Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - More Demos

Color Freedom
Oil on Linen on Board

After a tough morning with my own painting on Friday I watched Lori Putnam paint at the All-Day Paint-Out and I was inspired again!  I loved seeing her making artistic choices with color and design - (not slavishly following what was there).  Her color combinations were beautiful and it gave me the freedom to tweak my own happy color combinations!  Thanks Lori!

Here are my notes from some more demos

Randy Sexton and Larry Moore
 The most inspiring part of seeing Randy and Larry paint was to see these two masters using an abstract start to their paintings and then seeing the very unique and different approaches they took to interpreting the subject.  It was a fascinating journey and again emphasizing to me that art is all about our own unique approach and interpretation.

Randy used an old painting (that looked great btw) and painted over it.  I loved seeing how abstract and loosely he started, working in the big masses with soft edges.  As he said "feeling the masses - from the inside out" and allowing himself to organically find the drawing.
Randy paints on regular birch, that he gessoes as well and will use a rag to wipe out areas.
"When you start out abstract you discover as you're painting what the image is."  Randy likens the painting process to sculpture although he likes when an area turns into a flat space.   

This is something I enjoyed hearing, because it is something I appreciate in other artists paintings, but have yet to achieve to my satisfaction in my own!

Larry started out with Golden Acrylic tints and Acrylic white gesso.  He uses a simple palette with yellow, red, blue and black - finding the info in the big shapes, not going for color notes (and local color) right away, but building up to a color with a contrasting color underneath.  

He focuses on seeing patterns of light and dark - without drawing, having the faith to know the figure will unfold.  He also stressed building dominance and sub ordinance of areas as you go.  In the picture above you can see him using a rubber knife to knock down the importance of an area.  

Softer edges recede and harder edges come forward.

Here you can see more closely the great dark and light pattern Larry achieved.   He uses a whole variety of brushes.    As Larry said:  "There are thousands of ways to attack a painting.  Find your own way - be open to new ways."
"Painting is like a train-ride:  Some take it to the end and other get off at the first stop, your personality decides where you get off."  which I believe he said were the words of Roe Wilson...but I'm not quite sure I got the name right.

Larry's advice, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is to look at other artists work to find your own voice by seeing who's work you respond to.

Larry Moore's painting is on the left and Randy Sexton's painting is on the right.

Words of advice from Dan Gerhartz on painting portraits:

  • Find extremes in value, edge and color to start off so you have something to compare to.
  • Use color temperature to change form
  • Your values need to be consistent, so it doesn't get shopped up - hold on to the unity of that form.
  • Keep your shadow and light areas as simple and solidly separated as you can.
  • Edge variety is critical
  • Use the reddest red for lips
  • Moongoose Rosemary brushes are good for blending

Dan Gerhart's Palette:
Zink WHite
Rembrandt Permanent Red MediumTransparent Oxide Brown (a rich transparent dark)
Cad Lemon 
Cad Yellow
Alizarin Crimson
Ivory Black
Ultramarie blue
Prussian blue

Watching Dan paint made me want to go home and immediately start working on doing head studies...from real life,  to build some confidence in that arena of painting!

Charlie Hunter ....tomorrow...

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - Another Demo

Oil on Linen on Panel

Notes on the
and all the great words of wisdom...starting with:

 Joseph McGurl
"Nature is a mix of order and chaos"
Order to make it real and chaos to make it natural.

 Joseph started his demo with a warm undertone on the canvas.  

He explained that part of creating that wonderful effect of sun light for this painting is making the white warmer and slightly darker as you go back in space and cooler as it comes forward.
(Great tips, because I wouldn't have instinctively thought that the light would get warmer moving back in space.)
 The effect is also enhanced by showing the light reflecting on the cliffs around the lightest areas, lighter at the lower end of the cliffs.

A tree is either in light or in shadow, very little in the middle.
Change your methods - you'll get different results
You can't solve every problem the same way.

When it comes to making the color work, ask yourself:
Is it too light or too dark?
Does it need to be cooler or warmer? 

Tools to try:
A Wallpaper plastic painting scraper - for making straight horizon lines
 Liquin - impasto
longer flexible palette knives - good for introducing that chaos.
Gamblin Flake White Replacement - Stiff Paint good to use on top
Fan brushes
Hansen Yellow - holds the yellow punch

I learned a lot and it is always fascinating to hear other artists' view on their individual approach, as I'm in the quest of finding my own way - or perhaps accepting my own way:-)
Joseph considers himself a Contemporary Luminist and I appreciate what he said about his technique in regards to the surface.   He doesn't want people to know about how he did something so he obscures the brush marks.  That way he continued: "It's not about me and my marks, more about the meaning of life - existence - nature and physics."

As he said that I realized that I do like to see the brush marks, showing the confident commitment to the process, a sense of the fresh impression of something...haha... I don't always achieve it....but I want to!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - Kevin Macpherson

 Disappearing Sun (Asilomar)
Oil on linen on board

This was painted on Tuesday when new painting buddies Nancy Duesing Takaichi, Kathy Carlquist and I got out a little  earlier to go to the second day's paint-out...we had sun for just a little bit and when everyone else got there...it was pretty much gone and the wind...it just kept blowing.   Bryan Mark Taylor gave me some excellent advice on having some vertical brush strokes in my waves and Bill Davidson helped all of us out!!
Just a Glimmer
Oil on Linen on board

Looking back at the PACE 2014 and starting with the key note address

It's been a week or so since I returned from the Plein Air Convention and looking back I must say that it was a whirlwind of impressions!   I learned a lot, I met some great people and I took a lot of notes on painting, tools and techniques, and of course marketing.  Wheew - it was exhausting!!   And with all the highs, the biggest challenge for me was probably dealing with the fact that I was there on my own.   I don't necessarily have a problem getting to know people, which can be a lot of fun!

It was just that by the end of the week I just ended up longing for friends (who already know me inside and out) to whom I could commiserate and complain when I was struggling; with my painting, getting tired of comparing myself to all the great talent there and just wanting to whine:-)))   Not really the recommended thing to do to a stranger, or a new friend, at an event like this I think?!

But before I loose you to my whining - Let's get back to some of the wonderful tidbits I captured in my note book from Day 1:

gave the Key note address on Monday afternoon and he started out his presentation with:
"It's a privilege, and a horror" to be here... 
and he just got funnier from there.   I love the way he can make fun of himself and he didn't skrimp on sharing some of his own challenges and of (several) phobias he conquered along the way.   I think he got us all off to a great start for the week ahead as he emphasized the importance of having confidence in your own work - knowing your own voice and mixing your life and experience into your pigments....among many other pearls of wisdom.  Here's just a few:

Show up, you never know when the great one (painting) is gonna show up.
"As you're learning, share with someone else."

"Everything that's not useful in the painting is detrimental."
Areas of Sunlight DO NOT CROSS Shadow....(still trying to figure that one out:)
added /-5/14/14 (Liz Wiltzen has a great post that addresses Kevin's point)
Make all the parts support the focus.
Don't paint things, paint abstract shapes
Contrast adds surprise
Painting consists of dynamic oppositions
Use colorful compliments
Don't leave out the most important ingredience:   YOU!

I found this in my notes too...
Your work is changing
I don't like it
(not sure whether I just added the second part? or if that's what he said - just the truth of change..)

He kept me, and many more, in stitches and I can't believe he ever had a problem with public speaking...It's comforting to know we can all get there!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - Day 1 - Putting together a Plein Air Event

Carmel Winds
Oil on Linen on Board

This is a continuation on my post for Day 1 of the 2014 Plein Air Convention and some of the Umbrella meetings before the Convention even started!

I wrote about the Gallery session in my last post and what followed that session was one of highlights of the Convention for me; the Panels on Putting together a Plein Air Event and working with you Community.  I took a lot of notes as I'm really interested in what makes an event work well and also how any art organization can work better, so read what you like and skip the rest:-)
Kathy Duley; Coordinator for the Grand Canyon Celebration of Art, Rosemary Swimm; President of LPAPA and in charge of the hallmark of Plein Air Events - the Laguna Plein Air Invitational, and Vince Fazio from the Sedona Art Festival 
The 3 of them spoke about several facets of putting together a successful Plein Air Event.

Here are some of their main points on what you might want to consider:

  1.  Lead time - All three agreed that you need at least a year to prepare, especially for a new event.  (LPAPA starts preparing for their next event right after the end of the current one)
    1. Magazines need 3-4 months.
    2. Artists plan their schedule of events a year in advance.
    3. Enough time to cultivate sponsors and raise the money needed ahead of time.
  2. Why do we want to do the event? -  Set objectives  
    1. Rosemary pointed out that the Laguna Invitational uses their yearly event as their main fundraiser - they invite 35 artists and the funds raised go to programs for their 300 members)
    2. Vince (Education is the biggest reason - How do we let more people know about Plein Air?)
    3. Kathy - the goal is funding a permanent art venue on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
  3. What process will you choose to pick the artists?  Do you want an invitational or a juried plein air event? 
    1. Factors that play a role in that decision could be (restrictions to a number of artists because of wall space or location - Kathy)
    2. Juried - you have a big pool and will need to set a cap.
    3. Invitational - you have more control.
  4.  Pick a committee:
    1. It needs to be a diverse group with different strengths!! Include community leaders and artists, but don't make it too big.
    2. You need a Marketing Specialist/PR, Volunteer coordinator, team leaders for different events, Finances, Sponsorship just to start.
    3. Rosemary - As a team leader you need to:  Have a good sense of humor, stay calm, roll with the punches, be professional and have fun -  Being the one in charge you can’t be the one to see that everything happens  - good directions.
    4. You need Committee member that have particular key strengths, are open to suggestions, hard workers, with follow-thru.
  5. How much money will you need?
    (Rosemary:  We set a budget and a deadline - and if we can't meet that deadline we can't do it.  Last year they raised $200,000 to put the event on.)
    1. Write Grants to City and State
    2. Sponsors - Have a great presentation Package.  A Sponsor packet could include; Getting a table, name/photos on banners/recognized on all materials, pick an award, get a painting
    3. Use the sponsorships to cover the main costs.
    4. Biggest cost is Advertising!!! Then there's food, the event (decorations, lighting, insurance, security)
  6. Who is your audience?  And how will you appeal to them? 
    1. Helps to have a captive audience to start (Kathy).
    2. Started with the Museums's list (RoseMary)
    3.  Build a Data-base - stay very organized.
    4. Advertise in High-End Magazines (RoseMary - This year they're thinking of hiring a PR-Firm)
    5. Sedona is in it's 9th year - just tried a different event to attract a new audience (Native American Sacred Sites to paint - brought a new audience)
    6. Strong Social Media presence - Tweet
    7. Special Events partnering with others (Art & Wine)
    8. Continue to mix it up Kathy(add new events and new artists)
    9. Keep the excitement up by having a limited buyers event – It helps when it’s sold out!
  7. Thoughts on Publicity –
    1. Best publicity is from the Restaurants and Facilities that talk up the event (Kathy)
    2. Rosemary (Our Children’s event creates Amazing Publicity – it’s all over the paper/TV-crew came out – you have Artists working with children and the money goes back to the schools, big plus)
    3. A Cultural/Human Interest story brings the Media
    4. Social Media (LPAPA – One person dedicated to it).
  8. How many volunteers will you need?  Are their community members that would be willing to get involved? Can you partner with other volunteer organizations?  Do you have the support of the community?
    1. Volunteers love when they can be at the event and work with the artists.
  9. How will you attract artists?   (Rosemary: a Big prize amount is a draw - $10,000 is their 1st prize amount) Great painting locations, having host families/accomodation helps, treat the artists well - feed them - and sales!
  10. What venue will you use?  Do you have one, or do you partner/rent/get a sponsor?
    1. After partnering with the Laguna Art Museum for 15 years - last year was the first time LPAPA didn't have the event at the Museum...turned out to be the most successful - Event was held at the Aliso Golf course (rented tent). 
    2. Kathy - no permanent venue.  They work with the National Parks system - follow their rules and guidelines.

The following Panel focused more on Partnering with your community to Raise Awareness and Funding.
 Joe Taylor - so helpful, kind and inspiring

Joe Taylor  - Serves as an Executive Director of Franklin’s Promise Coalition, a hosting partner to the Forgotten Coast Cultural Coalition‘s Plein Air Invitational in Apalachicola, Florida. 
In 2013 he was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer Administrator Award for this work as a manger of volunteers in the nonprofit sector.
Robin Anderson Involved with a New Plein Air Event in Washington called Paint the Peninsula 

Following are some great gems on working with Volunteers and your Community:
  1.  Partner with other organisations that already have a volunteer base in place. National Charity Leage, Boys and Girls Club, Humane Societies, Medical Centers, - Arts can support other groups in your community.
  2. The best way to get a volunteer is to ask (personally)
  3. Joe: Make sure you don’t miss the gifts that are out there.  When you look at volunteers, ask yourself:  What do they have to share? Not, what do I need? Connect with people about what they want to share and then empower them!  - Don’t disconnect with people just because you don’t know someone’s abilities strengths – be curious.
  4.  Have it be skills based - The easiest way to loose a volunteer is asking them to do something they don’t want to do. (Joe)
  5.  Look outside your box.  For the Forgotten Coast event they got a volunteer student from University of Florida to do Social Media in exchange for a stipend.
  6.  There are state agencies that work on developing volunteerism.   Circlesusa.org    (I found this one for California http://www.californiavolunteers.org/index.php/Programs/)

Here are other ideas and suggestions on working with the Community and raising awareness/funds, and an audience for your event:
  1.  Cultural Arts are driving the community economy. Bring in tourists.  (Ann – The tourism bureau provided a PR-Person) Involve the tourists by having supply kits at the hotel…to participate and enter in a competition.
  2.  Most valuable in getting attention and support:  Education and Kid’s Events. 
  3.  Getting the word out with Kid’s Events – reach out to Mommy groups and Facebook to spread the word.  Go to schools and meet with teachers to see what their needs are (contract with teachers to come in)
  4.  To get funding:  Private funders (Ann – we got a lot of retired people and the appeal was Education)
  5. Some examples of what Sponsors are drawn in by: 
  • a.    Visibility
  • b.    Benefitting the Community
  • c.    They share the vision
  • d.    Art Patrons – Art for Art’s sake 
6    Develop relationships with suppliers and vendors
a.    Artists love getting something in their goodie bags.
7.    Local Support - Ann (We had a winery blend a Plein Air Wine – Creates funds/support all year round.)
8.    Easy to get sponsorships for Classes (Adult Basic Classes – small cost /very subsidized.
9.    When applying for grants it is important to keep good numbers of Beds and Heads.  Data is power – collect it and put together a report! 
a.    Have a survey form for participants in the event.
b.    # of students, visitors (lodging taxes and expenditures)
10. There are 2 types of collector base:  Inside versus outside collector base.  Strategic planning is important to not exhaust your market when it comes to collectors.  Ask collectors how it can be a better experience?
11. Refresh your program – keep your eyes open for trends and use what is special about your location.

Lastly, Doglas Morgan,  Michelle Byrne, Paul Kratter and Debra Joy Grosser spoke about plein Air Events from the artist's perspective.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Plein Air Convention 2014 - day 1 - What do Galleries Look for?

 Loading Up
Oil on linen on board

I got up early to paint out on Fisherman's Wharf on Monday morning.   The sun was barely peaking up behind the fishing warehouses and this black fishing boat really caught my eye.  It was a relaxing way to start off the day and I got to talk to some of the participants walking by as well.

After painting I spent the day before the actual start of the convention in the Gallery Discussion Panel and Umbrella Group Meetings on Plein Air Events:

The first panel comprised of Gallery Owners addressed the topic; Using A Gallery as a Pathway to Success...and what galleries look for?   The Gallery Owners represented on this panel were Jonathan Mountainsong from Mountainsong Galleries, Jane Bell Meyer owner of Illume Gallery of Fine Art, and Shaun Horne; both artist and owner of Oh Be Joyful Galleries.
This is what I took away from the discussion:
  • It's imperative to figure out what level I'm on as an artist?   Do extensive research to figure out which galleries to approach.  As an example, Mountainsong only represent Signature members of AIS and OPA.  Action - Who can I ask to assess my level?
  • Be respectful, gracious and persistent in approaching a gallery.  Every gallery has their own preference in how they want to be approached.    Personal referrals by other artists represented by the gallery make a difference. 
  • Be sure to follow, like or friend the gallery on FB.  It's a good way to get on their radar, (especially if you can friend, since they would then get updates on your work).
  • When preparing to present your artwork make sure your website looks great.  The gallery can learn a lot from visiting it.   How consistent and how recent is your body of work?  Do you update events?  A rolling - 12 months - In the News is great.   Prices are important - If your work slowly goes up in value (10%/yr), that's helpful.  Do you have awards and a statement that stands out? 
  • All three gallery owners had no objections to artists selling their own work.  Self-representations is critical at a certain stage of your career and then you have to figure out if you are willing to give up a % of your sales for the services a gallery provides.  The one thing that is imperative is that your prices are consistent in all markets.
  • Shaun mentioned that it's easier representing a newer artist who has great quality work, and is not already in 17 galleries.
  • Mountainsong has a partnership with Amazon to sell art online...something to look into.
  • All in All - Art needs to be your big focus.  Get experience, do Plein Air Events and Art Fairs.  Awards bring credentials, take great workshops with top-notch instructors - but ultimately find your own direction so that you are unique!

What followed this session was one of highlights of the Convention for me; the Panels on Putting together a Plein Air Event.

I will share more about that in my next post!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Arriving in Monterey - Plein Air Convention 2014

Sunday April 6th

So I'm now in my hotel room at the Portola Hotel determined to go to bed early so I can get up and paint at the break of dawn!    Can't figure out how to access my photos on my Ipad even after down-loading the app needed...argh!
So if you want, check out my FB page to see photos and I'll update when I get back home!      The drive up was really nice!   I listened to AHA shows, of course:) which kept me inspired and enthused!   I am now looking forward to seeing Debra Joy Groesser, who is the president of the American Impressionist Society and was a joy to learn more about on the show.   Don Demers, in his interview put into words so beautifully how sailing is an activity of sensory fulfillment and mindfulness, which is the way I feel about art.   I'm in the mood for a week of art immersion!!

Speaking of sensory fulfillment, I drove the 101 up, which I didn't think would be too distracting, but with all the green vistas dappled with yellow and orange blooms and then this wonderful haze of the distant mountains after King City I couldn't help, but snap a few pictures... It's difficult to be an artist:) especially driving, when there's so much beauty to be painted.

There are almost 700 artists registered I was told.   Got my goodie bag and turned in my painting for the display.   Didn't paint this evening, but scouted a few locations and saw a few painters.  Coming here on my own I know it's going to take a little more effort to reach out, but doing so I feel better already!   So far I've seen Lori Putnam, Michele Burne and Richard Lindenberg, but of course they don't really know me:). Must be so weird to be in that category, where people know who you are and might know a lot about you and your work, but you don't know them:)

Good Night!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Off to the Plein Air Convention 2014

Early Risers
Oil on linen on Panel

Tomorrow I'm off to the 3rd Annual Plein Air Convention up in Monterey.   It's my first time and I'm feeling a little trepidacious...excited and everything in between.     I'm heading up on my own.   It was an investment for sure, and the reason I finally decided to take the plunge this year is because this time around there will be more painting time during the convention, on top off the great lectures and demos of course.   Another plus is that there's an opportunity to display your work, which I think is a great addition to the event.  Let's see what happens!!   It's always hard to leave my boys, but I'm looking forward to some painting time, starting fresh after struggling this past week.

Here are some of my goals for the week:
  • Learn a few new things in the marketing boot camp I can take action on after.
  • See at least Charlie Hunter, Randall Sexton, Lori Putnam and Marcia Burtt demo and then some!!
  • Pay attention to what I can learn watching other painters regarding confident brush strokes...especially for fields and grasses...
  • Meet new friends
  • Run into old friends
  • Exchange business cards - to stay connected after.
  • Learn more about Galleries
  • And most of all - Have Fun Painting - with no pressure :-)
I hope to post about my experience during the week, especially if I can upload some photos...but if I'm not able I will after I get back!

Hope to see you there!

Happy Painting where ever you are!