Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Lodi Ice Age Trail

Had the last official outing of 2017 today.  And I was cold (!) by the end of this painting.  Those of you who are up for winter outings should feel free to use our group email list to seek painting companions.  Thanks to everyone for a good year of painting and hanging out together.


Monday, November 6, 2017

Last Outing of the season (?) Lodi Marsh Segment Ice Age Trail 2 pm Wednesday Nov. 8th

We will meet at 2pm in the southernmost parking lot on Lodi Springfield Rd. (you can see a great map on this site ) for the last scheduled plein air painting event of this season.  This photo looks like early spring but we should still see some later fall color yet.  I suggested maybe going to the Harmony Bar on Atwood Ave. after for food and/or drink for any interested parties.  Bundle up and come out and paint at this beautiful spot!!  Hope to see you there!
View from near parking area

Monday, October 30, 2017

Bluff Strokes Plein Air Paint Out in Dubuque Iowa October 2017

Congratulations to our leader, Tom Gilbert, who took 1st prize in this year's event!!!  It was the 2nd year this event has been held in October in Dubuque.  Unfortunately I don't have an image to post and I could not find any images or list of other winners online but hopefully they will be posted.  Tom thought there may be an image in an upcoming Plein Air Magazine so I will be looking for that.  Well done, Tom and well deserved, I am sure!!!

Door County October 2017

I spent the last couple weeks in Door Co. at peak color time and it was just gorgeous especially out on the tip of the peninsula where I stayed.  We were blessed with perfect weather the first week and lousy weather the 2nd.  It really was still beautiful even under cloudy skies but one day what felt like gale force winds blew constantly for about 36 hours.  Saw lots of deer and heard the coyotes calling every night and a Screech Owl which I don't hear often in Madison. 

The first week I painted with pastels and sketched with ink outdoors and then took a 6 day "Watercolor Techniques" class at the Clearing in Ellison Bay which is near where I stay.  I had taken this class in 2004 and 2005 when I was watercolor novice.  It was gratifying to see I had learned a few things in the meantime but the cool new thing I learned was a way of doing monoprints with watercolor.  I was able to pull 2 off the 2nd one.  Both prints were painted based on my plein air ink sketches from the previous week.  The colors in the both the prints and pastel are a bit off as I don't have as good of lighting as I need for taking photos of my paintings so I do think they look a bit better in real life. 

I look forward to doing more monoprints with this process this winter when I am too big of a sissy to be outside.  At least I can manage to sketch outside (or in the warm car) and turn the sketches into prints.  The process is very easy using a medium called Createx, Plexiglas and a big serving spoon for burnishing the back of the print.  Apparently there are You Tube videos about it.  I used the paper recommended by one of our 2 teachers, Strathmore Aquarius which is a bright white and dries perfectly flat. 

My first monoprint (I forgot to reverse the image so instead of Sunset at Rowley's Bay it could be titled Sunrise at Toft Point)

First print of Rowley's Bay from the Nature Conservancy property

2nd pull from the remaining pigment on the plate

Soft pastel on Diane Townsend paper - she doesn't make this paper anymore but is making a new dry ground product with pumice that you can work into your paper before using pastels; I am going to order some as there are some handmade papers I want to try that might work well with that.  I will do a post about it once I have experimented.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Cam Rock Park

Had a nice fall day at Cam Rock for today's outing.  Just a few people but we had a good time painting and getting warmed up by the early morning sun.  Tom

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stewart Lake County Park - Demos - Saturday Oct. 7th

Many thanks to Jan Norsetter and John Ribble who both did great painting demos on Saturday.  We had a great turnout despite the cloudy conditions with reasonably comfortable seating in the nice shelter at the park.  Also thanks to Carolyn White and the Friends of Stewart Lake Park who hosted our group and provided some great donuts.  She said that 40 to 50 observers stopped by that morning including about a dozen high school art society students.  Several of our painters also came and did some plein air painting so hopefully they will post some of their work, too.

Jan did an oil painting demo of the lake that morning and also brought a lovely small study of the lake she had painted previously.  I was sorry not to get there in time to see her demo but I heard it was excellent as always!  Jan can make an interesting painting even on a gloomy morning like we had.

The pastel demo that followed was done by John Ribble,  a Madison artist and teacher who works exclusively en plein air and usually with a huge selection of soft pastels.  He brought a large selection of pastels made up of all the best brands:  Terry Ludwig, Unison, Sennelier and Schmincke.  He had a set of greys made by Great American that he said were his go to box for light greys in the landscape.  He also had the full set of Terry Ludwig Greens and Intense Darks which are beautiful and really helpful in our Wisconsin landscape.  His preferred paper is Art Spectrum Colorfix paper that he gets mounted on board exclusively by Dakota Art Pastels which I totally agree is the most specialized pastel retailer in the country.  After giving us a quick history of pastel and plein air painting John got to work on a fairly large (12x16) Colorfix board in Terra Cotto and rich mid to dark red/brown color.  I was interested to see how he grids his paper first to help with accuracy when sketching his drawing on the paper.  He had many interesting tips for us and stressed that plein air painting was all about the light and that even is cloudy days when the light was diffuse it was still the  most important influence on both value and color.  I really liked seeing what a great tool a straight-edged razor blade can be for taking off unwanted layers of pastel or scratching out the thin lines needed for tree limbs.

I shared a handout about pastels supplies for plein air painting and brought my smallest plein air pastel box, the Heilman Double Sketchbox which weighs only 2 lbs when fully packed with as many partial sticks as I can get in it.  Taking a small box like this is the other end of the spectrum from John's kitchen sink supply of pastels but it is much more portable so I can go hiking and paint just about anywhere.  The down side is I have many fewer colors to work with so I pick the colors that I am relatively sure I will need for wherever I intend to paint and I probably use about the same amount of colors per painting as John does but I often have to make due with a color that is not just what I want but is similar and the right value.  It also takes considerable time to choose the colors I think I'll need but no time to set up and pack up.  So it is a trade off and there are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches.  I also brought some paper samples.  Currently Pastelmat is my favorite paper; it is not gritty like sanded papers such as Colorfix but it holds a lot of pastel and can take wet underpaintings with water, alcohol or solvents.  I prefer alcohol which is cheap and dries fast outdoors.  I also brought the 6x9 painting below to demonstrate that you can paint small outdoors as well as large as John likes to do.   The larger the painting the better painter you need to be and that is NOT a problem for John who paints wonderful quite large pastels outdoors.

Thanks to everyone who came and participated.  Stewart Lake County Park is a great place for plein air painting!!
Autumn Afternoon at Stewart Lake
Image result for heilman pastel boxes
Heilman Pastel Double Sketchbook and Backpack size