Our third Plein Air class was in the middle of very quiet Amish countryside, near New Wilmington, PA. The three of us stood within in a fairly small area but all chose different views, so came away with three totally different paintings.
I liked these big trees overshadowing the farmhouse buildings, with the big barn a little closer to me. There were numerous Amish buggies coming and going, and horses being used to plow the fields, so almost the only noise was of horses’ hooves. Altogether a very peaceful three hours of painting.
For our second 3 hour lesson we went to a rural area and found a pumpkin field. One fascinating aspect of painting outdoors with other people is that we can stand in a small area together and produce totally different paintings!
My choice of view and subject was based on the pumpkins leading up to the white barns, which are silhouetted by the dark trees. I also liked including the distant hills. I had a strong sense of representing the feel of what was in front of me rather than the exact image. To that end I ‘moved’ the pumpkins around quite a bit!
This is another painting completed in a series of lessons with Kari Rajkumar. The original is a self-portrait by John Singleton Copley, a famous and well-established Colonial artist, who moved to London in 1774. I’m afraid I made him look slightly chubbier in the cheeks than he painted himself, but the process was absorbing and instructive.
Every year at Thanksgiving (November) I use cored Red Delicious apples to hold candles for the table decoration. It seems in line with the pioneer spirit and using what is easily to hand.
A few days after Thanksgiving last year I still had these on the table and was sitting contemplating the world when I noticed a beautiful morning light on them that really brought them alive, even without flame in the candles! I quickly took several photos and painted this from one of the photos with my Geneva oil paints.
Finally finished! I feel my version looks a bit more intense than the original, maybe slightly more worried. The more I look at it, the more changes I see I could make to match the original more accurately. Whilst that seems to lead to a never-ending project, it is also one of the wonderful aspects of drawing or painting that I love; the more you look, the more you see, and you really come to know and appreciate that object in a different way than previously.
I’ve had the great pleasure of having four lessons with Kari Rajkumar, from Paris IL, this spring (Feb, March, May and June). She is an accomplished artist in oil portraits. I first saw her paintings on display in Terre Haute last fall and knew right away that I’d like to learn from her.
We decided to delay starting lessons until after Christmas. It worked out best for her to come to my home, which was very convenient for me! We worked on a copy of a portrait by John Singer Sargent, each working on our own painting. She instructed and described processes as we went along in the 3 hour lessons.
I learnt so much great information about oil paintings and portraits in particular. I also benefitted from applying those to my other paintings, which Kari would then critique for me. That was really helpful.