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Plein Air Painting in the Wind

Oil painting of the shore grass along the choctawhatchee Bay on Okaloosa Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore

15 mph winds brought in low humidity resulting in crystal clear views for the weekly Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters session yesterday. Wind and painting are an unpredictable combination. I’ve seen it happen, a painter’s masterpiece suddenly face down in the sand, a gust taking the easel right over. My painting companion, Leslie, set up on the lee side of sheltering informational sign. I was more concerned about the sun, looking for shade for my canvas and my palette.  I found good shade, but it was in the open wind. I remembered what could happen when I saw the front leg of my easel start coming off the ground, but I couldn’t find anything to tie down my easel. I ended up using the long, wide strip of velcro that secures my palette box closed, fastening my easel onto the leg of the sign I was standing next to.

The colors were beautiful in the early fall sunlight, the grasses taking on pink and lavender hues.  The Choctawhatchee Bay was a deep emerald with the incoming tide. The scene was largely light in value, the bay  providing middle-value contrast, and punctuated by a few dark darks at the base of the foliage. The wind was perfect for the kite-sailors practicing their aerial magic over the bay.

Here’s a look at our group’s efforts:

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Plein Air Painting What You Can When You Can

So often I pass a scene that begs to be painted, while on my way to some other engagement I am obligated to or have committed to. And then other times, when I have my paints and the time, the setting doesn’t seem right or the light is wrong, so there I am, all dressed up and nowhere to go.  When the two come together though, it is so much fun!  Today was one of those days, in both cases:  first in that I had an obligation and couldn’t paint, but then when I was finished with my prior commitment and made my way to this week’s location for the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters, the setting was right and the light was right, and I was so very happy!  It was the first time I had been at Marse Landing in Freeport, FL, and I was so impressed with all of the beautiful plein air possibilities.  The light was shining through the cypress trees onto the wetlands plants alongside the creek, the impossible greens and yellows begging to be captured. I knew I was getting a late start, so I made a preliminary values sketch, and then got out a couple of tiny 4″x4″ gesso boards and got busy. Below are my two efforts:

Small plein air oil painting of wetlands plants along Four Mile Creek in Freeport, FL Small plein air oil painting of wetlands plants in Four Mile Creek, Freeport, FL


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Healing With Art, An Exhibit At Sacred Heart Hospital

Oil painting of the marsh, crossing over onto Indian Pass peninsula, Port St. Joe, FL

Two of my 8×10 plein air oil paintings been selected to be in “Healing with Art”, an exhibit sponsored by the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County in partnership with Sacred Heart Hospital’s Arts in Medicine program. The exhibit will be in the atrium of the Sacred Heart Hospital in Santa Rosa Beach. The beauty of art and the process of creating it can be a healing experience. The show, curated by CAA’s A+Art Committee, runs from September 19, 2014, through January 6, 2015, with an opening reception on Friday, Sept 26, 2014, 5-7 pm in the atrium lobby at Sacred Heart Hospital. “Healing With Art” is coordinated by Melody Bogle, and the venue coordinator is Sherry Londe.  Sacred Heart Hospital is located at the corner of Mack Bayou road and US 98, at 7800 US Hwy 98 West, Miramar Beach, FL 32550.  Y’all come! 🙂

Oil painting of the marsh, crossing over onto Indian Pass peninsula, Port St. Joe, FL

Oil painting of the view from the Oak Marina at Niceville, Florida
Oak Marina