Monday, February 25, 2008

First Sold Painting at the Exhibit

On Frozen Pond was the first painting of mine to be sold yesterday at the opening reception of Recent Landscapes and Wishful Thinking at The Butternut Gallery. It is a small (image 10 x 10inch) tonalist* painting. The folks who purchased it spent a long time whispering to each other, walking back and forth in front of the gallery wall. It was a well-considered purchase. A joy for me, as they have several of my paintings all ready.

It will remain as part of the exhibit through April 19th and then it will go to a very good and appreciative home.

"Tonalism is somewhat elusive and hard to define precisely. It means subtlety, first of all -- subtle shifts in tone and color." by William Zimmer, NYTimes, 1999

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Recent Landscapes and Wishful Thinking

Yesterday I delivered 13 new paintings to The Butternut Gallery for a exhibition called Recent Landscapes and Wishful Thinking. February 22 through April 19 at 42 Church Street, Montrose, PA. Hours 11-5 Thursday, Friday, & Saturday. 570-278-4011

I thoroughly enjoyed preparing for this group show; what turned out to be an eclectic group of pastels and two watercolors. I did not think much about sticking to a theme or genre; I painted just what I wanted. It really was a joy to have that freedom and at the same time be held to a deadline and the structure of a show. Absent was the angst of a solo show.

Shown is Acidanthera; one of the wishful thinking aspects of this winter show. These fragrant gladioli are favorites in my late summer garden. Their scent is musky and I love their structure. This pastel painting image size is 14 x 10 inches and sells for $400 framed under glass in rustic gold wood.

Just about 24 hours after delivering the work to the 2nd floor gallery on an icy morning here in NE PA, I slipped on my own freshly mopped mudroom floor and incurred an open dislocation of my left pinky finger. One of the joys of small town living is that I got to spend an hour with an old friend, Renee, the ER nurse, who I have known since childhood. Her expertise and good humor is comforting to all unfortunate patients and provides a chance to catch up on neighborhood news and children....supposed to be resting the hand now...hope to see you at The Butternut...I'll be the (hopefully the only) one with the bandage. The orthopedic surgeon said I was brave...he refrained from commenting on my co-ordination.

I'm sure it had nothing to do with the unlucky number of paintings....right?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Why Plein Air?

Because that's where one learns to see...really see. Knowing what lurks in the shadows, what color the leaves reflect, even what the local sounds and smells are makes convincing paintings. Plein air painting for me informs all my other work. What I have learned looking at a mountain range in Arizona helps me paint my own Endless Mountains back in my Pennsylvania studio. Struggling against bright glare to see the waves rolling into the beach in Costa Rica teaches me something about the Susquehanna river. Just dragging an easel out your studio door for a quick warm-up painting will do so much for your skills. Plein air work teaches you to select for subject and compose to your canvas or paper borders. It teaches you to move along, speed it up and keep the energy flowing.

Plein air is the background, the homework for painting from other sources. I see many painters, wasting precious time, using photos when they should be out in the field observing. Once they've done that they may be ready to paint from photos and their own imagination.

Besides it's the most fun you can have and still call it work.

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