Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Dvoor Farm Paint Out

Well, I went to the paint out at the Dvoor Farm and it was a heck of a lot of fun! I knew 6 of the 27 artists who were out painting that day. (There is safety in numbers!) There was live music and a big crowd of people wandering around the farm. The smell of buffalo burgers and freshly baked pizza was wafting through the air all day. Patricia, an artist painting with acrylics near me kept saying how she loved the smell of my oil paints and turpentine. Me, I much preferred the smell of those buffalo burgers.

Here's the scene I chose to paint - at the start, the wall was getting full sunlight:

By the time I finished, that wall was completely in shadow. That's just one of the big challenges of painting on location, especially with buildings - the light changes so quickly, that after a certain point, you're really painting from memory. I don't have a good image of my finished painting, but the Land Trust will be proving me with one:

I took these pictures at the end of the day when the crowd was already winding down, but it was a lot more lively earlier in the day:

I used to be a pretty shy person - still am, I guess - but my recent adventures in the art world have certainly helped me make progress on that front. The paint out really was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to attending the Fall Gala on Oct 20, when the paintings will be auctioned off.

The Dvoor Farm is a really incredible property, and I'm so happy to know that it's being preserved. I'm pretty sure I'll be painting back there again.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Day on the Farm

On Sunday, Sept 23, I'll be participating in my first "paint out". What's a paint out? A paint out is an event where a number artists paint outdoors, en plein air, and the general public is invited to watch. The paintings produced are usually sold or auctioned off soon after, often to benefit a worthy cause. It's a bit of performance art I suppose.

On Sept 23, 2007, the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance is having their annual "A Day on the Farm" - a fun filled day of activities at the Dvoor Farm on the Rt 12 circle just outside of Flemington, NJ. It's the big barn with

painted across the roof in big bold white letters - you can't miss it! The paint out is from 9 am to 2 pm - they'll also have live music, good food, a farmer's market, a puppet show for the kids and more - visit www.htla.org for a complete list of activities. It's free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend.

All paintings produced at this event are being donated to the Hunterdon Land Trust, to be auctioned off at their Fall Gala on October 20, 2007 at The Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton, NJ. Since I do so much painting in Hunterdon County, I'm happy to do my part, and I hope we raise a lot of money for the Land Trust.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Under Bridges

It looks like my latest trend is painting under bridges. And I'm still having fun painting with the palette knife more than I have in the past. But now I'm worried that playing with knives under bridges qualifies me as a troll or something.

Here's one I did 2 weeks ago looking across the Delaware river from Stockton, NJ to Center Bridge, Pa:

"Under Stockton Bridge"
8x10 oil on panel

Yesterday I moved a few miles up the Delaware River to Bull's Island. It was an absolutely gorgeous day to be outside painting, or to be outdoors doing anything! The first hints of autumn were in the air. This view is looking across the Delaware to Lumberville, Pa. If the bridge looks strangely out of scale, it's a pedestrian bridge built on the piers remaining from a larger bridge. Now it's a suspension bridge just wide enough for 2 people to walk abreast - it must look strange to anyone who's not familiar with this place:

"Towards Lumberville"
11x14 oil on panel

Here are some closeups showing the knife work a little better:

There's no knife work in these building, but I was happy that I was able to paint them so loosely. I've been too fussy when painting buildings lately, and I think I was finally able to loosen up. The trick is to indicate just enough detail without going overboard. You need to get the main lines and shapes fairly accurate, but leave something for the imagination. The white building here is the famous Black Bass Hotel in Lumberville, Pa:

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Artists Talk

Yesterday, Carol and I gave an Artists' Talk about our show currently at the Artists' Gallery. Speaking in public is not my forte, so I was a bit nervous. But I came prepared with an outline of what I would talk about, and I brought my outdoor painting setup - I figured some people would be interested in seeing that, and it's something that I can easily talk about.

Carol supplied 2 apple pies, a big plate of homemade brownies, apple cider and ice tea for our guests.

Unfortunately only one person came to hear us talk. So for our one guest, and 2 fellow gallery artists in attendance, we gave our talk. It was well received by everyone. A few visitors came to the gallery during our talk, and we explained to them what we were doing, but they just weren't interested. Oh well, it was worth a try, and a good experience anyway. And I had almost a whole apple to take home with me.

Since I did all of that worrying and preparation for my talk, here's what I had to say:
  • I introduced myself, and explained that I'm self-taught as an artist. I took an occasional evening art class, but the bulk of my learning came from books, a lot of looking at paintings, and a lot of trial and error.
  • I explained how the name of our show came from this very blog. In an old post called "Lambertville Shadows", Nancy Van Blaricom commented how that painting of Joe Finkle's hardware store "just screams extraordinary in the ordinary" - which got me thinking about my own work, and I blogged some more about "Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary". Carol saw that blog post and she came up with the title of our show, "Finding the Extra in the Ordinary".
  • I talked about how some of my paintings in the show relate to the show title. We took a field trip out to the sidewalk in front of the gallery and looked at one of the street scenes I painted. It is a pretty ordinary and uninteresting view, until just before sunset when it transforms into something really special.
  • I talked a bit about why I paint on toned canvases, how I choose my subjects, and some of the difficulties of painting outdoors.
  • I showed my outdoor paintbox setup, then we all sat down for some apple pie.
Here's another painting I have in the show, and I think it's another good example of finding that "extra". It's the road to my house - I live just beyond the crest of the hill:

"Homeward Bound, Winter Afternoon"
8x10 oil on panel

Monday, September 10, 2007

Phillips Mill 2007 Poster

One of my paintings was selected for the poster for this year's Phillips Mill 78th annual juried show. This is the biggest, most prestigious show in the area and I feel very honored to be on their poster:

It's an honor, but there is an irony which every artist out there will appreciate: this painting was my entry into last year's show - it was rejected from that show, but ended up on the this year's poster!

Getting into some juried shows is tough, but not getting in doesn't mean that your painting was bad, the jurors could have rejected it for any number of reasons - sometimes something as simple as already having selected too many realist landscapes and needing more variety in the show. Or maybe there was just too much good art submitted, and it can't all be jured in. By the end of this week, I'll know how I fared in this year's show.

Here's a better image of the painting from the poster:

"Phillips Mill"
8x10 oil on panel

On another note, the opening reception to "Finding the Extra in the Ordinary" went very well. The weather cooperated and we had a good crowd of people show up. I had my digital camera on my belt the whole evening, but somehow I forgot to take a single picture. I guess I was too busy talking with all of the guests, so that's not a bad thing.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Getting Ready for the Show

Well, my 2-person show with Carol Sanzalone opens in less than 2 days, and I'm almost ready: my work is hung, and ready for when the gallery opens on Friday morning. All that remains is to work with Carol on getting the wine and cheese and fruit and horsd'ourves for the opening reception on Saturday evening. Since this gallery is an artists' co-op, we get to do all the work, but it's fun. And after Saturday I can relax a bit.

Here's my wall for the show - it'll look a lot better on Saturday with crowds of people in front. Unfortunately Carol's work wasn't up yet when I took these photos, but I hope to post some more pictures later:

The show runs September 7 through 30, 2007
Opening reception is Saturday, Sept 8, from 6 to 9 pm
We'll have an artists' talk on Sunday, Sept 16 at 2 pm

The show is at:
Artists' Gallery
32 Coryell Street
Lambertville, NJ 08530
[map & directions]
Gallery Hours: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am - 6:00 pm

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Longest 2 Miles

"The Neshanic River, Neshanic, NJ"
8x10 oil on wood panel

It took a 55 mile trip to arrive at this spot 2 miles from my house: I had the idea of painting near water, so I headed to the Wickecheoke Creek, one of my favorite spots to paint, but the creek was bone dry and I just kept driving. I headed over to Bulls Island State Park to paint along the Delaware River, but the parking was jam packed with visitors and I couldn't even park. Same story with a couple of river access points on the way north to Frenchtown. It seems everyone was out tubing today! (Floating down the Delaware in a tire tube is a popular summer pastime around here). My next idea: stay away from water and go paint the old stone church in Locktown. No one is ever there because it's not an operating church anymore and it's only used for evening concerts and such. But, there was a wedding going on. Arrgh! I've never seen anyone there during the daytime before. So I gave up and headed home. Nearly home, I stopped to check out an area of preserved land that I've driven by hundreds of times but never stopped because there didn't seem to be anything there. I found one very overgrown trail which led to a nice spot on the Neshanic River, so I finally setup to paint. After 55 miles of driving, I ended up painting 2 miles from my house!

Sometimes one of my biggest challenges is simply finding a place to paint. There is plenty of great scenery around here, but with so much private land, and so few places to park my car legally and safely, it can be a real challenge. And I guess I should know by now which places to avoid on holiday weekends when the weather is perfect for tubing on the Delaware.