Habits and Routines in the Artistic Process

August 18, 2017 in Figure Drawing, Landscape, Plein Air

I am struggling with an absence of routine. Without it, certain basic maintenance tasks are neglected. I like to get up in the morning, have a cup of coffee, read something inspirational, and write my 5 gratitudes, and do a short meditation before I get my day underway. But lately I have been getting sidetracked into the day’s business as soon as I get my coffee — starting with email correspondence, news, and social media updates, and I never get back to my morning quiet time. My life has been complicated by a pesky knee injury which has required a good deal of physical therapy and greatly reduced my physical activity. I am coming out of that phase in my life, increasing my activity, improving my nutrition, and I intend to restore routine to my life.

I used to blog weekly. I couldn’t believe my eyes this morning when I saw that my last post was 2 months ago. This was a certain message that I need to re-organize my life.

It’s not that I haven’t gotten things done, or that I have neglected my spiritual and psychological health. But I have neglected a lot of things, obviously blogging being one of them.

So why does that matter? Because blogging is one of my chief way of assessing progress, with a little introspection on the side. Self-assessment is essential for monitoring progress.

In brief, projects accomplished and actions taken over the past two months:

  • Continued coordinating and attending weekly Wednesday morning plein air painting excursions with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, with the goal of maintaining community among the painters, and maintaining if not improving my skills.
  • Organized and hung a small exhibit of works by the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters in the lobby of Northwest Florida State College South Walton Center, with the goal of constantly exposing young minds to plein air painting, and with the end goal of creating appreciation for the genre, encouraging young artists, and perhaps inviting future participation and patronage.
  • Served as coordinator for a juried exhibit of plein air paintings for my local arts alliance at the Foster Gallery, preliminary to an event we are planning for this fall.
  • Completed my 4 months of physical therapy for IT Band Syndrome due to knee arthritis (what a pain!!)
  • Vacationed in Montana for a week with my sisters from Colorado, and their families, and visited my 97-year-old Dad in his senior home in Colorado, and shared pie with my brother and his family there.
  • Completed a commissioned painting for a patron.
  • Exhibited in two special exhibits at the Foster Gallery – showing two plein air paintings in Outdoor Magic 2017, and a figurative piece in Faces & Figures.
  • Studied DVD’s by plein air painters Laurel Daniel and Joseph McGurl.

Below are studies and works done over the past couple of months.

Oil painting of the "umbrella trees" at Western Lake in Grayton Beach, FL, at dawn, a commissioned work 8"x48"

See full-size at Umbrella Trees at Dawn. This painting was commissioned by local friends who had a very specific space where they wanted to hang it in their house, a space roughly 9″ x 60″. The painting is 8″ x 48″. They gave me the subject, an iconic local treeline that we know as the “umbrella trees”, at Western Lake near Grayton Beach, Florida. They wanted to see it every morning and smile. So I chose dawn.

 

Oil painting of the first light of dawn coming over the mountain to kiss the grassy hill at Green Bear Ranch, Eureka, MT

The first light of dawn coming over the mountain to kiss the grassy hill at Green Bear Ranch, Eureka, MT, painted en plein air while on vacation with family two weeks ago. (click photo for larger image)

Oil painting of the road cut across Dickey Lake, MT, on a day hazy from the smoke of forest fires in BC, Canada.

Plein air painting of the road cut across Dickey Lake, Montana, on a day hazy from the smoke of forest fires in BC, Canada. (click photo for larger image)

Oil painting of the grassy rise edging the roadside park between Basin Bayou and Villa Tasso on the Choctawhatchee Bay in Florida

A roadside park in Choctaw Beach, on the Choctawhatchee Bay in NW Florida, painted en plein air. (click photo for larger image)

Oil painting of the lake at Lincoln Park in Niceville, FL, with the muted colors of a cloudy day

View from Lincoln Park, Niceville, FL, on a cloudy day, painted en plein air. (click photo for larger image)

Oil painting of a V-bottomed boat at Nick's Restaurant on the Choctawhatchee Bay at Basin Bayou near Freeport, FL

V-bottomed boat at Nick’s Restaurant on the Choctawhatchee Bay at Basin Bayou near Freeport, FL, painted en plein air. (click photo for larger image)

Oil studies of the light on the water at Thomas Pilcher Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL

Plein air studies of the light on the water at Thomas Pilcher Park in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. (click photo for larger image)

Oil painting of a bend in the creek, showing the transparent tannin-stained water over the sand bar, at Turkey Creek in Niceville, FL

Plein air painting of the a bend in the creek, showing the transparent tannin-stained water over the sand bar, at Turkey Creek in Niceville, FL. (click photo for larger image)

I drew Katie and Marley for a special exhibit by my local arts alliance called “Faces & Figures” at The Foster Gallery. Katie is a neighbor in my community who walks her dog in Eden Gardens State Park. On this day, she was sitting on the bench up by the bayou. The paper actually is a very light blue — the camera incorrectly corrected for color-cast. (click photo for larger image)

As always, contact me if interested in available art or a commission.

 

Adjust, Adapt, Accommodate – Painting through Challenges

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

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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Blue Moon Drum Circle Nocturne en Plein Air

August 1, 2015 in Figure Drawing, Landscape, Plein Air

Nocturne en plein air, Oil painting of a drum circle on the beach on the night of the blue moon, 7/31/15

Blue moon is the term for the second full moon in a single month. The color of the moon is normal, not actually blue. It happens about every 3 years. Painting the blue moon is an opportunity that comes, well (forgive me), only once in a blue moon. So I had to paint, instead of beating a drum, at the Blue Moon Drum Circle last night. My dear friend Leslie Kolovich organizes drum circles once a month, usually in her studio. It had been touch and go whether we would be able to meet on the beach for the moonrise, the weather forecast changing by the hour. The night before, she and I had actually come up with Plan B in case we were rained out, creating a slide presentation of images of the blue moon (most of them tinted blue) that we found on the internet, that we would project onto one wall of her studio, sized to cover the whole wall. But we were thrilled that Plan A worked out. Being a plein air painter and a nature enthusiast, I think that anything outdoors is infinitely preferable to being indoors.

I quickly set up while the drum circle participants socialized. I used a wash of red and black acrylic paint to tone my 8×10 stretched canvas before I started. I was eliminating the stark white of the canvas, so that distracting white hollows of the canvas texture would not show underneath if my hasty brushstrokes skipped across the canvas in my hurry to capture what I knew would be quickly-fading light. I am an oil painter, and I wanted my wash to be dry before I started – the reason for the wash being acrylic.

I joined the drum circle for the stating of goals. Leslie explained that the energy and timing of the blue moon is perfect for enlisting the support of others in the attainment of our goals, if spoken out loud. We all listened to each others goals — mine to someday retire and become a full-time painter. Afterwards the group began drumming, an easy gentle beat, while I returned to my easel to lay in the basic shapes of the beach, the dune skyline, the Gulf of Mexico, and the sky. The sound of the waves added an ebb and flow to the rhythm of the drums. Occasionally someone would start chanting, and I smiled when someone led everyone in a couple of wonderful howls, calling to the moon that was still beneath the horizon.

When it became difficult to distinguish the colors on my palette, I turned on my tiny book lights — one for my canvas and one for my palette. Shortly after that, I heard someone “Ohhhhh” over the sound of the drums, and a couple of people stood and craned their necks towards the distant coastline,and I saw a glow behind one of the structures on the beach. They, with their view unobstructed, saw the reddish moon peeking over the dunes. In a few minutes I did too, a beautiful red-orange orb, bright enough to make the close clouds glow.

Every painter is familiar with the anxiety of having a nervous twitch just at the moment of laying the brush tip on the canvas to render a detail. It’s worse when you are painting a starkly contrasting color. Especially orange. “Confidence, my lady, do not fear!” And just that fast, the moon was in the painting! Soon after that, I stopped, picked up my paints and backpack and trekked back to my car. I took a photo of my painting and texted it to Leslie along with a few photos of the group at sunset.Then I rejoined the group for a little drumming of my own.

But there was something bothering me about the painting that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Later, when Leslie received my texts, she texted back, “The beach looks like snow.” That’s a common description of our sugar-white sand beaches here on the Emerald Coast of Northwest Florida, but I wondered what I needed to do to make it look more like a beach. Then it dawned on me — beach vegetation! So this morning I popped in a little vegetation suggesting sea oats in front of the dunes, and that made all the difference. I pronounced the painting Done.

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Below is a pen-and-ink sketch of another one of our drum circles, drawn inside Leslie’s studio during the drumming.

Pen-and-ink sketch of drummers in a drum circle

Giclée prints available, 6×15 stretched canvas $90; 6×15 paper $45.

 

 

The Practice of Art

July 10, 2015 in Figure Drawing, Landscape, Plein Air

Certain pursuits are referred to as a practice. We think of the practice of law, the practice of medicine, the practice of meditation. I consider my art to be a practice — I practice figure drawing, I practice plein air painting. I think of it as lifelong learning, each painting or drawing a new experience.

I stopped figure drawing a few years ago when the logistics became more difficult, and instead I began plein air painting. Now, when I go to the life drawing sessions my local arts alliance supports, I find my practice a little rusty. But thanks to my friend Melanie Cissone for bringing the local figure drawing opportunities back to life, figure drawing is getting easier again. Bohlert-Massey Interiors in Seacrest Beach, Florida, has been selling my figurative pieces and suddnely I am hard-pressed to re-supply their stock, so I am happy that my practice is paying off.

Below are some recent works from both of my practices. Click on them and use the attached form to message me if you are interested.

Thanks for visiting! If you would like to receive notifications of my new posts as I publish them, click on the Subscribe to New Posts box in the sidebar.

 

Plein air oil painting of the herons on the bridge at Veteran's Park, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Florida

Plein air oil painting of the "umbrella trees" from the south shore of Western Lake at Grayton Beach State Park

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

Figure drawing of older child-fashion-model

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tipping the Balance From Entrepreneur To Artist

December 14, 2014 in Figure Drawing, Landscape, Plein Air

 

Oil painting of crepe myrtle flowers, in Julie Gilbert Pollard workshop
Oil Painting of Reflecting Pool at Eden Gardens State Park
Still Life Encaustic
Figure Encaustic
Encaustic 2012
Seahorses
Oil painting of Shorty's Surfside in Grayton Beach, Florida
2011-1109 Reclining on back
Oil painting of soft grass at edge of Hogtown Bayou
Oil painting of Western Lake looking towards 30A, at Grayton Beach State Park
2012-1216 Tulum Sunrise North
Oil painting of the old pier at Camp Helen State Park, Panama City Beach, FL

Although I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Fine Art with a certificate to teach, and did teach for 3 years, I actually produced art for only about 6 more years after moving to Florida and becoming consumed by owning and operating a pool service business. Thirty years have come and gone, and now I am reversing the process, practicing more art while allowing my business to run more and more on its own steam. I still depend on my business to pay the bills, while I continue to re-develop my skills as an artist. A few weeks ago I felt the energy shift, tipping the balance from entrepreneur to artist, and I found myself much more highly attuned to my art and my efforts to support the arts. It literally felt like a teeter-totter under my feet had begun to tip to the other side. The column of images to the right shows the number of sales this past week, which greatly reinforces my perception that things have changed.

I continue to paint plein air with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, and also I am excited to be practicing figure drawing again (“life drawing”), thanks to the organization of the program by fellow local artist Melanie Cissone and the generosity of Allison Wickey who is letting us use the space at her A.Wickey Studio-Gallery for our twice-a-month drawing sessions.  I’m a little rusty but find it just as exhilarating as ever — the pace is 100 mph, trying to capture the essence of the pose before the time is up! Below is my final effort in last week’s session.

2014-1111 with the model

Figure drawing of female reclining on side

It was bitter cold at our plein air session this week.  We painted at Red Bay Grocery, in Red Bay, Florida.  The grocery is a favorite for locals, stocked with the bare minimum plus local honey and such. A third of the space is the dining area, and another third is the kitchen, where home-cooked specials are served every day. I had toned my canvas a buff color, and when it was time for critique, I hadn’t painted the sky.  The group almost convinced me to leave the sky the buff background color, but after i got back to my studio, it just wasn’t how I had pictured it, so I quickly dashed in the light blue sky, and heightened a few contrasts to help it “read”. I seldom do much of anything with my plein air paintings when I get back to the studio, firstly preferring the pure plein air experience, and secondly, never quite remembering exactly what it looked like that would be different from how I painted it. Below is my painting of the Red Bay Grocery, and beside it, my friend, fellow painter Ed Nickerson‘s painting of me in my baggy falling-down snow britches.

Plein air oil painting of the Red Bay Grocery, Red Bay, FL

Red Bay Grocery – Joan Vienot

By Ed Nickerson

Joan – Ed Nickerson

Our painters group has members from a wide geographic area. Last week I drove for an hour to meet up with the group. Sometimes I stay home and paint, but it’s good to get out and see things that are new, and it’s always good to meet up with the other painters.  It feels like family. We painted at Lincoln Park, in Valparaiso, FL.  The light and shadows were outstanding, everywhere you looked. But they changed rapidly through the course of the painting — you had to choose a light patterns nd just stick with it.  That underscores the importance of making a value sketch first, to help me remind myself what attracted me to a scene in the first place. Below is my piece.

Oil painting of the autumn view from the south end of Lincoln Park in Valparaiso, FL

 

Making Sense in Plein Air

August 25, 2013 in Landscape, Plein Air

FWB Yacht ClubUgh!  Boats again!  Last week we met at a yacht club, and as much as I love sailing, and water sports of any kind actually, I certainly struggle when we paint boats.  Parked in the middle of a giant circle drive were every kind imaginable of dinghies, sunfish, motorboats, rowboats, sailboats, you name it, in various stages of neglect and disrepair, to one side of the more manicured grounds and view of the docked yachts.  I chose to paint the clutter.  I wisely drew the shapes first, spending some time in what I imagined to be organization of geometric shapes, but that preparation did not keep me from getting lost in my own composition, numerous times.  I was barely halfway done when fellow painter Sandra strolled past with her completed painting, and I asked her if she was going to do another, and she said, “Joan, it’s 11:00, it’s time for critique!”

It’s always a thrill to see what the other painters have managed to do during the same time period.  We all are having essentially the same experience in the same location, but looking at everything from another point of view and with varying media and skill levels, so rarely are any two pictures similar.  I can safely say that no one did anything as hodgepodge as my composition.  I still am trying to make sense of it, even after coming home and finishing it in my studio.  I think the shapes all give the right idea, but I’m not sure if anyone would guess that this actually is not my first painting ever.

Oil painting of parked boats at a yacht club

 

Figure Work After Months of Landscapes

August 9, 2013 in Figure Drawing

Fellow plein air painter Judy Dewar initiated her new studio by inviting a few artists over to work from a live model.  It was a pleasure working beside Judy, Beckie Perrott, and Marian Pacsuto.  I initially intended to paint for the whole session, but a repair contractor was supposed to come to my house, so I needed to be ready to leave on short notice.  I took drawing supplies, thinking I would draw until the contractor called, meet him and let him in and come back to Judy’s studio to paint for the rest of the session.  The contractor had not called by lunchtime, so I never got out my paints.  I enjoyed the 2- and 5-minute warm-ups, using charcoal on good manilla newsprint and on gray student-quality paper before moving on to a 20-minute session using my favorite drawing media – graphite and white nupastel.  I drew on tan-tinted Mi-Tientes paper, which has a nice squared texture.  For my last piece, over the course of two 30-minute sessions, I used some oil pastels which I had never used before.  I had a student-quality set of oil pastel crayons that I’d had for years and years, and a dime-store set of oil pencils for the finer work, both of which I brushed with turpentine after laying in the colors.  I gave that final drawing to the model.  Below are my warm-ups and my two final pieces.  By clicking on them you will get a larger view.

Most of my paintings and images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

Gesture drawing, 2 gowned females, standing Gesture drawing, female seated in gown, knee up, with attitude Gesture drawing, female seated in gown, holding knee up Gesture drawing, female seated in gown, twisting
Drawing of woman in blue gown, dozing against pillows Painting of blue-gowned woman sitting against pillows

Painting Plein Air at Nick’s

March 20, 2013 in Landscape, Plein Air

My view of the boats at Nicks

Today the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters painted at Nick’s Restaurant on the north side of the Choctawhatchee Bay.  When I first arrived, one other painter was already setting up.  I walked around the derelict boats and dinghies decorating the grounds, following the Bay beach to the inlet and then up around the aged structure of the restaurant itself, shooting photos with my iPhone as I went.  A painting could be made from everywhere I looked.  I settled on the old boats lined up in the front yard. By the time I had gotten my easel set-up and made a preliminary pencil-on-paper sketch to try to lay-out my composition, about 10 to 12 more artists had arrived.

Most boats around here are white, but the boat in the foreground was red, and that color was the element that interested me.  I painted nearly every other part of the picture first, saving the red boat for last.  But as I worked, I cursed my choice of subject matter, having once again chosen to paint boats, which I know almost nothing about.  My biggest struggle was with the shape of the boat in the background.  The cabin morphed into an odd shaped roof over what I presume might have been sleeping quarters, but which now sported a gaping hole, a mate to the hole in the deck at the back of the boat.  Its one redeeming feature, besides its mass, was the turquoise color of the bottom.

Boats at Nick's

A tiny sliver of the Bay on the far left, and a nondescript structure in the background were the only hints at the location, but anyone who has eaten at Nick’s will recognize the boats.  The sandy beach was dotted with little grasses and vines, and I took liberty with that part of the painting, bringing in a few taller grasses, to break up the large area of plain beach, and to repeat a few reds.

When we lined up our paintings for the critique before lunch, I again was amazed and overwhelmed by the talent in the group.  One of the artists made a comment that caught my curiosity.  He was expressing frustration about a car pulling up and blocking his view, after he had already mixed all his colors and was ready to paint.  I have never approached my painting that way, instead mixing my colors as I go.  I may have to watch him paint sometime, to see how that works.

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot

Story by Lori Ceier, on www.waltonoutdoors.com

March 10, 2013 in General, Landscape, Plein Air

Bringing our surroundings to life a natural process for South Walton artist Joan Vienot

Lori Ceier, Walton Outdoors

http://www.waltonoutdoors.com/bringing-our-surroundings-to-life-a-natural-for-south-walton-artist-joan-vienot/

 

Joan Vienot paints plein air along the Destin Harbor. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Joan Vienot paints plein air along the Destin Harbor. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Point Washington resident Joan Vienot is on the path to fulfilling a lifelong desire of becoming a professional artist. After 45 years in the aquatic industry and only occasionally investing time, Vienot is now dedicating two days a week to creating fine art.

Growing up in the small town of Brighton, Colorado, Vienot always enjoyed drawing and painting, and knew at a very young age it was something she wanted to pursue.

“The first publication of my art was when I was seven years old. My second-grade teacher asked the class to illustrate and write stories about astronaut John Glenn circling the earth. Many of my classmates’ stories were printed in the local newspaper, but mine was the only drawing published. I was so embarrassed that my story didn’t merit publication, not realizing how special it was for my drawing to be recognized,” said Vienot.

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Recent work from journey to North Carolina. Photo courtesy JoanVienot.com.

Recent work from journey to North Carolina. Photo courtesy JoanVienot.com.

Vienot’s passion for creating has now fully evolved into lush, colorful interpretations of our surroundings. Landscapes, figure drawings, still life and photography are just a few of the mediums Vienot has facilitated to create remarkable works of art.

Be on the lookout for Vienot’s work in local galleries in the near future. Meanwhile, you just might find her plein air painting one of our scenic landscapes in and around Walton County.

Vienot has a BA in Fine Art from the University of Northern Colorado. In addition to teaching art to high school students, she is involved as a volunteer for the arts in Walton County, serving on the board of directors for the Cultural Arts Alliance and co-chairing the A+Art Committee for CAA, which showcases member artists’ work at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College.

To learn more about Joan Vienot and her work, go to joanvienot.com.

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An Ideal Day

February 26, 2013 in Landscape

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I have set a goal this year, to make a transition in my life, to live at least two days a week as an artist by the end of this year.  It may happen lot sooner than that.  It all started when I decided to hold myself accountable for not yet having made the leap.  Frankly, I’ve been fearful that I would not be able to support myself with my art, a legitimate concern up until this point, since I have been sporadic in my production of art.  To support my fear, I have used every excuse not to be more prolific, or in many cases, to go days without sketching or painting.  My most frequent excuse is that I do not have time.  Guess what — I do have time — I’ve been less than truthful with myself.  I simply have chosen to use my time for other purposes, instead of for producing art.

I hired a coach, to give me suggestions and feedback for making progress towards my goal.  One of the things she asked me, was what an ideal day would be like for me. I described waking up rested, taking some time for meditation and then working out or paddling or doing some other fitness-oriented activity, followed by a visit to a gallery or some other “artist-date”, and then painting all afternoon, probably plein air painting, followed by a cultural event in the evening, perhaps a play or dance theater or a musical performance.  But then I thought to myself, about a week later, that if I had described that as my ideal day, then why had I not ever had an ideal day, and I realized then and there that I was lying to myself, because I have had unscheduled days before, but have not ever done all the things that would make up an ideal day.

So when one of my best friends called last week and asked another friend and me over for breakfast on Sunday, and I declined because I had other tentative plans, I instead invited her over to my art studio on Saturday because I intended to paint.  She is a writer, so I asked her to bring her paper so she could write while I painted.  She offered to bring breakfast.  Meanwhile, Saturday brought incredibly bad weather with it, and another friend decided to cancel a trip to see a client, and instead came over to my house to wait out the rain and to work on a drawing she was making.  So the morning found the three of us in my studio, painting and talking and solving the world’s problems.  I made a small painting of some young bananas growing on a tree that I had photographed on North Caicos a few weeks ago.  At left is the sequence of development.

I cannot describe the creative spirit that filled the studio while we talked and worked.  I was in awe of the circumstances that brought us all together, and the energy of the dynamics.  Both friends left around midday, and I took another half-hour or so to finish my painting, before going upstairs to get my house ready for the evening activity.  I had invited 6 friends to participate in “The Art of Seeing” class which Ponce de Leon, FL, artist Mary Moses teaches through her gallery, HRMagoo.  I still needed to trim the legs on 3 of my stools so everyone would be comfortable at my art table, and I needed to go to the deli to pick up the supper wraps I would be serving.

Mary brought a friend with her, guitarist/artist/singer/songwriter Sharon Johnson, who played her guitar and sang while the rest of us learned the Art of Seeing.  Mary demonstrated, toning a plywood board with charcoal and then showing us how she picked out shapes and faces from the patterns in the wood grain, and then developed them.  We all dove in, everyone in the group helping each other “find” shapes in their panels, with a good amount of laughter, all inspired, often awed, always positive, and occasionally raunchy, and all in all, a lot of fun.  The time flew, and we all had a great time.

I think I probably could continue to work on my panel, but I am surprised and happy with what I did so I may just call it finished as is.  It is not at all like any art I have ever made before, and it is uniquely my own, in that I drew the shapes and faces that for the most part I alone saw, and in my own way, without pre-planning the composition.  I found a number of faces on my panel, including a few aliens and a horse and two elephants and a covey of birds.  I assign significance and meaning to it which no doubt would alarm my some of my friends and family and perhaps cause them to look askance at me, so I’ll leave that unexplained for now, and settle for letting you do the interpreting and drawing your own meaning from it.  It is below left.

I would say that this day qualified as an ideal day.

I painted the pelican, below right, a couple of days later, using a reference photo from my vacation on Providenciales in January.

Most of my images are available for purchase.  Contact me if you are interested. — Joan Vienot