Saturday 21 Oct was Bloomington Open Studios Tour and I spent an invigorating couple of hours visiting three local artists (painters). I was especially impressed by Dawn Adams www.DawnAdamsPaintings.com and Meg Lagodzki www.meglagodzki-art.com
It was inspiring to see their working spaces, to talk to them about their history, processes and results.
Dawn Adams uses multiple thin layers of oil paint to acheive marvelously luminous landscapes and seascapes. That was very interesting to me, as I’m currently reading Glazing by Michael Wilcox
which I have on interlibrary loan. This method takes a long time and a lot of patience. I wonder what effects I could obtain with transparent acrylics?
Meg Lagodzki also paints in oils and had a very interesting series on local quarries, which seemed to me an unlikely subject, but she had created many beautiful paintings with fascinating shapes and colors, reinforcing the idea to me that beauty can be found in unlikely areas if you know how to look at it and interpret it.
Acrylic on hardboard, 6 x 8 in
This was from a photo that my daughter-in-law posted online. I loved everything about it, so asked permission (granted) to paint it. I love the light on Lois and on the river, giving her such beautiful golden hair and the river such wonderful green hues. I love her pose and the shadow it forms. What did she stop to look at and what is she thinking?
Acrylic on hardboard, 6x 6 ins
This time I really sat outside–on my deck, looking out at my backyard, early on Saturday morning. I really wanted to paint the sunlight coming through the trees and tried to make this a ‘response painting’ rather than an accurate representation. It became more accurate than I intended, but I like the effect. At least I put something down on the board before the sun moved above the trees!
These paintings were all done from the front seat of my van. Is it ‘plein air’ if the window is closed? (I think the window might have been open though! We have had weeks of gloriously clear, sunny, warm weather) It seems the important aspect is to be looking at the real object in its real life setting. The first one is on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington, IN. It took me about 30 minutes.
Acrylic on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches
The second painting is also on the IU campus, done on a different day. I loved the morning shadows on the building, but feel I didn’t paint them quite how I wanted.
Acrylic on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches
I tried again the next week, using watercolor in my art journal. I like this one better. I think it was helpful to include the big tree that is casting the shadows on the building. Perhaps I was better at drawing it the second time. Perhaps the vertical format is more suitable? Total absorption for one beautiful hour!
Watercolor on Arches 90lb paper, 3.5 x 4.5 inches
Acrylic on gessoed hardboard, 6 x 6 in
My second attempt! On this occasion our family went to a local park and the other members played disc golf while I painted, from a picnic table.
I was experimenting with using a palette or painting knife. It was fun and rather freeing! It brings different expectations. I also really enjoyed scraping out with the knife.
At first I tried to capture the sun setting behind the trees, casting lovely shadows and golden patterns on the grass. Then I tried to paint the sunset before it disappeared. It really seemed to be moving fast!
I like the sky painting better. It seems almost abstract and yet I know what it is.
(I should not have left the date setting on on my camera! I know now to remember to remove it for paintings.)
Acrylic, 6 x 6 in
This is my first attempt at real plein air painting, done in July 2017. We were on a 3 week family camping trip around the northeast and I brought my pochade box along for all 3400 miles! It was surprisingly difficult to find enough solitary, quiet time to concentrate on a painting. Plus maybe I was a little afraid of the process.
At a campground near Philadelphia I got up before everyone else one morning and painted this view from our picnic table. The early sun was lovely on the trees just beyond the pond. It’s pretty rough, but it reminds me of the peace of the moment.
I’ve had a lovely time painting summer flowers in watercolor. The lily is from a photo I took from my garden earlier in the summer. The dark background was actually the fence, but I love the flow of blues and purples. It seems so regal to me.
White Lily, watercolor, 7 x 7 in, on Arches 300 lb paper
The dogwood is from a photo I took in April when my mother visited. We were both enthralled by the delicate beauty of the dogwood trees in flower and went on a dogwood hunt. Suddenly we found them everywhere! I find it fascinating that what seems to be the flower petals are actually the protective bracts, and the very small central green bumps are the un-opened flowers.
Dogwood, watercolor, 7 x 7 ins, on Arches 300 lb paper