I am exhibiting 5 selected works from my Sea & Sky Collection at J. Leon Gallery in Miramar Beach, Florida, from October through December, 2020. Below is the press release for the First Friday Sip’N’Stroll on October 2, 2020.
J.Leon Gallery + Studio Debuts Four New Artists at Sip N’ Stroll Event
“J. Leon Gallery + Studio Sip N’ Stroll event showcases four new artists, a live artist painting, and champagne for guests to enjoy”
Destin, FL – (October 2020)… On Friday, October 2, 2020, J.Leon Gallery + Studio, the area’s newest fine art gallery, hosted their second Sip N’ Stroll event and debuted four new artists. The gallery welcomes new artists, Estelle Grengs, Joan Vienot, Sereen Gualtieri, and Susan Lucas to their talented lineup of eleven featured artists.
"We are so happy to welcome these new artists. Each artist brings new life to the already vibrant band of artists featured at the gallery. We encourage guests to stop by and take a look at what these new introductions have to offer."
- Jason Lindblad, Owner & Artist, JLeon Gallery + Studio
(Artists From Left to Right – Sereen Gualtieri, Susan Lucas, Kathy Schumacher, Estelle Grengs, Joan Vienot, Jason Lindblad)
Artist, Kathy Schumacher
During the Sip N’ Stroll event guests received a first look at the gallery’s new Fall Art Installations featuring eleven talented artists from the Okaloosa/Walton area. Visitors took a tour of the gallery and the fully functioning ceramics studio while enjoying wine, champagne, and light eats. An evening filled with creativity, guests also experienced a live painting by artist, Kathy Schumacher. Upcoming Sip N’ Stroll Dates: Friday, November 6, 2020 | 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. Friday, December 4, 2020 | 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
With the safety of guests, artists, and staff as our top priority, guests have the freedom to wear a mask and social distance during the event.
J.Leon Gallery + Studio is open from Tuesday to Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The gallery is closed on Sundays and Mondays. For additional information, class and workshop signup, and to view upcoming events visit jleongallery.com and follow the gallery on Facebook and Instagram.
J.Leon Gallery + Studio 13370 US Highway 98, Miramar Beach, Florida 32550 Phone: 850.842.3051
J.Leon Gallery + Studio is the area’s newest, fine art destination. Born with a vision to make high-end art attainable for everyone, J.Leon supports and promotes its artists while presenting guests with unique ways to engage with and uncover their next favorite work of art. More than a gallery, J.Leon is home to a working ceramics studio and offers a robust calendar of events and classes. Art is for everyone! Artists and art appreciators will not want to miss the opportunity to call J. Leon Gallery + Studio their creative home.
…for the prospect of an exhibit at Anne Hunter Galleries in Seaside, Florida in the spring of 2020 gave way to floundering aimlessly for a while. Did you get the COVID-Blues? I sure did!
Initially my world was turned upside-down by the abrupt closure of my just-opened exhibit and the resulting kibosh on my art marketing strategy. And then the nightly news turned ghastly, and I became a victim of what has been called “doom-scrolling” on my phone, hopping from one awful news story to the next, constantly searching for true assessments of how bad it all really was, a sure-fire way to kill your muse. My routines were disrupted completely. In a desperate attempt at regaining control over something, anything, in my life, I started having my morning coffee and doing my morning readings and meditation downstairs in my studio instead of in my quiet room. At least that got me into the studio every day. It was a start!
I have partnered with fellow-artist and friend Cheryl Ploegstra for monthly accountability progress reports on art production and goals. That helps a lot with pandemic survival – it requires a little bit of record-keeping, and record-keeping proves to me that I am not really floundering — I actually am producing a good deal of work. Sales are slow, so I am grateful to have completed a few commissions. I’ll show you a couple, later on in this post.
I’m using my more plentiful free time to to refresh my painting and drawing skills. And I continue to step outside of my comfort zone by learning new media. The illuminated letter “E” at the beginning of this post is one such effort, in which I learned how to apply gold leaf in a workshop taught by fellow local artist Elia Saxer, and I received an introduction to water-miscible oil paints in a workshop taught by Patti Overholt. Below are samples of those media.
Palette-knife painting is a technique of applying paint which I don’t use very often, so I have been practicing on a few pieces. Below are some recent efforts using a palette knife, that I completed at one of my weekly plein air group sessions.
Being grateful helps to ward off what I call the COVID-Blues. One large gratitude I have is for social media — I use it to stay inspired and to share my own work. I find Instant refreshment in the steady stream of awe-inspiring work from the artists I follow on Instagram. My account on Instagram is @JoanVienotArt. It includes my weekly plein air work, other paintings, commissions, demo’s, and workshop efforts. Posts on my Instagram account also post to my Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/JoanVienotArt/. Take a look — I’ve been busy!
Commissions, yes, commissions! I will paint the scene in person at your event. You can find more information about my live event painting on my Weddings page,30AWeddingPainter.com. Two months ago I painted at a garden party / birthday party, pictured below. The optimal lighting happened right after the sun went down, when there was enough contrast for the decoration lights to really begin to glow while the brilliant colors of late daylight still bathed the scene. Because the lighting effect was momentary, I ended up completing some of this painting over the next few weeks in the studio. This one was so much fun. Even the drink glasses had lights in them!
The piece pictured above was commissioned by my friend and retirement manger Shelley Albarado. It was based on a photo of the famous Fearless Girl and Charging Bull sculptures on Wall Street, as photographed by Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images. I did not paint an exact copy, but it certainly is obvious as derivative. I felt the people standing behind the bull in the photo did not contribute to the effect I wanted, so I re-composed it without them. I noted in the caption that I had purchased from Getty Images a license to use this image. That’s important to me, to always acknowledge and have the express permission of the photographer if I am using someone else’s image. After all, photographers are artists. I know that it takes a long time for a photographer to get the composition and lighting exactly right, and then to do the post-processing to enhance and improve the image. My preference is to shoot the photo myself if I am going to use reference photos, so that I have made all of the decisions about the composition, and have a memory of the atmosphere of the scene. But that would have entailed a trip into the past, because the Fearless Girl has been moved to another location.
One of the cartoons during this pandemic shows an artist at work, contrasted with an artist at work during a pandemic, and the two cartoon frames are identical. If only that were the case. Personally, I struggle to keep my spirits up. So much sickness and death! In my state alone the total number of deaths is 2½ times the number of people killed in 9/11. My hope is that I never become numb to this tragedy. If I were to become numb, then I would have to hang up my paintbrushes. As an artist, I feel it is imperative that I stay in touch with all of my feelings so that the art I produce does not become superficial. I wish health and safety for everyone reading this, and comfort in our losses.
Sometimes life gives you lemons. Or a pandemic. Such was the case with my Sea & Sky exhibit. On March 16, 2020, just a few days after my opening reception, the commercial district in Seaside, Florida, including Anne Hunter Galleries, began closing to help slow the initial spread of the Novel Coronavirus COVID-19. My sisters and brothers-in-law had come out from Colorado to have a beach vacation at the same time as my exhibit opening, and their being here during this confusion gave me some sense of continuity and stability. But within a few days, like so many of you, I felt like my world was tipped upside-down. All of my marketing plans for the last year and for the next couple of years were tied to this, my first exhibit of larger works. I had scheduled six Monday demos for the public and seven Thursday night Meet-the-Artist receptions to which I had intended to invite real estate agents, designers, realtors, and architects from my fast-growing community.
My talented niece, Briar Rose Consulting, my website and marketing consultant, quickly created a Virtual Exhibit on my website and I promoted it through social media and by resending cards and postcards to everyone I had initially sent announcements to. In May I moved the entire collection to Krista Vind’s Artists Warehouse on Hwy 393 in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, where it can be seen by appointment — call me at (850)259-8394 to view it; or use my contact form. Visit my Sea & Sky Virtual Exhibit page for a preview. That page also contains “Room Views” to help you visualize each piece in a home or business setting, and each piece has a purchase link. Below are a few images from the exhibit page, https://joanvienot.com/sea-and-sky-virtual-gallery-exhibit.
It’s about time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions again. I prefer to think of it as setting goals to pursue, or objectives I would like to attain, or even challenges I am setting up for myself. Somehow I feel less threatened by those words than by “resolutions”, which seem to me to be things that I resolve NOT to do, like eating a carton of ice cream in one day, versus goals, objectives, and challenges which are things I plan to work towards. Here are some of mine:
Paint every day either plein air or in the studio, for 30 or 60 days, maybe longer. To do this, I plan to have a palette and brushes ready all the time, in my studio, as well as in my plein air backpack. I have ordered a whole bunch of 6×6 panels for this effort. I can use larger canvases, which I keep on hand all the time, but for this goal to be achievable, I want to be able to finish my daily painting in just 30 minutes, so it makes more sense to use small canvases.
Learn to paint shapes common to our local landscape. Or to paint them better. Shapes such as, palmettos, palm trees, blue herons and other shorebirds, tugboats and fishing boats and pleasure boats, paddlers, waves and choppy water, clouds, live oaks and scrub oaks, sand dunes, twisted dune pines, etc. If I spend a week on each of those subjects, that covers at least 2 months, without even considering that nothing is carved in stone, fortunately for this easily distractible artist, where every shiny spot of light cries out to be captured, now!
Learn to simplify, simplify, simplify!
Figure out what appeals to me about paintings I admire, and then practice that — compositional design, color combinations, contrast, development of focal area, etc.
Practice putting people in some of my paintings. Participate in the upcoming figure painting sessions to be held every Friday at the Cultural Arts Alliance’s Foster Gallery on Grand Boulevard in Miramar Beach, Florida. Learn how to use the “Zorn Palette” to create skin tones (cadmium red light, yellow ochre, titanium white, and ivory black).
This fall I am investing my time in cultivating my community’s appreciation for plein air painting, as well as promoting my own work. Many people in my community have never heard of plein air painting, so that is taking extra effort. My local arts association, the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, is very supportive. The CAA will be adding a plein air paint-out to our existing Flutterby Festival at Watersound Origins here in Santa Rosa beach, FL, in November. I will be teaching a one-day workshop the day before the festival, the lesson being effective shape-making to start a plein air painting in a way that will offer a high likelihood of success.
Art marketers say that 20% of your time as an artist should be spent on marketing. I am spending more than 20% of my art energy right now, but I expect it to level off. I actually had intended for last year, my third year of plein air painting, to be my marketing year. The transition and adjustment after selling my pool service business took more time than I had anticipated.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
Considering 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!
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.
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!
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.
I sit in my studio, with the sound of soft pastels marking on paper in the background, as my friend makes a study of a peach on the other side of the room. She is finding Art now, as the duties of raising her children near completion. It helps that she has an eye for composition, being a photographer. Natural talent makes her a quick student – if I show her something once, she can do it, and she is brave, discovering tricks and technique on her own.
I am realizing that this is a common occurrence. People spend the first half of their lives doing one or both of two things, earning a living, and raising a family, and then re-discover their creative expression in middle-age.
This certainly is true in my community. We have a loosely organized network of women artists here. One dedicated member, Donnelle Clark, maintains the list of email addresses and the schedule of members’ homes where we meet once a month for potluck and for show-and-tell. Each member brings one or two things they have been working on, and has 3 minutes to talk about what they have produced. Weavings, handmade dolls, paintings, quilting, stained glasswork, story-telling and bookmaking, sometimes poetry, you-name-it, are shared in the space of just a couple hours, and I always come away amazed at the creativity. Most of them, like my friend, have finished raising their children and now have time to devote to creative expression.
I know from my own experience, though, that it takes some effort to overcome inertia. For about 8 years, I had been receiving the email notices of when and where the local plein air painters’ group was meeting the next Wednesday, always intending to go, someday. For 8 years, there had always been a conflict of some sort or another, and I had always allowed the conflicting event to win out. In February of this year, I was attending some meetings on Wednesdays for a project I am volunteering for, and when I hesitantly told the chairman I wanted to start plein air painting the next Wednesday in March, she immediately changed our meetings to Tuesdays! She honored my intention more on one shy request than I had myself for 8 years!
Of course I have to be flexible. Last week I had to miss painting with the plein air group because I had scheduled the hanging of an art show I was coordinating for A+Art at the local branch of Northwest Florida State College on Wednesday. I got up early and using a few photo references, painted the study of water lilies (above right) before the show installation.
Today I was again back out with the group, painting at Cessna Landing, on Hogtown Bayou, Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. The weather was beautiful, with a pleasant soft breeze and only one quick-passing shower that barely spattered us. My painting from today is above left.
Below are my friend’s studies of a peach. We worked with the shape, color blending, intensifying color by using compliments in the background, the shape of the shadow, and the importance of small details that identify the subject. I demonstrated with a quick sketch, and then Leslie produced these two studies. Her first one we agreed came out looking a little like a tomato, but the second one is definitely a peach. It’s fun to have such a good student, with natural talent. Look out, art-world, here comes Leslie Kolovich!
ArtsQuest Fine Art and Music Festival has come and gone, and in its wake, the familiar feeling of having passed through a wormhole in time and space, a sort of time warp, coming out on the other side with everything the same and yet very much changed.
Members of the sponsoring agency, the non-profit Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County, are invited to exhibit 3 pieces of their artwork in the member tent, in exchange for 4 hours of volunteer work at the festival. For my volunteer work, I was asked to defend some No Parking cones and to move them out of the way when exhibiting artists needed to get through to set up their booths. It was the first time that I had seen booths being set up. My only exposure to setting up tents has been for overnight camping, and it is in light of that experience that I can pronounce tent-raising to be a close second to two-person canoeing for the fast track to divorce court, so I was fairly amazed at the calm and congeniality of the artists doing their nesting. The next day I helped set up the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters tent and found it to be not at all unpleasant, so I think the key ingredient is having artists do the job.
The festival opened Friday afternoon. The experience was invaluable. With the tunes of Kelsey Anna and Matt miller and later Cody Copeland wafting over the grounds, I painted plein air near our booth the first afternoon, and again on the afternoon of the third day, the air filled by other musicians. The rest of the time I talked to the passers-by about the plein air art and artists and I explained what plein air painting is to everyone who would listen. Almost no one knew that plein air painting simply means painting in open air, on-site, looking at the scene you are painting.
We enjoyed great exposure at our booth, picking up some 30 email addresses to add to the 95 that already receive weekly notices of our next plein air painting location. One of the regular participants in our outings, Melody Bogle, had submitted her work and been juried into the festival, so she had her own booth. We all were overjoyed when the announcement came that she had won Best in Show for the 2013 Festival. With more than 100 artists juried into the festival, I felt like her win validated plein air painting to the show-goers.
I painted the painting at left on the first afternoon of the ArtsQuest Fine Art Festival. It shows the plein air tent and the row of tents that housed the CAA members’ exhibit in front of the concrete pond in Cerulean Park at Watercolor, Florida. I re-painted the lawn when I got back to my home studio, because the shadows made the pond look like it was higher than the tents. By removing the shadows and instead painting some downward-curving lawn contours, it was a quick fix to make the pond look lower than the tents. Perspective and postion are, after all, merely optical illusions. I compressed the scene to show only the tents, without any of the commercial buildings that were actually there fronting the streets of the beautiful village of Watercolor, Florida.
I own and manage a swimming pool service company as my “day-job”. One of my customers came by the plein air booth, and I enjoyed showing her my work. After the festival closed, she came to my home studio to see more of my work. As I develop my skills and learn the business of being an artist, I am recognizing that every experience is another notch in my belt, each in itself valuable for future actions and interactions. (Thank you for taking the time to visit with me, Becky Arnold. Did you realize you were contributing to my training?)
At right is the completed version of the painting I posted last week, the brightly colored building in downtown Grayton Beach that houses Shorty’s Restaurant. After I got back to the studio, I realized that I had not painted the railings nearest me, or the flower pot that had attracted me to that point of view in the first place! To paint it plein air, I had positioned myself with my back to the sun with the unfortunate result that both my palette and my canvas were so brightly lit that I was “snow-blind” for most of the morning while I painted. It is truly a wonder that my colors turned out to be fairly close to correct! But that’s my excuse for not painting the railing and flowerpot until I got back to the studio.
Below left is the piece I painted this week at the regular weekly Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters outing, at Nick’s Rstaurant on the Bay, west of Freeport, FL. I worked very hard on figuring out how to make convincing pine trees, most particularly the brush strokes and stamps to use to show the so-very-important silhouette edge, and also the layering of values to show the masses of the needles. In this part of my process, that is one of my goals, to be able to learn to quickly portray recognizable forms just by using a few simple brushstrokes. I was not as comfortable with my efforts with the rippling reflections in the water below the trees. I reworked them in the studio, and came up with a fair representation of the lattice-like pattern. I was not at all successful with the muted land-mass on the horizon, across the Bay. I painted it and scrubbed it out 3 times plein air, never able to achieve a straight and level line that I was happy with. The horizon you see now was painted this morning in the studio.
And below right is the beginning of a painting that I started the last afternoon of ArtsQuest. The family in the picture was watching me paint, and asked if I might be able to put them in it, since they had been watching the watercolor workshop while I was painting. They want to see it when I finish it, so now the pressure is on!! I had fun with this painting at ArtsQuest, letting a few of the people in my audience paint a spot of color here or there. It was interesting how without fail, they would at first decline, but once the brush was in their hand, they would start smiling, daubing a little color or texture here or there! I think they all will be making a trip to pick up art supplies this week!