BACK TO:

Sadie’s Art Classes and Videos
www.sadievaleriatelier.com

Sadie’s Artwork and Shows
www.sadievaleri.com

Search this Blog
Blog Highlights

Quick links to popular categories:

Materials and Techniques

Class Notes

Step-by-step painting demos

Hudson River Fellowship 2009

Women Painting Women Expedition

Travel

Blog Archives

Over the last decade this blog has become a resource for a lot of information and I’m happy to continue to make it available, even though the blog is not updated as often. Announcements and news are now posted on our Events Page, Facebook account, and Instagram account.

To make sure you get my studio updates sign up for my mailing list:

Entries in plein air (51)

Friday
Sep072012

Monochromatic Plein Air Painting in Lake County, California

My husband Nowell and I spent this week at a country retreat a couple hours north of San Francisco, in Lake County. We rent a little house there that is on 80 fences acres, with private hiking trains and gorgeous views to rival the Hudson River Valley… although quite a bit drier and hotter this time of year.

I LOVE working with my Open Box M palette, Manfrotto tripod, and Manfrotto arm with the Julian Umbrella. 

I looked at my old post about this and realized a lot of the links are broken, so here it is updated:

Extra tip: Carry most the items to your painting site in a backpack. Then, when you are set up and the backpack is empty, fill it with a couple hefty ROCKS and hang it from a clamp on the tripod. It makes your whole setup very stable even in a swift breeze.

 I decided ahead of time to try for some discipline on my plein air studies by focusing on value, and painting with only monochromatic colors. So I did not even pack any colored paint, and tried to see how much I could get out of just Transparent Oxide Brown, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium white.

My first painting was supposed to be a “simple” tree study. Of course, trees are very, very hard to capture the drawing issues of gesture and structure, much like painting the human figure. I spent so much time trying to draw the sahpes of the branches that I had a hard time trying to get the feeling of the filtered backlit sunlight through the leaves.

Having a dog for company is the best way to paint outdoors! Ripley is used to hanging out with me at the studio, and so she was happy to settle down to hang out with me. It was hot though, and even in the shade she panted and could not get comfortable. So one day I decided to leave her back at the house… but Nowell said she cried and whined at the door while I was gone. So from now on she gets to come along no matter the weather.

For my second painting I decided to stand further back and try to capture the overall shape of a different tree and its environment and lighting.

The midafternoon sun was hidden by hazey clouds by the time I took a ohoto of the scene, but I was done with the sketch.

I felt like that painting got too opaque, so for my 3rd painting I painted with very thin, dry, brown paint, and used white only minimally.

I thought that would be my last painting of the trip, but at the end of the day I was inspired to try a quick sketch of a little grove of trees lit from the front by the late afternoon sun.

The previous paintings took 2-3 hours each, but in this scene the shadows shifted quickly and I only had about 30 minutes before the effect was lost completely, but it was fun to try to capture the feeling of the late-day summer light.

My setup on the last day of our trip. I’m looking forward to coming back with colors on another trip!


 

Thursday
Aug112011

40 in France

This year I turned 40, and to celebrate I planned a month of landscape painting in France, something I have wanted to do since I first visited France at age 16. I chose the Dordogne region in the south-west of France because of it’s reputation for beautiful, varied landscape: rolling green hills, cliff towns, winding rivers, forests, and most important…… castles!!

Chateau Feyrac, 9x12, oil on paper

We rented a house in the gorgeous little town of Beynac-et-Cazenac, which is a network of steep cobblestoned streets and adorable stone houses crowned with a 12th century castle at the top.

Veiw of Chateau Beynac from the Dordogne, 9x12, oil in paper

I decided to paint on paper for a portable, lightweight material perfect for plein air sketches. Before the trip I cut sheets of Rives BFK printing paper in various tones into standard sizes, mostly 5x7 and 9x12. Then I primed the paper with 2 coats of Golden Acrylic Medium. Each day I just taped a piece of paper to a foamcore backing and mounted it on my Open Box M setup. It was a wonderful surface to paint on!

See my previous blog post post describing my plein air setup

As it turned out, it ended up raining for 2 of the 4 weeks we were in Beynac, so I did not get to paint nearly as much as I’d planned. But instead we hung out with visiting friends and family who shared our rental house and rented other houses in the same village.

Chateau Castelnaud, 9x12, oil on paperAt the very end of the trip the rain cleared and I got one last painting day in. I found a beautiful quiet spot next to a field of corn with a view of neighboring Chateau Castelnaud. The day was warm and lazy, and the #1 BEST thing about painting in France is….. NO MOSQUITOS!!!!

To see all of my paintings from France this summer:

Picasa Google+ Album: France Plein Air 2011

Facebook Album: France Plein Air 2011

See my photos of Paris, Beynac, and the Dirdgne region of France:

Facebook Album: Artsy Shots of France 2011

Wednesday
Apr202011

From the Hudson to the Dordogne

A view of the Dordogne River in France

In Summer of 2009 I was accepted into the Hudson River Fellowship started by Jacob Collins. I blogged during the month-long trip, posting all of my plein air sketches and paintings as we learned to study the landscape as the pre-Impressionist painters of the 19th century did: With careful, detailed contour drawings of foreground elements, and precise color analysis of the landscape.

This summer I’ll be spending the month of July with my husband in the Dordogne region of south west rural France,where we have rented a house and plan to set up a home base. I’ll be doing landscape study using the same Hudson River School methods and techniques to draw and paint the medieval villages, castles, and rolling countryside of this historic region.

I’ll be posting everything to my blog, and hope you’ll follow along with my plein air adventure! If you’d like to be notified the moment I post new artwork during my trip you can sign up for my mailing list by entering your email address in the column to the right of this post.

Wednesday
Nov172010

Plein Air Setup

 

 

 

Painting outdoors is inspiring, beautiful, centering, and so adrenaline-rushing as to be addictive!
However, it is also uncomfortable, frustrating, full of distractions, and when your umbrella topples your easel over in a breeze, exceptionally maddening.
I have finally assembled a setup I find to be ideal - a good balance of lightweight, sturdy, and flexible:

 

This is how I pack it:
Instead of carrying around tubes of oil paint, I load up my Open M pallete with fresh nuggets of paint before I leave for the day. Sometimes I pack a small tube of white, if it’s going to be a long day out.

 

I can fit my Open M pochade box, brushes, and solvent can in a backpack or shoulder bag, along with paper towels, lunch, etc.

The tripod, cane, Manfrotto arm, and umbrella I lash together with 2 short bungee cords. All those things combined are not very heavy, and I can carry it by the cane handle, or under my arm easily. For a long hike I might get a strap for it so I can carry it on my back.
Travelling with oil paints
I have traveled now many times with oil paint, and despite the horror stories we have all heard about having oil paints confiscated, I have never had a problem with this procedure:

 

Here is what I do:

 

  • Download and print a couple “material safety data sheets” (MSDS) which describe the contents of the paint - there’s a different sheet for every color, but I just choose 2 or 3 and print those. Each manfacturer writes up and makes data sheets available online as PDF for all their colors, just google search one your paint brands and a color name with the phrase “material safety data sheets” and you’ll find it.
    Here is a list of links to of many of the of MSDS paint brands
  • Print out a sign with big font that says:
    These are vegetable oil based artists materials.
    They are not flammable.
    Data sheets enclosed.
    DO NOT USE THE WORD “PAINT”. The word paint is a big problem.
  • Fold the MSDS sheets and the sign together so the big message shows up on top.
  • Put all the tubes of oil paint in a gallon-sized heavy duty ziplock, and put in the folded packet of sheets so the sign is visible through the plastic bag. Make sure every tube is tightly-capped and there are not any holes in any of the tubes, the pressure changes during the flight will make a mess of any leaky tubes.
  • Place the bag near the top of your suitcase with the sign-side up so it’s immediately accessible if security searches my bag. (I always get that little note saying they searched my bag, but my paint has never been confiscated.)
  • Check the bag. I wouldn’t try to bring paints on board.
  • I also packed a tiny tin of the “natural turpenoid” (in the GREEN can) along with my painting supplies in my checked bag, to use as my medium. It says non-flammable very clearly right on the tin. I wouldn’t use it as a medium in major paintings, but for sketches and all prima work while travelling it’s probably fine.
  • I wouldn’t bring any solvents, oils, mediums, or any kind of mysterious liquids in bottles. I usually buy those or borrow them when I arrive
  • Finally: Don’t forget your palette knife! :)


Hope that helps! It would be terrible if the paints got confiscated and that’s always a risk, so I can’t guarantee it will be fine, but it’s worked for me.

 

Friday
Nov122010

WPW on Expedition: Wed and Thurs


Philadelphia Alley, Queen Street entrance, Charleston, SC
9 x 12 inches, oil on panel


Wednesday I painted in downtown Charleston. This city is so beautiful that I saw a half-dozen scenes I'd like to paint within just a couple blocks! I finally set up in a cobble stoned alley


Color study of Lauren

10 x 14, oil on panel

After painting outside for the afternoon, we hired a model for the evening and set up in the living room. I am completely unfamiliar with single-session figure painting, so I was scrambling for the 3 hours, but I was happy to at least have managed a reasonably proportioned figure with basic color blocked in.

Today (Thursday) I returned to Magnolia Gardens and decided to do pencil sketches of an amazing tableau of 3 live oaks which I'd spotted on our previous trip to the gardens.


Tuesday
Nov092010

WPW on Expedition: Tuesday


Tree study at the Isle of Hope, SC

Today Shannon Runquist invited us to paint at her home, which backs up to to marshland where I set up. We also hired a model, and some painters worked with her on Shannon's veranda.

 Raw umber underpainting, leaving edges soft


Blocked in the sky to help define edges

Blocked in marsh grasses

Smaller brushes to define details and edges of leaves.

I'm hoping to get another session on this painting when we return Thursday.



This was my lovely painting location, on a dock over the marsh

I am loving my plein air setup with the umbrella and a new double-jointed elbow clamp to attach it to the tripod. I am also really happy with my Open Box M easel. I'll be writing a full description of my setup soon!


A friend kept me company at the end of the dock.

Monday
Nov082010

WPW on Expedition: Monday


Pond Study, Magnolia Plantation and Gardens
5 x 7, oil on panel

Today we visited a beautiful botanical garden, it has 500 square acres but we were all ready to set up our easels after walking just a few feet into the grounds. There were so many amazing scenes to paint I wish I could spend a month there!

The photo of the painting was taken with my phone, better quality coming soon!

Monday
Nov082010

WPW on Expedition: Charleston, SC

Sullivan's Island Marsh Study, 5 x 7, oil on panel

Shoreline Study from Sullivan's Island, 5 x 7, oil on panel


3 hour Study of Lucy

Brown pencil on paper, 9x12

A quick recap of the art taking place!

In addition to the exciting show opening events, we have actually been getting real work done! The first day we worked from a live model. I was not ready to paint yet and did the above line drawing of the 3-hour pose.

The next morning some people painted in downtown Charleston, but Catherine Prescott and I stayed behind to work at the marsh:


Every morning we wake to an amazing sunrise
 over the incoming tide just outside our windows.

Mia Bergeron painting at low tide just outside our house.


Our house.

Alia El-Bermani painting on the deck of the house

Catherine Prescott painting with me at the marsh Saturday.

I was on cooking duty Saturday evening and made 6 roasted garlic, lemon and basil chickens.

Me posing with my oil sketch of a tree

Diane Fiessel braving the chilly breezes on a small bridge.

Study of fallen Live Oak, in water
5 x 7, oil on panel

Sunday afternoon we went to Magnolia Cemetery, a beautiful 19th century park-like setting with spanish moss-draped oaks and ornate statuary overlooking ponds and marshes.

Photo of statuary at Magnolia Cemetery

Photo of statuary at Magnolia Cemetery


Oil sketch, Magnolia Cemetery, 9 x 12, oil on panel

Mountains of steamed oysters!!

Tonight we were treated to a dose of true Southern hospitality by artist Shannon Runquist and her husband Lars when they invited us to her home for an amazing oyster roast. She stuffed us with oysters, grits-and-shrimp, and banana merengue pie, what a fabulous evening!

Friday
Nov052010

Women Painting Women On Expedition

Twelve of the brightest rising female painters from across the country will be convening  November 4-12 2010 for a week of painting the figure, the city and the beautiful marshes and beaches surrounding Charleston, South Carolina.

We have arrived in Charleston!  Amazingly I woke up at 7am here this morning just in time to see the dawn, despite still being on West Coast time after a day of flying yesterday. I arrived into a small cyclone of artists, it feels like a reunion even though many of us had never met in person before last night.

9am the first day and we are already all set up and painting and drawing a live model Alia hired for us:


The living room of the Sullivan's Island house

This morning we are already set up to paint and draw with a live model in the living room of our beach house.

The following are the On Expedition 2010 participating artists (click the name for links):

Alexandra Tyng – Narberth, PA

Alia El-Bermani – Cary, NC

Catherine Prescott – Harrisburg, PA

Cindy Procious – Chattanooga, TN

Diane Feissel – Philadelphia, PA

Katherine Stone – Toronto, ON, Canada

Linda Tracey Brandon – Phoenix, AZ

Mia Bergeron – Chattanooga, TN

Rachel Constantine – Philadelphia, PA

Sadie Valeri – San Francisco, CA

Terry Strickland – Pelham, Alabama

Stefani Tewes –Laguna Beach, CA

This inaugural painting retreat and exhibition represents the first effort by Women Painting Women to encourage women artists, advance art education, and showcase some of the best painting happening today. Women Painting Women founder Sadie Valeri states the following:

“The quality, professionalism, and high level of training and vision being expressed by women artists have the potential to alter all of our ideas about who is making art and what they are saying. The paintings we have displayed on the Women Painting Women website express the wide-ranging and constantly shifting issues of identity and self-expression women face as they navigate their lives – including choices about how, whether and when to raise families. We have noticed that many women feel they are struggling with these issues alone, but seeing all the artwork together is developing a sense of community among us.”

Follow Women Painting Women on Facebook

Thursday
Jul222010

Plein air in Maine III


On the Shores of Sebago Lake
9 x 12 oil on panel

Today was the very first day I have ever actually enjoyed painting outdoors. I have only done a small amount of plein air painting, only a couple weeks in addition to last year's month-long Hudson Fellowship. And most the time I am outside, I am wondering why I simply can't paint with the ease and enjoyment I feel in the studio.

Well, like anything, it's just a matter of practice. Today was a big step forward for me. It might have something to with the fact I was set up in the shade of huge pines, with a carpet of red needles beneath my feet, and the sounds of birds and distant motorboats around me... which is how I spent the happiest days of my childhood.


Road to the Summer Cottage
9x12 oil on panel

High on this morning's fun, I set up the easel again this afternoon and put in a 3rd session on the composition I started earlier this week, adding more color and light. I loved the challenge of the sandy dirt road with streaks of sunlight across it. I ended up painting the wheel tracks with a pale blue/lavender, and the streaks of sunlight with a warm salmon pink. My experiment was to show the sunlight with an emphasis on the hue shift, and less of a value shift. Since I mostly feel comfortable thinking in in value instead of hue/color, I've been trying to exercise my color skills. Outside there is even more range of value than indoors, so color is really the only way to approximate what the paint values can't accomplish.

My husband and I leave Maine tomorrow, so my painting vacation is done. Next week we visit our family in Pennsylvania and our days will be full with enjoying our young nephews and niece. I also have the pleasure of meeting up with my favorite Women Painting Women, Diane and Alia who are my amazing partners in managing the WPW blog and WPW Facebook page. Last New Year's we met up at the Met, this time it's the Philly Museum of Fine Art to check out some Eakins. Will keep you posted!!

Wednesday
Jul212010

Plein air in Maine II


Morning at Songo Lock, Sebago Lake, Maine
9x12 oil on panel

I worked on this painting for 3 morning sessions. Next time I'll try a lighter underpainting, as the overall cast looks very dark. But I really enjoyed painting the lichen on the trees, and the lilypads on the water surface. Whenever I start a painting outside I have grand plans, but then realize the level of study I'd like to explore would require several sessions per square inch on the canvas!


Study of Trees at Songo Lock
9x12, oil on panel

This one was a quick alla prima study, done in a couple hours. I just started from a point of interest and worked outwards. I realized I should have started with at least a light color wash to knock back the white ground, as I ended up trying to figure out how to fill in background around brushstrokes I liked. A great learning experience.

I am painting on New Traditions Painting Panels
http://www.newtraditionsartpanels.com/index.html
I like the portrait grade linen, oil primed, mounted on gator foam.

I am also loving my Open Box M, it's a fantastic, lightweight, and flexible plein air easel and palette for use with a tripod. This is the one I have:
http://www.openboxm.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=OBMIPAPS&Product_Code=480&Category_Code=PPHp

Sunday
Jul182010

Plein air painting in Maine

I think the landscape of your earliest memories makes an indelible impression, so I am thrilled to be painting on the shores of a lake in Maine!

Yesterday I did a pencil drawing in the morning just to get comfortable working outside again. Then I found a spot in the afternoon for a multiple-session painting and started a monochromatic under painting.

This morning I found a new spot and started a morning painting. My plan is to work on each of them for the rest of the week.

It's been hot, but since I am usually freezing when I paint outside, sitting still in the shade for a couple hours and feeling warm is perfect painting weather. Mosquitos have not even been that bad, only 3 bites so far!

We are staying at my friend Kyra's summer house for the week, and she and Nowell also have projects they are working on a few hours a day, so it's a productive vacation for all of us!

The Hudson Fellowship is going on right now, you can see what they are up to on their blog:
http://grandcentralacademy.blogspot.com/

Also you can see all my posts from last year's Hudson Fellowship here:
/search/label/Hudson%20River%20Fellowship

Thursday
Aug062009

Outdoor Art Materials

I was just reading the comments in James Gourney's nice writeup for the Fellowship and realized I learned a lot about materials for outdoor painting during the trip and I thought I'd share.

Outdoor easel setup
Just about everyone was using a paint box palette mounted to a photographer's tripod for their plein air setup. (Some people preferred a light metal easel to mount their canvas and then held their palette in their hand, but there's so much to do with the non-painting hand outdoors - like swat mosquitoes - that I prefer a mounted palette).

Guerrilla Pochade Box
I started out with my 9"x12" Guerrilla box which has served me well on previous neighborhood plein air sketching but I quickly found it is too heavy and boxy for anything beyond a 10-minute hike. Considering I was climbing steep slippery rock steps most days to my waterfall site, I was really wishing for a lighter option. The plus side of the Guerrilla box is that it is extremely functional and sturdy and has tons of room for storing things. And its very cute boxy proportions draw lots of compliments. Emily Lee had the even cuter 6"x8" version and she was really happy with it, but you can see she sometimes had to use a handheld palette because the paint-mixing area is tiny.

Alla Prima Pochade
Everyone oohed and aahed over this nifty, well-designed box when it was shipped to Fellow Dorain Iten. The components are held together with magnets and the nice wood and beautiful design is eyecatching. He really liked using it, especially for the magnet that holds your palette knife while you work. The full version has awesome drawers and there is a "light" option that has separate storage compartments that attach with magnets, but even the light option still seemed a bit heavy for me.

Open Box M
Our instructors all used the "M" and after deliberating quite a while this is the option I decided to upgrade to. It's very expensive, but they offer a less expensive "kit" that includes a shoulder bag instead of the outer wooden box. However, I've personally found it very annoying to hike with a shoulder bag flopping over my arm. A backpack is the way to go.

After spending quite a bit of time on the site I finally figured out you can buy the palette/panel holder separately from everything else. I decided to order that alone, at 9"x10" and $195, and if I really feel the need I'll buy the wet panel carrier box separately later. Those two options even separately are less expensive than the kit that includes the shoulder bag - and much less expensive than the whole set which includes a wooden outer box. In the meantime, I'll use these lightweight "cocoon" wet panel carriers.

UPDATE: Lines and Colors posted a complete and detailed review of all the pochade box options available, be sure to check it out before you invest in one! It seems that Charley Parker went with the Alla Prima Pochade, it certainly looks like an amazing box. I'll come back and post and update later about how I like working with the Open Box M.


UPDATE 2: HRF Fellow Peter Sakievich posted a photo and description of his Open Box M setup on his blog.

Julian Umbrella
We all were jealous of Nick Hiltner's huge white umbrella that shielded him from rain, sun, and even more importantly... curious passersby! Several of us ended up ordering them and having them delivered directly to our location in the Catskills. Nick warned us that every part of the umbrella breaks often, but there really are no other options for white artist umbrellas we could find, and he said the manufacturer is willing to replace broken parts. Sure thing, the clamp contact has popped off, the umbrella has detached from the clamp (both luckily fixable on the spot) and after a week 3 spines had detached from the nylon. I reinforced every spine connection with duct tape so mine is not so pretty any more. All that said, it is a fantastic umbrella - it kept me dry even during one epic 3.5 hour downpour painting session. The white material casts perfect, diffused lighting on my canvas under all light conditions. And the most important feature... only the most brave passersby dare peek under the huge umbrella.

 

Camp Chair
I started out with the tiniest, lightest, overpriced at $20, 3-legged camp stool from REI, and in about 30 minutes realized it is miserable to sit on and has a bad habit of tipping. I "upgraded" to a folding, armless camp chair for $13 at the local hardware store. But I and everyone else who bought that one found that the seat and/or back canvas tore from the supports after a couple weeks of all-day painting sessions. The most hardcore of our group were lugging around full camp chairs with armrests which seemed like overkill to me, till I saw how nicely their umbrellas clamped to the arms, and how their turp jars nestled in the mesh cup-holders! So I might be upgrading to a fancy camp chair.

Painting Panels
I have been using wooden Art Boards in my studio and Gessoboard panels outside for a couple years now, but recently I'm finding I prefer a fine grade oil primed linen surface for outdoor painting (indoors I'll still use smooth wood for the most detail). I tried these:

Art Board oil primed linen 9"x12": $17.89
I liked the silky fine surface of these panels, but I found the damp conditions I was painting in made the panels warp forwards slightly. They will be fine once framed, but the warping was annoying on a multi-day painting.

Utrecht Master's oil primed linen 9"x12": $9.99
This panel is ok quality for a cheap price, and it's probably perfect for single-session plein air artists who like texture and thick paint. However, for multi-session painting with thin paint and more detail, this canvas has way too much texture.

New Traditions oil primed linen with gaterfoam 9"x 12": $10.17
Our instructors were using New Traditions and although I have not used them yet (just ordered my first batch) I was sold on their texture, lightweight archival gaterfoam core, and non-warping properties. And the price is right! You can choose different support materials and different finishes, but the portrait grade lead oil primed linen was my choice.

Tripod
I borrowed Dorians' tripod briefly but I loved it and hope to buy my own. The grip to move the ball head in any direction was easy and smooth and the tripod was really sturdy and even a tiny bit lighter than mine. It's the Manfrotto 190XPROB and Horizontal Grip Action Ball Head. It's expensive though, I might be waiting quite a while before I upgrade to this. There are much cheaper and lightweight tripods, and as with all things plein air the choice is between something durable/heavyweight versus something lightweight/flimsy.

 

Tuesday
Aug042009

Grand Central's Hudson Blog Post

Jacob Collins' Grand Central Academy, which sponsors the Hudson River Fellowship, has posted drawings and paintings by this year's Fellows on their blog:
grandcentralacademy.blogspot.com

Also, James Gourney, author of the blog "Gourney Journey", visited the Fellowship for our last evening meeting and then wrote up a nice post about us:
gurneyjourney.blogspot.com

Sunday
Aug022009

Hudson Fellowship Final Post: SOLD

Sunset in the Catskills (SOLD)
9 x 12
oil on linen

Saturday
Aug012009

Hudson Fellowship Day 26


Tree Color Study
9 x 12 inches
oil on linen panel

What a day - up and out in the field by 7:30am, quick run home for a 30 minute break at midday, then back to the field till 4:30. At 7:30 we'll go out again for a final attempt at a sunset study. We're trying to cram in one last good long workday before we leave tomorrow. Best part is it's been warm and sunny all day, and the puffy cumulus clouds rolling by all afternoon are indicating a killer sunset to come.

The painting above is my continuation of the painting I started a couple days ago. Later I moved into the shadow of the same tree to do a close-up drawing of it's awesome tangle of branches coming off the trunk (below).


Last, I did this little sketch of Emily under her white umbrella as she painted in a field of purple wildflowers under billowing cumulus clouds.

Emily en Plein Air
oil on linen
6 x 8 inches

Next up, dinner and then a final attempt at a sunset sketch. I'm really not looking forward to the sunset session as I have officially run out of bug repellent...

I probably won't have time to post again for a few days, as I plan to jump in the car early tomorrow to start my 4-hour drive to Pennsylvania where I'm meeting up with my husband before we fly together back to San Francisco in a few days. Thanks to everyone for following along, it's been a really intense month and I've appreciated all of your well-wishes.

Friday
Jul312009

Hudson Fellowship Day 25


Tree Branch Study
pencil on paper
approx 6 x 9 inches

We made a valiant effort to get up and out early to work by 8am while the weather was clear, but the rain came down hard by 10am and we had to scramble to the car before we floated away - all I got done was a block-in drawing of the tree I painted yesterday, not even worth posting here.

It continued to pour hard the rest of the afternoon, so a few of us set up to work on the porch of the house we are staying in. The above is my drawing of a particularly dramatic tree branch visible in the yard. It's such a great specimen of organic form, I don't know why I ever needed to venture off the porch at all!

Here are Fellows Ken Salaz and Emilie Lee working with me on the porch to avoid the rain:


Tomorrow is supposed to be sunny and warm, our last full work day, so many of us are hoping to get in a final session of working from our primary subjects.

Thursday
Jul302009

Hudson Fellowship Day 24

Tree Color Study
9 x 12 inches
oil on linen panel

Yesterday was a washout - got all set up to work, only got a couple hours into it, and the rain came down so hard everything turned grey/white and we had to call it a day. Today Kaaterskill falls was swollen beyond recognition - majestic and exciting, but not at all like the peaceful terraced pools in the study I am working on, so a couple of us decided to head for high ground and do a tree studies instead. Had a great time with the above painting - and wow it's nice change to be out in the sunshine instead of hunkered down in the chilly mist of the falls!

Tomorrow it's a tossup: the plan is to check out the falls and if we decide the waters are still too rambunctious we'll head for the high warm plateau with the lovely trees again.

Only two more full workdays to go....

Tuesday
Jul282009

Hudson Fellowship Day 22

Kaaterskill Lower Falls Value Sketch
(work in progress)
9 x 12 inches
oil on linen

This is the same basic composition I did a couple days ago in color. I decided I need to do a detailed value sketch if I am going to flesh this out into a larger, finished painting. I started with an "open grisaille" yesterday using burnt umber and turpentine (called "open" because the white canvas shows through). Today I started to refine it as a "closed grisaille", using white paint, burnt umber, and ultramarine (called "closed" because when it's done the canvas will be covered with paint).

Pool Study (work in progress)
6 x 8 inches
oil on linen

I also started a color study close-up of the pool of water at the bottom of my composition. This is still really unrefined, I wanted to take it further today but I'm using a new type of canvas panel and the wet paint does not stick well when I try to add more layers. I'll be able to take it further another day once the paint has set up a bit.

We're starting to wind down to the end here, just a few more days of study here in the Catskills before we all go back to our respective studios. The last day of the Fellowship is this Sunday, August 2; I can't believe it's going by so fast!

Monday
Jul272009

Hudson Fellowship Day 21

Will post more art soon but for now here's a little video of me and Fellow painter Ken Salaz painting in a rainstorm today:


Also, here's a great image of another Fellow, Jennifer Worsley painting under her white umbrella at the top of Kaaterskill Falls: