Saturday, December 10, 2016

Goodbye to November

With fewer plein air outings in the last month I've been catching up on finishing paintings I've had sitting around for some time.  And here's one that I think has a nice November feel about it.  Thought I'd get this in before we switch to snow paintings.

Tom Gilbert

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Urban Sketchers Madison

Here are links to the blogs for the regional chapter in Madison and the international sketching group, Urban Sketchers:,  .  I'm one of the administrators for the Madison group and we sketch on the 2nd Sunday of the month (except December) and occasional Saturdays as well.  Our schedule can be found on the Events calendar on our blog.  Our group began in 2011 and was called Draw Madison until last spring when we were invited to join Urban Sketchers as a regional chapter.  The group is open to anyone who likes to draw from life and there are no dues.  In warm weather we like to sketch outdoors but in winter we sketch in places like coffee shops, museums and Olbrich Garden's conservatory.  Sketchers use a variety of mediums from graphite and ink to watercolor and soft pastel.  It is much like plein air painting in that we draw from life what is going on around us.   Check out the Urban Sketchers blog to see interesting sketches from all over the globe.  Next summer the annual symposium for Urban Sketchers will be held in Chicago July 25-29.  It has not been in the US since the first one was held in Portland in 2010 so we are pretty excited and looking forward to meeting some of our favorite artists and attending their workshops. We hope you will join us sometime this winter when it's too cold to be painting en plein air! 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Tenney Park 11-7-16

I just got my new easel in the mail on Monday and had to go out for a bit. I'm an oil painter now. It's official, lol. Anyway I managed to get out late and get a good start. I learned a lot that will speed me up next time at home. This has about six hours into it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Warner Park 10-19-16

I may as well post this too. I did double duty this day. We went to Lodi this day I think. This was done at Warner Park last month. 11x14 acrylic on canvas

Indian Lake 11-3-16

Here is my painting from Indian Lake. I got there early and the sun was overhead and the water just wasn't colorful. I went down in the valley and found a really cool spot. I thought sure I'd see deer. This was my first try at oils in the field. They say when you can't get it keep adding paint? Anyway I did that and made it a knife painting mostly.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Indian Lake Paintings

Here's not only my painting from last Thursday but another Indian Lake view painted in September.  The latter is the view of the hillside above the lake from the smaller parking lot at the other end of the lake (by the dog park area).  Both of these started as plein air but also had substantial studio finishing.  Last Thursday I just ran out of time as the light disappeared quicker than I expected for an afternoon start.

I normally stop the group outings about now but if this weather continues we may be able to do one more.  Regardless, over the winter I expect many of you will still be getting out occasionally and please feel free to post your paintings.  I also want to thank all of you who came out and painted and made this a successful year for the group.  And I'll contact everyone again next spring to continue the group outings.

Tom Gilbert

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Fall colors

Arboretum, oil, 12"x16".
Here's some fall colors from an outing to the Arboretum a couple of weeks ago. Unfortumetely, I won't be able to join the group today at the Indian lake.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Plein Air Painting Nov. 3rd

We will paint this Thursday Nov. 3rd at Indian Lake. (Changed from Wed. due to weather forecast).  Meet at 3pm in the main parking lot.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Wisconsin River October 29th

The Wisconsin River at Prairie du Sac

Tom said he wanted some fall color so here's a pastel painting I did on Saturday late in the afternoon in a tiny park on the main drag.  It was pleasant even with the traffic noise.  The oaks were all turning dark red and I noticed alot of gold in the leaves on the way home.  Hopefully it will pretty colorful at Indian Lake on Wednesday.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Darya Vassina Paintings

Darya currently has some of her paintings on display at the Ancora Coffee shop on University Avenue.  The show runs through November.  Here's two of the paintings being shown.  I really like the rich textures in Darya's paintings.

As promised, here's the painting I painted at the lookout on Skyline Rd. in Peninsula State Park...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Fall Colors

Here's a plein air painting from a Madison east side neighborhood that I did a few days ago when the sun was still out.  I think our blog needs a few fall color paintings.  Feel free to post them.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Door County October 22 - Rowley's Bay Nature Conservancy and Famous DCPAPA Painter!!

Last week I visited Door County and while I did some watercolor sketching, the sketches I enjoyed doing the most were with charcoal and charcoal pencil one afternoon on Rowley's Bay.   I used a kneaded eraser as a drawing tool which was very helpful for rendering highlights and texture.  It was sort of ironic that with all that gorgeous color everywhere my most successful sketches were with charcoal.

I got a big surprise on Friday when I picked up the newest Peninsula Pulse and thought I recognized a fellow painter on the cover!  Sure enough, her name was on the inside cover and I called her to congratulate her on the nice photo.  She had attended a class at Bjorklunden that week.  Yes, it's Jan Feyzi!!  She was painting the fabulous view from an overlook in Peninsula State Park when a local photographer came by.  Hopefully Jan will post some of her paintings from the week.

Cherokee Marsh 10-18-2016

This was done with a plein air partner way down by the water on a boardwalk during a perfect day. Acrylic on canvas 11x14   

Lodi Ice Age Trail 10-19-2016

This was my second outing and such a great place to go. I got there early and made it to the to top the hill for this great view. I learned a lot about time management and not to leave so much foreground visible. I had to do almost all of it in the studio. Acrylic on canvas 11x14

Cam Rock Park Shelter #3 10-5-2016

Hi all. This is my first post on here so I hope I do it right. I am a group newbie but longtime artist. Plein air painting comes hard to me being detail oriented and shooting for realism a quick study is hard to call finished. I hope to loosen up and pick up my pace as time goes on. I am starting with acrylics because I feel they are forgiving and kind of like training wheels. I hope to graduate to oils soon. It was great to meet and have dinner with a few members and hope to do it again.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Lodi Segment of Ice Age Trail

We had a nice evening for painting yesterday.  I'm still struggling with trying to salvage my painting from it, but here's a photo of how it looked when I left.  Hope you're all enjoying the fall colors.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Bluff Strokes

I just returned from painting at the BluffStrokes plein air event in Dubuque.  It was a nice event, reasonably well organized, and with some great painting locations.  I'd say it was similar to Mineral Point's "Paint the Point" except Dubuque is a much larger city.  Dubuque has many old and interesting buildings and on the north and south river front areas are painting locations from up on the bluffs with great views.  Plus there are various places along the river front to paint.  They had a total of $10,000 in awards and about 50 painters participating.

It was unfortunate that, for the most part, the fall colors weren't out in effect yet.  The painting area included both Dubuque and the entire county, but in driving around the country side it seemed like maybe 90% of the roads had steep or narrow shoulders, such that it was impossible to pull over and paint by the side of the road.  But there were still many good painting areas in the city and parks.

There was a "Quick-Paint" and nocturne painting events.  Painters could enter three paintings in the main competition.  I didn't win anything, but, to my surprise, did sell three paintings.  Jim Faecke (from our group) also painted there.  I believe he won an "honorable mention" award.  And I saw his nocturne that was really an exceptional piece.  I had to miss the final day when they had the public sale, and the awards presentation, so I don't know yet who won the top prizes (1st prize was $2,000).

I'm attaching a photo I took of a cool river boat that Jim and I saw coming down the river from Eagle Point Park.  Plus two of my paintings that I sold.  I entitled the one painting "Distant Train" just so people would know those rectangular boxes were supposed to be a freight train.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Cam Rock Shelter 3 View

Cam Rock Park paintout.

Cam Rock park at dusk, oil on canvas panel, 12"x16".

Cam Rock Park 10/5/16

Small soft pastel sketch on Diane Townsend pastel paper
It turned out to be a lovely afternoon at Cam Rock Park.  I think 7 painters came including one who was joining us for the first time. (Welcome, Rick!)  Four of us went out for supper and I must say I was a bit underwhelmed by the pub but the company was excellent and we enjoyed Darya's stories of the Plein Air Conventions - she has attended every one of them!  I think Diane Townsend stopped making this paper sometime ago but I still have a couple sheets.  I believe it is Rives BFK with some kind of grit fixed to it.  It was nice paper but Rives BFK is fine for pastels just as it is, too.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Plein Air Painting October 5th - Cam Rock Park

View from Parking area #3

Shelter at Parking area #3
We will meet here at Parking area #3 at 3:30 pm for painting until dusk and go for supper after.  I think last year we ate at the Keystone Grill in Cambridge and it was really good.  Does anyone remember?  We can figure it out on Wed.  I think these photos are from spring so hopefully it will have a bit more color now although the grass is still SO green from all the rain.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Indian Lake and Birds in Art

Landscape with ducks in permanent collection
Plein air watercolor by Lars Jonsson - Peregrine Falcon

Pastel on watercolor paper
Last week I painted at Indian Lake in the afternoon and the above a pastel I did on watercolor paper.  The technique was supposed to be pastel used to augment a watercolor painting but it eventually turned into all pastel.  The paper was really too rough for this technique and I will try it again on a less rough cold press paper like Arches.

Saturday I drove up to Wausau for the annual Birds in Art exhibit at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.  The landscape with ducks is part of their permanent collection (sorry I forget the painter!).  Many of the paintings are also landscapes with birds in them but most focus on the birds as the one above by Lars Jonsson a great contemporary Swedish artist.  This painting is on a full sheet of Arches 300 lb cold press and was done in the field which amazes me.  He mentioned that this female Peregrine did hold still for quite awhile as he sketched her.  Those are just 2 examples of the wonderful art they have in the show and their permanent collection.  There are paintings by all 3 generations of Wyeths including a really nice landscape by N.C. Wyeth.  It is a free show and well worth the drive.  I saw a few maples starting to turn and in another week or so there will probably be lots of color up there.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

DCPAPA's Robert Tarrell's Upcoming Show in October

Robert Tarrell will exhibit his paintings at the Whitewater Cultural Arts Center, 402 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI.  The exhibit runs from Thursday, October 6 through Sunday, October 30.  The gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 pm.  There will be an opening reception on Sunday, October 9 from 1 - 3 pm.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Cancelled due to rain!! - Evening Painting Sept. 21 at Holy Wisdom Monastery in Middleton

We will meet here at 4pm on Wednesday Sept. 21st for a plein air painting session until sunset.  This view of the pond is a popular subject  on the west side of the grounds but there are some good views on the east side of the property, too and the monastery building is very interesting.  There is also a garden and small orchard on the north side as well as a large prairie parcel but it is a bit of a hike to the prairie.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Friday, September 9, 2016

Yahara River Painting

Here's another Tenny Park painting.  Seeing the other posts, it looks like we had some inspired painters yesterday.  I had to repair this one at home this morning.  Yesterday I wasn't sure about it but then I realized I had painted the bridge too large.   So I fixed that, repainted most of the water, added some details, and now I think it works.  Getting objects the right scale seems like such an easy fundamental but I have admit when I'm on location and painting a long view, I've had my share of difficulty with it.  There seems to be a tendency to make distance objects too large.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Tenny Park

Nice overcast day this morning at Tenny Park. I painted this on a gray 9 x 12 Ampersand pastelboard. I brought it home and tweaked it a bit in the upper left. Overall, I think it is done.

Tenney Park, September 8, 2016

Tenney Park Bridge, September 8, 2016 by Jan Norsetter
What a beautiful morning at Tenney Park. Overcast and windy so bugs were not an issue:-) For those of you who watched this painting develop I did scrape off and even out the gobs of dark green water. The paint was just too thick for my tastes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Warner Park Lake Shore

We painted yesterday in Warner Park along the lake front.  The weather wasn't as bad as expected because of a nice lake breeze and plenty of shady painting spots.  But we did get rain clouds coming in about 11 am and had to rush our nearly completed paintings into cover.  We then had a nice lunch at Kung's house with some rather spectacular views of huge culmulas clouds over Lake Mendota.

Here's my painting that started out with the sunlit tree as my focal area.  Then some guy started fishing, just long enough for me to include him in the painting and the focal point changed.  Or maybe now it has two focal areas?  That's twice the value ... right?


Sunday, August 28, 2016

I'd like to have suggestions on great plein air umbrellas.  I have one with a goose neck + clamp that holds on to my Julian when I want/need it.  Looking to step up a notch to a better one.
I would post a painting but I see I'm not accustomed to the blogger system yet & the routes to get it from my computer files to this post.  :))  See ya Tues I hope.  John Mix

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Pheasant Branch August 22nd

9"x 9" pastel on Colorfix paper
I went to Pheasant Branch this evening for a walk but it was so nice out I decided get out the pastels instead.  The trees are actually still green but the setting sun was warming them up.  It won't be long before they really are this color.  Cranes were flying over.  Just a beautiful evening.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Mariner's Cove

Although still hot and humid we had a nice evening painting at Mariner's Cove.  I'm hoping this is the turning point in the weather and we'll soon see an end to the heat and humidity.  Here's Joan and Reisa painting from a shady spot.  You can see how the cluster of boats makes for a bit of a challenging subject.


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Plein Air Painting Events

I just returned from participating in Mineral Point's "Paint the Point" plein air painting event.  Really enjoyed this year. As always, plenty of great painting scenes / subjects.  And we should congratulate Diane Washa and Jan Norsetter who both produced outstanding paintings that received an award.

I also met a painter there named John Preston, from Iowa, who's a great painter and a good guy.  He ended up winning first prize.  I'm attaching an image of one of his smaller paintings (8x10) that wasn't entered for the judging, but I think it's a real gem of a painting.  That's the Mineral Point water tower in the distance of his painting.

John also told me about another plein air event called "Bluff Strokes" that will occur this coming October 9-15 at Dubuque, Iowa.  It sounds like an interesting event (in the prime fall color season) and if anyone wants to check it out just go to

Finally, I'm attaching a photo of my painting buddy that I acquired as I was painting by the side of the road in the countryside.  This border collie came up and watched me paint, then laid under my easel to rest.  Every time I walked from my easel to my car he would follow me step for step.  When I left, he tried to get into my car.  And as I drove away I saw him in my mirror running full speed along the side of the road after me.  I guess I have at least one loyal fan.


Friday, August 12, 2016

"Thunder over Pheasant Branch Creek"

Here's the result of my sticking out the storm at Pheasant Branch. I moved under the shelter after the winds and rains came, but I still  had to dry up the puddles of water in my pochade box before I left. It was intense!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pheasant Branch August 4th

Tracy and a very nice view of the prairie and hill
Joan painting despite pesky insects
Elizabeth and Darya packing up
Siraj on the edge of the prairie
Doug sketching
Gouache in my new sketchbook painted the evening after
Tom and Queen Anne's Lace

We had a great turnout for our most recent paint date but not such great weather. I think I counted 9 painters and one was new to the group (Welcome Noel!). A thunderstorm cut the painting time short but there were some dramatic stormy skies to paint and the prairies are in bloom. I went back this evening to try out a new sketchbook with gouache.  It was recommended on James Gurney's blog and I loved painting on this paper.  It's a Strathmore 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inch hardbound journal with 400 series 140lb watercolor paper. It lays nice and flat so it's easy to do a 2 page spread.  Dick Blick offers a substantial discount.  I have the Strathmore wirebound Artist Journal with 140 lb watercolor paper and did not care much for that paper but this is totally different and very nice for gouache or watercolor. Just after I finished the painting there was the spectacular sunset that we had wished for yesterday.
The approaching storm