Saturday, January 27, 2007

Port of Seattle, 3"x3", oil on gessoed masonite, $35

The wonderful thing about plein air painting is being able to complete a painting in a brief time. For a hectic life style on the road it is difficult to keep the eye and hand in the game. Because I am working with such small studies I am able to execute ideas that are inspired by a variety of landscape whether it is a cityscape or a view of mountains.
The lights of the port terminal, cranes unloading sea going ships, the ferry approaching the terminal and steam from various factories make for a pretty intense scene at 4 a.m. in the morning.
I've discovered a fine grain gessoed panel I got at the art supply store when I picked up my new easel. I like the effects I can obtain and the way it accepts fine washes or pallet knife work.

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Seattle city scape, 3"x5", oil on gessoed masonite

I got a new plein air easle at Daniel Smiths. My old one that my grandmother gave me when I was 13, even with duck tape and glue, has to be parked. I'll use it in the studio. I got the "Half Plein Air" model which was on sale for $90 with a great canvas tote bag that has backpack straps. It's a great little item and well built. It is made out of hardwood and brass fittings. It is well designed although I don't quite like the way the pallet is the top of the box and can't be omitted as everything will fall out without it. The pallet is hinged in the middle and folds in two smashing any paint piles. I'll probably use something else such as an Altoids tin to hold un-used paint. It is made in China and makes one humble to think of the quality of work for such reasonable prices.
When I'm in Seattle I stay down on the waterfront and sketch at the Pike Street Market or go down to the Public docks which offers many different views. I can paint the cityscape the waterfront or a landscape of the Olympics across Elliot Bay or of Mt. Rainier. Seattle is an exceptionally attractive city and is a fun diversion for a country boy. I get inspired by the contrast of city and country landscapes. Visiting the city is also an opportunity to go to galleries although I can't find many plein air shows. Most of the work is pretty avante guard which is not a critisism as I like such efforts that push the envelope
This little painting was an effort to explore impasto work, painting wet into wet. I'm using these studies for a studio effort in which I will pursue the subject of homelessness and reservation life.
I like painting on the gessoed massonite although my eyesite is getting poor and painting small is a challenge but I look forward to using the techniques on a much larger scale.
Getting a new easel has affirmed my committment to plein air painting on a daily basis. Alla Prima plein air painting fits my life style of much travel and intense schedule.

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