at my job so that I can do just that. Below is one of my warm-up sketches from this week.

2016-0322 Avatar Light

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And finally, this week, I broke out my oils again, after 7 weeks away from them, for the weekly painting session with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, on my friend Erika Stoyer’s backyard patio. My left hand now is strong enough to be able to wipe my brushes when I am cleaning them during the painting. The day was overcast almost the whole time, with the sun peeking through just as I was finishing up.

2016-0323 Genoa Patio

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It’s a Busy Month!

January 17, 2016 in General, Plein Air by joanvienot

Solo show PCB 1-2016

 

Here’s the line-up:

January 11 – March 11, 2016: Solo exhibition, Panama City Beach, FL. Beach Art Group is presenting an exhibition of oil paintings by Joan Vienot, winner of People’s Choice Best in Show at the 2015 Local Color Plein Air Festival paint-out. The exhibit will be displayed at Palms Conference Center in Panama City Beach from January 11 to March 11, 2016. Meet the artist at the reception, February 7, from 2:00 to 5:00 pm. Call Helen Ballance at (850) 541-3867 for other viewing times. http://www.beachartgroup.com/exhibitions–events.html

January 23 – March 4, 2016, with opening reception January 23, 6:00 – 8:00 pm: ADSO Southeast Regional Juried Art Show. All 3 of Joan’s submissions were accepted into this prestigious exhibition. http://www.mattiekellyartscenter.org/EventItem.cfm?ID=1038. 1/31/16 addendum: The judge awarded “Western Lake with Umbrella Trees” third place!!

January 29-30, 2016: Florida Chautauqua Assembly Plein Air Painting Workshop, Joan Vienot, Instructor. This workshop will provide new insight to accomplished painters, and courage for the beginner, with focus on simplification of subject matter, using value and intensity to create believable composition, and enhancement of color through temperature relationship. Joan will instruct in oil painting but all media are welcome. An optional half-day pre-workshop, January 28, 2016, will help the painter decide how to choose a subject to paint en plein air, observing the changing light and shadow, practicing “thumbnail” sketching, and planning interesting compositions. http://www.florida-chautauqua-center.org/assembly_2016/art_program_2016; Supply list at https://www.dropbox.com/s/vqk9u2fuzxe8n38/Workshop%20Description.pdf?dl=0. Joan also will be displaying a few select paintings in the Chautauqua Art Show. 1/31/16 addendum: 10 plein air painters enjoyed 2 beautiful sunny days of instruction! Click here for a photo of her demonstrating.

January, 2016 and thereafter: DeFuniak Springs Art Co-op, 9th and Baldwin, DeFuniak Springs, FL  32433. Joan is showing 10 paintings. https://www.facebook.com/defuniakspringsartcoop

February 1-29, 2016: Joan will be the Freeport Art League Artist of the Month, displaying paintings at Freeport City Hall during the month of February, at 112 FL Hwy 20, Freeport, FL 32433. https://www.facebook.com/FreeportArtLeague/

I hope you can spend some time at one or more of these events! There’s nothing like actually seeing the art in person. I try to take good photos of my work for this website, but a camera cannot ever completely capture the intensities and true color relationships the way that the human eye can. I look forward to seeing you!   ~ Joan Vienot

Painting en Plein Air at Baytowne Marina in Sandestin

December 22, 2015 in Landscape, Photography, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting of the docked boats at Sandestin's Baytowne Marina, Miramar Beach, FL

Baytowne Marina in early September

The clouds were threatening when I arrived at our painting location last week, at Baytowne Marina in Sandestin, Florida. The rain was predicted to come later, but I had driven through a good shower on the way over from my home in Point Washington, and I was pretty sure we were going to get another one. The marina waters were glassy flat, beautifully reflecting the docked boats. It reminded me of my experience the last time the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters painted here, in early September. That day was beautiful. Overwhelmed by the geometry of the boats and the reflections, I painted the subject with only squares, triangles, and lines (at right).

Photos of the marina before the rainstorm
IMG_1139 IMG_1140

But last week the weather was not so nice. After shooting a few photos of the marina, I took a walk along the shoreline boardwalk only to have the rain start. I returned at a faster pace and found a blue triangular tarp stretched over a kiosk, for shelter. It leaked. The shower only lasted about 15 minutes, and the trees were still dripping when two of the painting group, Ed Nickerson and Celeste Jones, came strolling up warm and dry. Clearly their shelter was superior to mine. Judy Dewar joined us, and we had a wonderful day of painting, critiquing, and lunch afterwards at the Baytowne Marina Cafe, which was the subject of my painting, below.

2015-1216 Baytowne Marina Cafe

Click painting for purchase information.

I enjoy photography, and every once in a while I play with photo app’s on my iPhone. Below is an example I posted on our group Facebook page to promote the location

Photo of boats in marina, and reflections, edited with My Sketch app

 

Too Busy to Blog!

December 12, 2015 in Landscape, Photography, Plein Air by joanvienot

It’s been a hectic two months. I will summarize with pictures.

In early November, I painted with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters at Bruce Cafe. We also had painted there last May, but I didn’t finish that painting. After we went back and painted there in November, I realized I just needed a few more dashes of color to finish capturing the essence on the May painting, so I finished it in the studio. Below are both paintings.

Oil painting of Bruce Cafe, Bruce, Florida

Bruce Cafe, November 2015

Oil painting of Bruce Cafe, in Bruce, Florida

Bruce Cafe, May, 2015

The next week we painted at Alaqua Animal Refuge. I had a lot of help from the young horses there. (Click on images for a larger view.)

Oil painting of the willow and pond by the entrance road at Alaqua Animal Refuge, Portland, FL

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Early the next morning, very early, at 3 AM, I got up to get ready to help Helen Ballance with a television interview for the 2015 Local Color Plein Air Festival in Lynn Haven, Florida, an hour drive from my home. Paris Janos, WJHG Channel 7, was at Roberts Hall to talk with Helen about the festival, and I was one of two plein air painters providing color by painting during the multiple interview spots. It was dark when I started, so for the first time ever, I started with a black canvas. I struggled — the streetlight was stronger than my palette lamp. Things improved when first light hit the bank. Below is my painting, and my own part in the interview is at http://www.wjhg.com/news/newschannel7today/headlines/Color-Plein-Art-Festival-346679182.html.

Oil painting o Lynn Haven Bank & Trust, painted early morning en plein air for TV publicity for Local Color Plein Air Festival 2015

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The actual paint-out and festival was two days later, at Roberts Hall in Lynn Haven. To my pleasant surprise, I won People’s Choice Best in Show, which included a check for $300 and a solo show at Palms Conference Center in Panama City Beach in late January and February, 2016. Below is a [glare-y] photo of my painting a shot of how I look after an afternoon of competitive plein air painting, ha!

Oil painting of the light edging the potted flowers outside Victoria's Restaurant, Lynn Haven Florida, winner of People's Choice Best in Show at Local Color Plein Air Festival

Apologies for the glare on the photo!

Joan Vienot with People's Choice Best in Show award at Local Color Plein Air Festival, Lynn Haven, FL,November 14, 2015
Photo of People's Choice Best in Show painting at 2015 Local Color Plein Air Festival, Lynn Haven, FL

12122615_1118243564860829_737914790070585022_nMeanwhile, other activities included collecting images from local artists for a fundraiser calendar, and coordinating with the printer (message me if you want one — $12 each), images at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/eq37g61gzmezupv/AACTHegCiNwOz0lT9iXP9gD3a?dl=0;

Working on a new map for the hiking trails for Friends of Camp Helen State Park (watercolor and lots of graphics work);

Painting en plein air, completed in studio, at a big wedding reception (can’t post a pic yet, because it’s still drying — the owner gets to see it first);

Starting a little arthritis maintenance which may slow me down a little next year  😥  ;

Agreeing to teach a 2-day Plein Air Painting Workshop at the Florida Chautauqua Assembly January 29 and 30, 2016, with a half-day pre-workshop on Selecting a Plein Air Subject, details at Joan Vienot Plein Air Workshop;

And receiving notification that all three of my entries have been accepted juried into the Southeast Regional Art Exhibition at the Mattie Kelly Arts Center in Niceville in January and February. Yippee!!! Below are the images I submitted, two plein air paintings and one photograph:

Oil painting of the slash pines forming the iconic "umbrella trees' of Western Lake at Grayton Beach, FL, painted en plein air
Oil painting of the train depot and tracks at DeFuniak Springs, FL, facing east Vienot2 Lady Louise photography

I’m also pleased that my three submissions to the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County’s A+Art “One Size Fits All” have sold. Below are those images — two using photographic transfer onto the 10×10 panels, and the third a plein air painting floated in the 10×10 panel reversed, using it as a frame. The photographic images remain available if you would like a print.

Photo of the sunrise over the Choctawhatchee Bay, dramatized with Snapseed App Photograph of a lily on Ocheesee Pond, between Marianna and Chattahoochee, FL Oil painting of dune grasses at Henderson Beach State Park, Destin, FL

And finally, this week’s weekly plein air outing with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, painting at Turkey Creek Park in Niceville, Florida:

Oil painting of Turkey Creek in Niceville, Florida, in the fall, 1/4 mile up the boardwalk

Click on images for more detailed information and for the contact form if you would like to purchase.

From Destin to Apalachicola

November 1, 2015 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Oil painting of the food vendors and festival-goers at Destin Festival of the Arts, 2015When I take an art workshop, it provides a wonderful break from the full-time management of my pool service business and an opportunity to fully immerse myself in my art. I counted this week as a 6-day vacation, first participating in the two-day Destin Festival of the Arts (Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation) on Saturday and Sunday, then attending a Bill Farnsworth workshop through the Apalachicola School of Art Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and finally, painting with Mary Erickson on Thursday.

IMG_9627-2The Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters had a booth in the Destin Festival of the Arts, with 6 painters representing the group. I enjoyed interacting with the festival-goers, talking to the other artists in our booth, and plein air painting one morning. A lot of work goes into a festival booth. Marian Pacsuta and her husband erected the tent, so it was fully assembled with ProPanels and wind-weights already in place by the time the rest of us arrived to hang our art on the curtain hooks Marian provided. She had a small table set up, covered to the ground with black spandex cloth. I had made some flyers explaining our group, and some group business cards the day before, so those were on the table along with artists’ business cards and a clipboard for folks to sign who wanted to receive the weekly notifications of our painting locations. To make sure the booth was manned at all times, I had scheduled the 6 participating artists and two additional artists helping, in two- and three-person shifts throughout the festival. At the end of the second day, we all converged to pick up our art and take down the tent, a feat accomplished in a mere 20 minutes. Many of us painted en plein air during the festival. I arrived early on the second day and had an uninterrupted block of time to paint my scene en plein air before festival goers came, and then I was able to add in a few people.

Oil painting of a trailered oyster boat on shady private launchAt 5:00 the next morning I jumped in the car to drive the two-hour trip to Apalachicola for the Bill Farnsworth workshop. Bill is one of the featured “plein air ambassadors” of the Forgotten Coast En Plein Air event in Apalachicola. I had seen and admired his work, so when the Apalachicola School of Art advertised his workshop, it was an easy decision to sign up. The workshop was billed as Field to Studio, but the 20 mph winds and rains of the remnants of Mexico’s Hurricane Patricia were emptying out on the Gulf Coast, so we just painted in the studio using photo references that Bill had brought. His demos seemed to build from silhouetted shapes to high contrast to color, first completing much of the detail of his focal area before progressing to the less emphasized parts of the composition. The first day I painted the trailered oyster boat on the left, from a photo that Bill brought, and the second day I painted his photo of a blue truck at a seafood business.

Oil painting of a blue pickup parked beside a seafood marketAt the risk of losing my momentum here, a little rant about artistic ethics: It’s not right to pass off a painting of someone else’s image as your own. Photography is an art in itself. If someone else shot the photo, they made the compositional decisions, and probably did some post-processing. I encourage everyone to always make sure you disclose that you used someone else’s photo reference, and give him or her credit. I know there are an abundance of images available on the internet, and some artists, even recognized artists and instructors, merely download an image from the internet and then paint it. Some artists even copy other artist’s paintings, and call them their own! I’ve coordinated exhibits where artists signed a statement of ownership when  their work is clearly a copy of someone else’s work! Explaining rejections of art due to ethics is difficult when people do not have the same values. Don’t get me wrong, there is a world of benefit in copying someone’s painting, especially a Master. I never learned so much as in one semester in college when I made it my assignment to copy drawings by recognized Masters, from daVinci and Michelangelo to Degas. But it’s wrong to call it your own art, without crediting the artist or photographer. I’ve even had friends download my photos from Facebook and then re-upload them without giving me credit, instead of using the convenient “share” button that Facebook provides. OK, enough about that. So I do sell my workshop paintings that used someone else’s photo, to recover the cost of the workshop, but I always disclose it and would not enter them in an exhibit or competition.

Finally, on the last day of Bill’s workshop, the sun came out and the winds died down and the birds sang! We had opportunity to paint en plein air in the morning and again in the afternoon after Bill’s demo. I tried hard to remember Bill’s focus on relative temperatures of color, as well as relative values. I painted an old but still living tree, and I painted the St. George Island lighthouse and museum.

Bill Farnsworth 2

Bill Farsworth 1

Bill Farnsworth, Apalachicola, October 2015

Oil pain ting of an old misshapen oak tree in Apalachicola, FL Oil painting of the St. George Island light and museum Click painting

The day after Bill’s workshop, I took a bonus day away from work, since my staff had handled everything well in my absence, my only concern being when my office manager used the words “creative accounting” to explain how she resolved a cash-flow situation, oh dear.

I used my extra day to paint with Mary Erickson, the Forgotten Coast en Plein Air’s Artist in Residence at St. Joe Buffer Preserve. With my sweet host and fellow classmate and painter extraordinaire Lynn Wilson (On the Waterfront Gallery) and other friends and fellow classmates, I had attended Mary’s introduction a couple nights before, where she had shown her amazing paintings in support of the buffer preserve’s mission of appreciation and conservation of the wildlife and exquisite dune and marsh habitats.

We found Mary at sunrise Thursday morning, and watched her deftly capture the pink and orange light on the clouds and the dunes. I decided to paint on some 4×6 miniature linen panels that I had bought by mistake, intending to buy a different size, and only 5, not 50! I painted 3 studies of the wildflowers in the changing light over the course of the day.

Mary Erickson 1

Mary Erickson, Salinas Park, Oct 2015

Mary Erickson 2 Mary Erickson 3
Oil painting of wildflowers in Salinas Park, mid-morning light Oil painting of wildflowers in Salinas Park, mid-morning light Oil painting of wildflowers in Salinas Park, mid-afternoon light

All in all, a fabulous week, and delivering 5 newer paintings to be shown at On The Waterfront Gallery in Apalachicola, to boot!

Plein Air Painting With New Colors

October 20, 2015 in Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

As if I didn’t already have enough challenge painting en plein air, I recently tried out a new color, “cobalt green” on a couple of plein air outings. In both cases, the bright color was perfect for representing what I was seeing at the time, but it challenged me because I was unfamiliar with how it mixed with my other colors. At the Ft. Walton Beach Indian Temple Mound, I painted a bushy palm study, and at Grayton Beach State Park I painted a front-lit scene showing the colors to be much warmer and brighter than when viewed from my usual position of looking into the light.

Oil painting of a palm tree at Indian Temple Mound in Ft. Walton Beach, FL Oil painting of the fall grasses in the sunes of Grayton Beach State Park

The next week our Wednesday painting group, the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, met at the restored train depot in DeFuniak Springs, and we each painted various views around the depot and the surrounding lake yard. I chose a limited palette which included cobalt violet, a color I have carried in my paint-kit for a long time, but rarely use. It mixed well to create many of the red-violets I used to tie my painting together.

Oil painting of the train depot and tracks at DeFuniak Springs, FL, facing east

This past weekend I took a workshop from Keith Martin Johns hosted by my friend Lynn Wilson through her On the Waterfront Gallery in Apalachicola, FL. Keith taught us to paint using a 9-step value-scale from white to black for our method of changing the value of our colors. I never use my ivory black. It was a bit stiff when I squeezed it out of the tube, and I realized the tube may have been as much as 30 years old! Keith and Linda had provided us with photo references, and the assignment was to take two photos with two very different kinds of lighting, one predominantly sky, and the other a landscape, and compose a 24 x 36 painting from the two photos. I felt uncomfortable with the unfamiliar methodology, so it really forced me to stretch and grow, trying something new, with a sky I never would have attempted except for having attended this workshop! My effort is below.

Oil painting of amazing pink clouds swirling into the sunset over a marsh scene, painted in Keith Martin Johns workshop

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These below are the two photo references the instructor provided that I used to create the composition above.

Building Presence as an Artist

September 10, 2015 in General, Landscape, Plein Air by joanvienot

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.41.18 AMConsidering all of the exposure opportunities today, no artist should be “unknown”. With a little footwork and by using my few computer skills, I have solidified my presence as an artist, both in my community and also elsewhere.

First, I try to do my part to support the arts. I volunteer as a member of the Board of Directors of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, serving on the A+Art Committee whose mission is to exhibit member artists work in the community. That, plus my attendance at the local art network meetings, and now serving as Coordinator for the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, have put me in touch with many other artists and art opportunities. And I share literally everything on Facebook. My friends tell me I should be on Instagram too, but for now, I am limiting my time budgeted for social media.

Being involved in public activities gives me opportunity to have my work seen.

It all started when I suddenly found I had a lot more free time after my pool service business growth slowed during the drop in the economy in 2007. I returned to my practice of figure drawing in 2009. In late 2012, I decided I wanted to pursue my art more seriously and I hired a coach, SaraMae Dalferes, for 10 twice-a-month sessions to help me make some changes in my thinking which was very effective in propelling me into action. One change was so simple as putting intended activities on a calendar and making them a priority — it’s amazing how that simple action and a little resolve opened the doors! In 2013, after about 8 years of receiving the weekly notifications, and 8 years of having intended to do this, “someday”, I finally began painting with the local group of plein air painters. My three-year plan was to regain my skills with color-mixing and brushwork in oils, 30 years mostly dormant. Way back then, my medium was watercolor. I dug out my college-era oil paints, identified the ones that were still viable, and started putting together my plein air backpack. The next week I started painting!

Plein air oil painting of Indian Blanketflower at Grayton Beach State Park

Walton Sun: “Western Lake Wildflowers” by Joan Vienot 8×10 $450

While I was practicing figure drawing, in 2010 I started blogging about my work. I have no idea how many people actually read what I write — I don’t study the analytics — because the writing itself is what benefits me as an artist, helping me to realize and absorb what I am doing and how my work and my spirit are growing.

At the end of July of this year, I painted a plein air nocturne at the Blue Moon Drum Circle my best friend Leslie Kolovich organized. She wrote a story about the drum circle for the local arts weekly, The Beachcomber, submitting my painting to illustrate it, and the editor used my painting for the cover photo (above left) and wrote me up as the featured artist for the week: http://npaper-wehaa.com/beachcomber/2015/08/s1/?output=html&article=2590071. Also one of my paintings was selected for an art exhibit at the local hospital, and my painting was one of three used to illustrate the story in the Walton Sun, another weekly paper: http://www.waltonsun.com/article/20150826/NEWS/150829408/16781/ENTERTAINMENT. So that put me in two newspapers in the same week!

Painting created for "Celebrate the Masters", a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master

Jackson Pollock at the Beach, created for CAA/A+Art’s “Celebrate the Masters”, a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock used house-paint to make huge non-representational “all-over” paintings to capture an energy of “allness”. I chose to paint with drips and drizzles akin to Pollock’s, and house paint colors similar to his earlier, subdued palette. Mr. Pollock worked hard to eliminate any figure in the ground, so he would have been horrified to see this iconic dolphin jumping from the water. He also never would have condescended to the 40×30 size restriction of the show for which this was painted! 40×30 $750

I also exhibit whenever possible at our local arts organization’s events. I filled one of the Summertime Tour of Homes houses with plein air works in June of this year for the Cultural Arts Alliance fundraiser. Also one of my paintings was juried into CAA/A+Art’s Top of the Class Show in Santa Rosa Beach, FL, and one of my submissions was selected for Celebrate the Masters in DeFuniak Springs, FL. I also showed two pieces in the annual members’ show for Artists of Apalachicola Area, and I showed two in the member’s exhibit at CAA’s Artsquest Art and Music Festival in the spring. This fall I will be showing 8 or 10 pieces in the Destin Festival of the Arts (Mattie Kelly Art Festival) with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, and two in A+Art’s One Size Fits All. I also participated in the Quickdraw timed paint-out at “The Forgotten Coast En Plein Air”, with the good fortune of selling the piece I painted, on the spot!

Painting created for "Celebrate the Masters", a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master

Mark Rothko at the Beach, created for CAA/A+Art’s “Celebrate the Masters”, a show of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. Mark Rothko’s “color-field” works are intriguing because of their simplicity, coupled with his intention that the viewer stand as close as 18″ away from his 8′ canvases, to be fully immersed in the experience of the artwork. The beach is one of those places where you are immersed in the vastness of the experience. Being a representational artist instead of an abstract expressionist, I decided to paint the beach in sort of a Rothko fashion, using large blocks of color, except in one block indulging in the transition from turquoise blue to the emerald green typical of our local Gulf Coast waters. 36×36 $650

I have been attending the Florida Chautauqua Assembly Plein Air Paint-Out for the past couple of years, and have been asked to instruct a plein air painting workshop at next year’s event. This will launch me on the next step in my career, sharing what I have learned and helping others to enjoy plein air painting!

Also there are the donations to fundraisers, which benefit organizations I wish to support.

It takes some effort, but it has served me well. It’s one thing to be an artist, but it’s another to be recognized, and I am grateful to those individuals and organizations along the way who encourage, support, and provide opportunity. Most especially, I am grateful to the patrons who appreciate and purchase my art! Sales not only validate my efforts; they also pay for the art supplies! After all, a lot of paint goes onto a lot of canvases before one catches the eye of a buyer!

At left is “Jackson Pollock at the Beach”, which was accepted into A+Art’s upcoming show, “Celebrate the Masters”, an exhibit of artwork derivative of and inspired by a recognized master. I also painted and submitted for the same show, “Mark Rothko at the Beach”, at right, but it was was rejected. Making lemonade out of lemons, since I really love the colors and the idea, I am hanging it where I get to see it every day, in the hallway of my businesses, 331 Pool & Beach Supply and Pool Pal.