Commissions Under Pressure – Plein Air at Events

October 18, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air

Oil Painting of Couple Dancing Outdoors by Bridge, Impressionist Style

May, 2014

Those who follow my blog know that I contract to paint plein air at wedding receptions at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet where my plein air paintings are shown.  I blogged about it in May, “Commissioned Works en Plein Air.” So you might think it would become old hat, painting the same setting.  But the colors are different, the sounds change, the plants change, the people are different, and most of all, the light changes, so the challenges are always there, and I must always grow as a result. If the scene feels too familiar, all I need to do is move my easel a little, or turn my head, for a new point of view. I am not so fast as to actually paint the couple on site — instead I paint the surroundings in the hour before the event, and then I take photos and sketch a gesture of their entrance or first dance or whatever scene they choose, and then I may block in the general silhouette of the couple. I complete the painting in the studio. The biggest challenge, in commissioned work, of course is pleasing the client, and that includes working with color choices that compliment or repeat the design colors of the event, and sometimes it includes altering my painting style to lean towards a particular style the client likes.

Oil painting of the bridge and garden at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, plein air preparation for painting a wedding couple's first dance

Plan A, with afternoon light

My most recent contract was a month ago, in September.  I had gotten the time wrong, thinking the newly wedded couple would be making their entrance around 5:30 instead of 7:30, so I was painting the entire back scene with late afternoon light in preparation for adding the couple when they made their entrance. I had planned to catch the couple coming across the bridge over the coy pond, placing them slightly right of center, against the spray of the green bamboo like plant that grows behind the bridge.

When the couple made their entrance at 7:30, my entire painting was wrong — the garden was now illuminated by string lights instead of afternoon sunlight. Plan B:  Start a second painting!!!  I was only minimally prepared for a nocturne, but I needed to get my painter’s sense of the location, the sounds, the vibrancy of the lights, the energy of the party. By painter’s sense, I mean that visceral impression of myself being a participant in the scene and not just an observer. I needed to be able to recall all of it, not just relying on photo references, which convey only a small part of what I try to project. I set up my little lights, one on my palette and one on my painting, and knocked out a study of the light-wrapped trees and the dance patio to help me do the job right when I got back to the studio.

2014-0920 Grayt Grounds Nocturne Study

Plan B, nocturne study

The challenges of painting a nocturne successfully include first of all, believable colors. My palette from the afternoon painting was not the colors I would have chosen if I had planned a nocturne, but I was under the gun to capture the light-wrapped trees and the energy of the gardens so I used my afternoon palette.  I don’t judge the resulting study — it has so much background energy, it looks like the place is on fire — it was perfect for reminding me of some of the feeling I needed to capture, even though I needed to figure out how to paint the light-wrapped trees better.

A little about composition… When I teach, I suggest that my students stick to the safer “rule of thirds” for the focal point, which means putting the focus of the painting on one of the intersections of the horizontal and vertical tri-sections of the painting. By putting the couple smack in the middle of the painting, I was challenged to direct the viewer’s eye. I didn’t want the eye to go straight to the center and just stay there.  I wanted the eye to circle the painting, returning again and again to center, to help the viewer look at the painting for a longer period of time. That required more attention to the crowd than I was visualizing at the actual event, and especially more attention to the figures at the outside edges, who are intended to help the eye circle, and by their body position also help redirect the attention back to center. The scene is dramatized by the blue and red spotlights that were on the couple during their First Dance.

By writing this, I am reminded how many decisions go into making a painting. When painting plein air, those decisions are made on the fly; they are more considered in the studio. To arrange for me to paint plein air at your event, contact Cheri Peebles at Grayt Grounds: http://graytgrounds.com/contact/.

Oil painting of couple dancing outdoors at Grayt Grounds in wedding reception - final piece

 

Commissioned Works En Plein Air

June 6, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air

I recently completed two commissioned assignments in which specific subjects were requested.  In the first case, a specific style also was requested.  Fortunately for me, the stylistic samples I was given, ranged from the light and airy scenes of the French Impressionists to a piece of “outsider art” which had that sort of purely expressive sense of being painted by an artist who has not had formal training.  I was confident I could paint within that wide of a range!

The location of the first commissioned piece was in the gardens at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, at a wedding reception, and my job was to paint the bride and groom’s first dance.  When I arrived to get the background started, the Forrest Williams band was setting up, and the people from Grayton Beach Catering were bustling about.  My background was blocked in when the first guests arrived, and I was enjoying the band singing “She’s as Sweet as Tupelo Honey”.  By the time the guests started arriving, my 10×8 painting was well underway, and a few of the guests would wander over and watch as I worked.  I let one of the children put some color on the bottom part.  When the bride and groom were announced and made their entrance onto the dance floor, I put down my brush and picked up my sketchpad and my camera.  After the dance, I laid in the figures on my nearly finished background and then finished the details in the studio using my sketch and my photos for reference.  Afterwards, I decided to paint another painting in the studio, making effort to paint in a more “Impressionist” style, with layers of short, patterned brushstrokes loaded with color, which was great fun.  (See also my later blog “Commissions under Pressure – Plein Air at Events”.)

Sketch of couple dancing outdoors

Plein air sketch

Oil Painting of Couple Dancing Outdoors by Bridge, Painted en Plein Air

Plein air painting, details in studio

Oil Painting of Couple Dancing Outdoors by Bridge, Impressionist Style

Studio painting

For mobile viewing

Sketch of couple dancing outdoors

Plein air

Oil Painting of Couple Dancing Outdoors by Bridge, Painted en Plein Air

Plein air

Oil Painting of Couple Dancing Outdoors by Bridge, Impressionist Style

Studio

 

The second commission was for Channing Gardner, a real estate agent, for a gift for his client.  My task was to paint the Seagrove Beach property as it was when it was purchased, before anything was built on it.  It took me two mornings to complete it, because of the changing light and the heat.  I opted for a wider format, painting it 12×24, which allowed me to include more of the coastal development to contrast with the empty lot.

Oil painting of central Seagrove Beach westward towards Seaside, showing recently purchased empty lot

June is my busiest time of year in my day job, managing my pool service business, so I was not able to join the local plein air painters yet this summer until things lightened up this week.  We met near the pond at Mystic Port, a small collection of shops and restaurants north of Grayton Beach, Florida.  I was intrigued by the fountain, but never having painted one, I gladly accepted the suggestion of a more experienced artist, to put the splash on the surface of the water and then take a palette knife and drag upwards.  I am happy with the results — I can hearing the water falling.  Other works by our group on that day can be found on our Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.520412828081717.1073741866.285985251524477&type=1.

Oil painting of the fountain splashing at Mystic Port, Grayton Beach, FL

30A Songwriters, Chautauqua, and Girls Getaway, an Exciting 3 Weeks

January 21, 2014 in Landscape, Plein Air

Oil painting of the view from the Oak Marina at Niceville, FloridaI am painting 3 weekends in a row, or at least I plan to.  Let’s just say I’m taking my vitamins, in preparation for that much painting!

Last week I went to the Oak Marina, in Niceville, for the weekly outing with the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters.  It was a bit breezy and chilly, but nothing like the 40 hours below freezing the week before!  I dare say no one here in Northwest Florida was out painting that week!  I know I wasn’t — I was huddled by the fireplace.  This week I just put on my wind pants and turned up my collar.

I was working on a canvas panel that I had underpainted with a sort of a russet color acrylic, which initially I regretted, because it was difficult to cover when I was trying to paint my sky.  Later in the painting I achieved the results I had wanted, when I scratched down to the underpainting for the detail lines.  Accomplished fellow painter Charlotte Arnold told me to feather downward on the juicy paint to turn my splotches into Spanish moss, on the huge oak bordering my painting.

Oil painting of eucalyptus in a blue pot at Grayt Grounds of Monet MonetThis past weekend was highlighted by the annual 30A Songwriters Festival, one of two amazing festivals produced by the Cultural Arts Alliance, the area arts organization here where I live.  I was privileged to work with my friend Leslie Kolovich who produces podcast interviews.  She had several singer-songwriter artists and groups in her studio over the weekend, who performed live and impromptu for us.  You can listen to those podcasts at www.supradioshow.com.  Below is a quick iPhone photo of THE Jeep Rosenberg being interviewed (I love this job).

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Oil painting of Chinese lion statue at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet

In the mornings I painted plein air in the gardens at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, the wonderful coffeeshop and event venue that is displaying some of my work.  They put my work on easels throughout the gardens, for the weekenders strolling through with their coffee, who chatted with me while I painted.  It was downright cold the first day, so I looked like the Michelin Man, dressed in my quilted snowsuit.  The second morning was much warmer, and I enjoyed the sounds of a band playing for the coffeeshop patrons while I painted.  Grayt Grounds is selling my work online too:  Click here!

This weekend on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, January 24-25-26, 2014, I will be painting “on the circle” around the lake in DeFuniak Springs, FL, for the Chautauqua Festival.  A number of painters from our local plein air group will be there, as well as some traveling specifically for this event.  The festival has dedicated a room for us to hang our wet paintings, and has invited us to show our work.  On Friday the 24th, I also will be attending the opening reception for the A+Art “Outdoor Magic” exhibit of plein air paintings at the South Walton Center of Northwest Florida State College.  I might still be in my painting clothes!!

And the weekend after that, on Superbowl weekend, I will be painting in Rosemary Beach, during the Girls Getaway, again with other local plein air painters.

Anyone can paint at these events.  If you want to paint with us, you may contact me through this website and I will put you in touch Beckie Perrott, who graciously informs us of all these plein air opportunities.

This last painting I made this weekend, was one of the two stone Chinese lion statues in the gardens at Grayt Grounds.  With the typical bugged-out eyes, and a large pearl in his mouth, this iconic statue was harder to paint than I thought it would be.  I ended up not painting much of the surrounding foliage, spending most of the time trying to capture his face.  This lion was different than most of this type.  Most of these are in pairs, as is this set, and the male lion has a ball under his right foot, and the female an inverted cub under her left foot, but this lion has a four-legged critter sitting under his right foot, a critter I could not identify.  I’ll have to ask the owner, who owns the jewelry store next to the coffeeshop.

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

 

The Present Moment – Artist Joan Vienot

October 27, 2013 in Landscape, Plein Air

PhotoByJeffreyJonesI am thrilled to be showing my paintings at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet in Grayton Beach, Florida, November 2-17, 2013.  The opening reception will be November 2, 2013, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM.  My show is titled “The Present Moment”.  I chose that title because the show features my plein air paintings, which are for the most part painted outside, in the open air, on location.  As such, painting ‘en plein air’ is a very temporal effort, constrained by weather, lighting, bugs, heat or cold, you name it, requiring the artist to be very much “in the present moment”, with mind and senses completely focused on the work and not wandering to yesterday’s political discussion or tomorrow’s fun workshop or how much laundry is waiting at home.  I also will be showing some studio pieces painted in a plein air style.

Here are some of the announcements and stories about  my coming show.  The first one is the one I am especially excited to share with you, a 20-minute live interview with Claire Bannerman, produced by www.supradioshow.com.  You will hear me explain my take on the process of painting and how it can be so very different from the product which the viewer sees, and you will hear a little about my personal history and my involvement in the art scene of South Walton County in Northwest Florida, where I live.

SUP Radio Show — Your Global Art Showcase with Claire Bannerman — Artist Joan Vienot Debuts in Grayton Beach Florida: http://www.supradioshow.com/2013/10/artist-joan-vienot-debuts-grayton-beach-florida-sup-radio/  (The podcast interview media player is at the bottom of the text on that page.)

Walton Outdoors — Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet to Showcase Local Artist Joan Vienot Nov. 2-17 — http://www.waltonoutdoors.com/grayt-grounds-of-monet-monet-to-showcase-local-artist-joan-vienot-nov-2-17/

SoWal — Reception and Exhibit Opening for Local Artist Joan Vienot Nov 2 — http://sowal.com/story/reception-and-exhibit-opening-for-local-artist-joan-vienot-nov-2

Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County — “The Present Moment” Joan Vienot’s Debut Exhibition — http://www.culturalartsalliance.com/node/520

Below is my plein air painting of Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, in Grayton Beach, Florida, painted across the street from the building and front gardens in September of this year.

Oil Painting of Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, modeled after Giverny

 

 

 

 

The Present Moment — A Showing of My Art

October 17, 2013 in Landscape, Plein Air

Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet to showcase local artist Joan Vienot Nov. 2 – 17

“The Present Moment” show features landscapes painted in oil

A story by Lori Ceier, Walton Outdoors, http://www.waltonoutdoors.com/grayt-grounds-of-monet-monet-to-showcase-local-artist-joan-vienot-nov-2-17/

Artist Joan Vienot painting plein air at Grayt Grounds. Her work will be featured Nov. 2 – 17. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

A one woman show of works by Walton artist Joan Vienot will be on display at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet in Grayton Beach Nov. 2 – 17, 2013. Opening night is Nov. 2 from 5 – 8 p.m.

Cheri Peebles, owner of Grayt Grounds is excited about the show.

“My idea is to have a coffee house that is diversified and a service. Featuring local artists is good for the community and neighborhood,” said Peebles.

Joan Vienot’s history of making art in Walton County goes back to the first gallery in Grayton Beach who showcased her watercolor paintings of the dune lakes, Bay, the Gulf, and all things that grow and flourish along the coast. Her passion for the natural beauty of this area has led her to become a fine art painter. Vienot’s outdoor paintings done ‘en plein air,’ in the moment, capture the beauty we recognize as the paradise we live in here in Walton County.

The show will feature her plein air style 8”x10” oils on canvas offered in an affordable price range. There will be between 40 -50 works on display.

“I paint what I see, in the moment, which is reflected in my preference for figure drawing and plein air painting.  The greatest pleasure for me as an artist is the capture of the present moment, a little piece of Now, or at least my impression of the Now.  When painting on site outdoors, or figure drawing, the scene or the pose is very likely to change during the process of drawing or painting it.  I enjoy that hurried pace, the rush of the capture, the challenge of the media, and the ongoing quest for quick mastery.  In each case, the subject must be portrayed in fairly general terms, with only enough detail to lend unique identity and a little atmosphere.  I must forgive myself for a bit of inaccuracy in favor of conveying the essence of the subject in an abbreviated period of time, rarely doing much correcting when I return to the studio, preferring to let my interpretation of the moment stand on its own,” said Vienot.

Below find a sampling what you may see at Vienot’s show:

Clement-Taylor-Park-1 Grayt-Grounds-at-Monet-Monet-1 Grayton-Bch-St-Pk-1
Morning Bayou Pompano-Nicks-Restaurant Port-St.-Joe-Mist

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joansmAbout Joan Vienot
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.

Recent exhibits and publications:
• Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters booth at ArtsQuest 2013
• Scenes of South Walton, 2012, Honorable Mention for “Aster Reflected,” at Hidden Lantern Gallery
• CAA Directors Show, 2012, Bayou Arts Center
• A Passion for Art, 2012, A+Art, Northwest Florida State College
• Figure It Out, 2011, Studio b
• Photography for The Stand Up Paddle Radio Show: published in The Paddler ezine, and Standup Journal

To learn more, go to joanvienot.com.