Sunday, October 28, 2012

Nudes in November

I entered the "Nudes in November" show again this year at Sorensen's studio in Fresno.  This time with two pieces ~ the one shown here ("Nach der Ersten Umarmung" ~ After the First Embrace) is a wood cut that I did several years ago and had never framed properly (though, I think that I showed it in the cheep Wall*Mart poster frame once in Spokane ... briefly).  It was kind of a pain in the buttox to cut down a frame that I got at a thrift store (for $3), then I repainted it gold ... then painted over that with a mixture of liquin and burnt umber oil paint ... which I then dabbed with a rolled up rubber glove to give a nice texture (and hide all of the nicks and imperfections).  Then I had to get a piece of 16" x 40" plexi ~ which cost me about $40 ... and I had to use 1/2 a sheet of mat board ~ on which I mounted the wood cut -- which was a bleed print (meaning that the image actually was larger than the paper, so there is no white boarder, just a nice, deckled edge).  Mounting it shows off those nice edges ... and saved me time and the frustration of cutting a mat. Finally, I put the whole thing together ... eight or nine times ... as there was always one more piece of hair, lint, flotsam, whatever between the mat and the glass when I put it all together ... but, eventually it all went smoothly.

I also entered an oil painting ~ "The Empresses New Necklace" which I've only shown briefly before this.

  Looking at all of the entries, while I was in the gallery briefly to enter my stuff, I was blown away by all of the great stuff I saw.  Last year there wasn't nearly that level of competition.  I doubt that I fare as well as I did then.  It doesn't really matter, though ~ just entering shows gets my stuff out there.  It's really hard to get patrons or sell stuff if it's in the garage or in the flat file.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cathedral Peak and Bud Lake

 Last Sunday we went on a hike up into the high country again.  This time it was with Belinda and some of her friends (now also my friends); Jason, Catherine, and Kylie.  Jason showed us a different route than when we hiked to Cathedral Lakes, then, when we got on the east side of the mountain, he pointed out Bud Lake off in the distance, telling me that if he were a painter, that's where he would go.  We had been headed down to Cathedral Lakes, but I liked his idea much more.  Last time that we went to Cathedral Lakes, the whole scene was washed out by the afternoon sun.  So, while Jason and Kylie climbed up Cathedral Peaks (not to be confused with Cathedral Rock or Cathedral Spires down in Yosemite Valley), and Belinda and Catherine went on a little side hike of their own, I headed over to Bud Lake and found it every bit as wondrous as Jason had suggested.

 I had only brought my little paint box with me, but I didn't have much time to paint, either.  It was a little after 1 o'clock when I started painting, and I had to meet up with everyone back at the rig by 3:30.  The hike back would take over an hour (well over an hour if one stops every other step to take another picture, as I'm wont to do).  So that left me only a little over an hour.

I painted, though, as if I had all of the time in the world ... only picking up the pace in the last five or ten minutes.  The strokes were bold and the paint was thick (it was cold, so the paint really requires that you use a lot, anyway) - and it was so much fun!
This is definitely one of my favorite places in Yosemite, now.  'Course, I say that every time I go out --- wonder where my next favorite spot is going to be.  Still, I'm going to have to return here and do a bigger, more involved composition.  I was really inspired by all of the huge boulders left behind by the receding glaciers - they caught the light in fascinating ways. I especially loved the jetty of them through the middle of the lake. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Talus, man.

Last Thursday I went into Yosemite to do a little plein air painting.  It had been a little while since I've painted in the park and I was excited to be oot und aboot.  It's very difficult to find a spot to paint here -- but for different reasons than many places.  One can usually find something to paint anywhere, but some places are more of a challenge than others.  Here, one could just set their easel down anywhere and start painting whatever was in front of them.  The hard part is choosing between a fantastic spot and a fabulous one ... and then choosing the angle ... taking into account the changing sun ... yada-yada.

What happens a lot, for me, anyway, is that I spend so much time hiking and exploring and trying to find that one great spot, that I end up wasting all of my time and have to rush through the work.  Sounds like a good excuse, anyway. To keep from doing that now, I try to have a place in mind when I leave the house so that I don't get too distracted.  I know the park well enough now that I know what time of day is best from what angle, etc ... although, it can be tricky because it changes as the seasons do.
One of the places that I had in mind was an area by the river where one can see the Three Brothers (rock formation), El Capitan, and Catheral Rocks/Cathedral Spires from the same location just by turning the easel and having the river in the foreground of each.  Just down from there, at the bend in the river, one can also get a great view of Sentinel Rock.

I wasn't really ready to jump right into the painting, though, and would have had to have been already started to catch the Three Brothers just right.  It would be an hour before the Cathedral Rocks would be ready, and El Cap is just too close right there ... at least for me that day.  So ... it was on to plan B -- Coffee!

 I stopped at Degnan's Deli and got a hot cup and headed on to my next location - The Meadow ... well, that didn't work out because there was a big photography class of some sort going on there.  My idea there was to try to make it look like there were still natives on hand in their bark huts and that sort of thing .... I suppose that's a composition that I'll have to figure out later.
Plan C ... this is a place that I scouted out about a year ago ... one that I found very peaceful from which to work as I had sat up there drawing one lovely afternoon.
It was quite a work-out to carry all of my equipment up there ... but what a view!

As you can see from the photos, it was the talus below Eagle Peak, looking east up the valley towards Half Dome, North Dome, Washington column, and the Royal Arches.
The painting went well and I was able to take my time for the most part.  For a while at that point the sun almost seems to stand still ... but after about 2 hours it takes off like a shot and everything that had been slowly changing from shadow to light simply drops all vestiges of the morning and steps out into the brightness.  Oy.
At that point I was having to hold onto the umbrella while painting anyway.

Then came the tricky part ... heading down the rocky talus with all of that gear!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Gold Rush Show again

I painted the large version of "Noon Stage to Wawona" with the Gold Rush show in mind.  After winning best in show last year, I felt that I only had one way to go from there ... so, to make sure of a repeat, I painted this large picture with the thought that it would do the job for Gold Rush ... and then I could probably sell it in one of the galleries.  I was hoping to be disappointed ~ in that maybe it would sell in the art trails and I wouldn't have it to put into the Gold rush show.  In stead, I was disappointed in a different way - it was too big for the show!  It could be no larger than 48" -- it was 48" without the frame.  Oy.

"Noon Stage to Wawona" 24" x 48"
So, I used one of the studies for it instead, thinking that maybe it would do as well.  I also put in two of my old favorites that haven't seen much gallery time ... "Crosswalk Politics" and "Vanitas" (which hasn't seen any gallery time that I know of ... and I've never had it up for anything else -- for more on this painting see April 11th, 2010 entry).

It was a shock to me when I went into the gallery where the show was hanging to find that Vanitas had won the best of show, Crosswalk took first place for oil paintings, and the one that I thought would clean up, took a third place.  It just shows that you can't predict these things!

So, I'm putting the Noon Stage piece into a different show ... I just hope it makes the cut - anything over 40" is not assured of making the show, depending on wall space.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Art Trails

Art Trails was last weekend.  I had about half as many people as last year, but made about as much in revenue.  Being so far off of the beaten path doesn't help ... neither do gas prices that are over $4.50.  Perhaps next year I'll find a venue in Oakhurst or Mariposa instead of my studio (which is a shame).

Part of the "fun" of the whole experience is gearing up for it for weeks ahead of time ... cleaning out the studio ... and the garage where my printmaking operation is ... and the whole house.  Getting things framed and arranging everything takes a lot of time  -- it's a lot like putting together a big puzzle.

Disappointing as it was, I had to step it up and get another large painting done in the few days right afterward.  

And today, I entered three pieces into the Gold Rush Show in Mariposa ... hopefully with the same results as last year.