Ugh! 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.
The last time I painted at Grayton Beach State Park, it was pouring down rain, so today’s partly cloudy skies were a treat. A lot of painters showed up. I didn’t work as hard at accuracy, instead trying to capture the general impression of the funny-looking clumps of greenery on top of the dunes, and exaggerating the texture of the sea oats. These are the two 8 x 10’s I painted, oil paint on canvas panel. A number of visitors to the park passed by, all pleasantly wishing me a good morning, a few stopping to see what I was doing.
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
This week the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters met to paint at Clement Taylor Park in Destin, Florida. Every week, One member emails everyone with the location of the next session, where we each paint and then meet after 2 or 3 hours for a critique followed by lunch. Last time we met here, I painted the foliage and reflecting pond by the side of the park. I blogged about it: https://joanvienot.com/landscape/simplification-plein-air-2-5811.
Today I walked down to the waters edge where I was entertained by the array of pelicans on 6 pilings, one perched on top of each. A nervous blue heron was less than 15’ from me while I stood on the park dock. Families were starting to roll their carts of fishing gear and coolers out onto the dock. The colors in the water were intriguing me, but I couldn’t decide what part of the wide-angle view of long neighboring docks I wanted to paint. So I decided to paint two paintings, which can be hung side-by-side.
A man stopped to watch me paint when I was first starting, and we talked for a minute. Like me, he had studied art to be an art teacher, and was looking forward to his soon-coming retirement when he could return to his art.
I admired his 2-year-old daughter’s Flavor-Ice popsicle, and he had her go get me one. Yum – one of my favorite treats! Grape! He later emailed me a photo he had taken of me, above right.
Last week I was late getting to the weekly plein air session. Each week the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters receive an email telling us where and when we will be meting to paint that Wednesday morning, and what time we will be meeting for critique afterwards. We usually paint for 2 or 3 hours, depending on what time we get there. I had a few tasks I had to attend to, so I was late arriving, and rushed to get started, failing to sketch my painting before starting, and only half finished and generally dissatisfied when it was time to break for critique and lunch. We had met in the Village of Baytowne at Sandestin, and I had chosen to paint a part of the carousel near the central pond. I picked the rooster of the carousel because it was bright and shiny and sassy. When I returned to my studio, I started over and re-painted it, above left.
This week we met at Grayt Grounds of Monet Monet, a coffee shop with wonderful gardens in back, styled after the gardens and home of Monet in Giverny, France. There were at least 16 happy painters, working on everything from the statuary and other yard art to the flora to the building itself, and one painter even painted another painter.
I think the instruction of Julie Gilbert Pollard in the workshop I attended a few weeks ago helped me with the use of brighter colors in my paintings these two weeks. Certainly in the painting I did yesterday, I purposefully used dark valued intense colors where I wanted dark values, instead of mixing dull grayed darks. As a result, the whole painting has a much more intense tone. My shorter, blocky brushstrokes also represent a significant change, but I think they make the terra cotta fountain look metallic. I will try to remember to use that type of brushstroke next time I am painting metal.