Tuesday, May 22, 2007

More Tales From the Outdoors

Broken Lines, 2004. oil on canvas, 14 x 20

Okay, we have manged in the morning to damage Jack's car fairly badly. How much worse can the afternoon be? We get back to Jack's place to get my car (mind you my car is a 1984 rabbit convertible and not really a picture of reliability, but what choice do we have?) We head back out to the great outdoors, back to the scene of the crime, well not back to the exact scene, if we ever see that creek again it will be too soon, but back to the same piece of property we were on in the morning. That view was splendid and so we headed up to the top of the knoll to start our paintings. We hadn't but started, when it was time for a meeting back in town with the gallery that was sponsoring the paint-out. We were in the middle of nowhere and knew nobody would mess with our stuff. So instead of packing everything back up we just left everything set up in the middle of this huge field and headed back into town for our meeting.

Ninety Minutes later....

We unlock the gate and drive up to the top of the hill where we left our stuff. There we find a herd of cattle surrounding our easels and painting gear. Jack's stuff looks to be fine, but my stuff...well, its taken a bit of a beating. My field easels is upside down with its three legs sticking straight up into the air and my paint bag is turned upside down with tubes of paint strewn all around and my painting was laying face down in the knee high grass. The cows were just standing around looking at us as if to say, what are you guys doing in our field? Apparently cows are very curious animals, and they just wanted to see want we were doing. What is not commonly known is apparently some cows are art critics as well. (Note: they did not mess with Jack's stuff.) We shooed them off to see what the damage was done to my stuff and surprisingly it was nothing! The cows has amazingly not broken anything, the easel was fine and the painting just needed some minor repainting where the grass had messed up the paint. A couple of hours later I finished the painting.

I've painted outside hundreds of times, but none were as exciting(?) as that day.
May I just go back to my studio where it's safe?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Painting out

Barley and Early Cotton, 2003. oil on panel, 7 x 12

Painting outside (I refrain from using the romantic French term though I have nothing against the France or its beautiful language, but recently in the US, some artists have co-oped the term, so they can use it as a marketing tool, and the French term has come to denote a certain style of painting which was not its original meaning, but I digress) can be challenging. I participated in a paint out this past week at one of my galleries. We got to paint all over the Foothills of California. It's a good excuse to visit my friend Jack Cassinetto and spend the week painting with him or at least trying to paint. We are not dedicated painters of the outdoors. I don't mind it and have painted outside since I was in school twenty years ago, but Jack only tolerates it. We are both studio painters. So here we are two studio painters headed out to the great outdoors.
Day one: Rain...We work in Jack's studio...gee, that's really too bad. Note the sarcasm.
Day two: Beautiful day. We get permission to go on his nephew's ranch, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. We unlock the gate and drive in on a bumpy, dirt path (I can't really call it a road) up to the top of a knoll where there are breathtaking views in all directions. But we are artists, and both think that maybe there is something better a little farther in so we drive on to a smallish creek. We get out of the car and take a look around, and see that its all pretty closed in, nothing really to paint. We take a look at the creek and it doesn't look that deep or wide or rapid. There is even a place where cement has been pored to help other vehicles cross. We hop back into the car (have I mentioned its a mini van?) to cross the river. No problem, except as we got up on the other side we heard a rather loud clunk. We had hit a rock as we exited the creek and on closer inspection realized that water was poring out of the radiator. Enough said. We did make it out alive, and back into town. We went straight to Jack's local mechanic to see what the damage was going to be to fix his car. Late that afternoon and hundreds of dollars later Jack got his van back. We still hadn't painted anything outside. It was approaching 12 O'clock...Lunch, anyone?