Saturday, October 5, 2013

Plein Air Painting in China

Wow! is about all I can say about the amazing experience of traveling with a small group of plein air painters and their partners to China with the very talented Qiang Huang and his lovely wife, Yuehong Song.

China is the most amazing country: so many people, such a rich history, such beautiful landscape. The two weeks we spent traveling, sight seeing, learning about the history and culture, and painting on site barely scratched the surface and left me wanting more. If you ever get the opportunity to take a future trip with Qiang and Song, I strongly urge you to do it. For the money it had to be the best travel value ever. Every detail was seen to. Hotels were luxurious, meals delicious, travel arrangements comfortable, the excursions fabulous. I can't imagine how they could have arranged anything better.

We started the trip in Shanghai with a day long tour of the museum and major tourist sites. Then we traveled by bus to the water village of Zhuozhuang for three nights.

"Reflections" 6x6 oil on board. Click for more info...
"Reflections" was one of the views I photographed from the bus on the way to Zhouzhuang and which I painted when I got home. 

Once in Zhouzhuang we enjoyed the village which is built entirely on canals. There are narrow alleys between buildings for foot traffic but most commercial traffic takes place on the canals. Early in the morning you can see the garbage scows picking up the trash, the restaurant supply barges dropping off supplies and clean place settings (most restaurants here use a service that delivers clean place settings each wrapped in plastic), housewives washing their clothes in the canal and beating them on the stone steps, fishermen casting nets, and more. It was fascinating to watch and try to record village life which except for the TV satellite dishes and cell phones probably hadn't changed much in centuries. I watched the woman below washing a basket filled with tiny silver fish. I later saw similar fish in the fish market nearby. We also had some tiny fish (maybe even smaller) flash fried whole for lunch that day. Delicious!
"Washing the Catch" 7x5 oil on canvas on gatorboard. Click for more info...
We painted several times in Zhouzhuang. Be sure to check out Qiang's blog to see his beautiful paintings of the trip.

This is just the first installment about my trip to China. I'll be adding more about it and a lot more paintings as I get them done.

"Tricycle Alley - Zhouzhuang" 8x6 oil on board. Click for more info...

Also I'll pass along some tips I've learned about traveling with oil paints. I was able to carry everything I needed to paint plein air with oils in a single average sized back pack. Naturally for flying I had to pack the tripod and paints in my checked luggage, but when I got to my destination, I repacked everything into the backpack. My paints packed into a clear plastic school box which I labeled in English and Chinese (thank you Google Translator) "Artist Colors" (never, ever use the word paint - some people think of paint as very flamable, no one worries about artist colors). More tips to come...

Friday, March 15, 2013

Putting Together A Show

I was fortunate enough to be invited to put together a small show at a local Starbucks. Yes, not a huge venue, but still a good opportunity for me to reach a new audience with my paintings. The show will go up on Friday, March 29th, as soon as Sally Fraser's art comes down and will hang for the month of April until S'zanne Reynolds hangs her work. I've met both artists, Sally through life drawing sessions and S'zanne through The Austin Pastel Society. I feel honored to hang in the same venue.
Since most of my paintings are so small, I was afraid they would get lost on the wall, so I decided to paint some larger ones and try to go with a unifying theme of "TexasScapes". I have several small ones I plan to frame and hang and then also some larger ones which I'm still working on which will be painted around the edge of the canvas and not won't need a conventional frame.

Here are the ones I have ready so far. They are for sale but will not be available for delivery until the show comes down at the end of April. Now I am working up some more large (for me) paintings to complete the collection for a good showing.

"Dreamscape 6" 6x6 oil on board $35 available after May 1st.

"Dreamscape 5" 6x6 oil on board $35 available after May 1st.

"Dreamscape 7" 6x6 oil on board $35 available after May 1st.

"Dusty Road" 16x20 oil on canvas $100 available after May 1st.  Edges painted so it does not need to be framed.

"Trees on the Hill" 12x12 oil on canvas $75 available after May 1st. Edges painted so it does not need to be framed.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Taking February A Bit Easier

30 in 30 was a wonderful exercise and something I should strive for every month. It was interesting to see how I handled the deadline pressure. All in all fairly well I suppose as 3 of the 6 I painted on the 31st sold fairly quickly. This month I am taking things a little slower and not worrying too much about the number of paintings done, although I have done 10 so far (not all successful) and hope to do quite a few more before the end of the month. Here are the 10. The last couple were done for the Texas Democratic Women's Convention where I will be exhibiting this weekend. I figured images of Austin or the Capitol might be good souvenirs for them to take home with them (nothing like playing to the audience).
"Dreamscape 2" 6x6 oil SOLD

"Walnut Creek" click here for info

"Walnut Creek 2" click here for info

"Dreamscape 4" click here for info

"Dreamscape 3" click here for info

"A Capitol View" click here for info

"Congress Bridge" click here for info

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Phew! 30 in 30! I made it!

Really didn't think I could pull it off but I did. Can't say I love every one of them, but I did paint 30 of them in January.

Here are the last ones...

"A Ways To Go" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Sunset Serenity" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Fall Aspens" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Native Texan" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"The Falls" 8x10 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Pile of Pots" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Fall Hike" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

23 Down and 7 to Go

Nothing like a deadline to get the lead out. I've painted 3 so far today and plan to do more. Tomorrow I'll be painting like crazy to get to 30 paintings in 30 days. At least now I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and feel it might be possible. Here are the ones I've done since the last post.

"Roaming Range" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"First to the Pool" 6x6 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Pecking Order 2" 5x5 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Trail Less Traveled" 5x5 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Dreamscape 1" 5x5 oil on board. Click here for info.

"Lily Bloom" 5x5 oil on board. Click here for info.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

17 Down and 13 to Go

Not looking good. I still  have 13 to do and am quickly running out of days to do them in. I have 4 days to paint 13 pictures which might be doable if I had nothing else to do - nothing could be further from the truth. So I may have to throw in the towel. I'll keep plugging at it, mind you, right up till the end of the day on the 31st.

Here's what I've added to my stock since the last post.
"Birds of a Feather" 6x6 oil on board. Click here to bid

"Adobe Lane" 6x6 oil on board. Click here to bid

"Peek-a-boo" 5x7 oil on board. Click here to bid.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

14 Down and 16 to Go

Finally making some headway again. Got two paintings done today, the first ones in a few days. I was so busy with the memorial service and getting ready to host the reception after the service that I didn't get any art done. Now that it is successfully behind me I feel I can start again. Here are the most recent paintings. I have 16 more to do and 11 days to do them. I'm feeling hopeful that I can pull it off.
"Kitty in the Window" 7x5 oil on board (gifted to my brother)

"Red Canyon" 6x6 oil on board click here for more info

"Mean Tom" 5x5 oil on board click here for more info

"First Responder" 5x5 oil on board click here for more info

Monday, January 14, 2013

10 Down, 20 To Go...

I sure know how to create a challenge for myself. When I jumped in both feet, to this 30 painting in 30 days challenge, I didn't realize how much the rest of my life might impact my ability to succeed. I'm now two paintings behind but still hoping to catch up. I should have known that trying this on a month when I was already starting to teach The Dragon's Way ® classes and in charge of the Austin Pastel Society website during the deadline for the annual juried member exhibition (all entries online, of course) would have made it difficult. I never imagined I would also be dealing with  my mother's death and everything that goes along with the loss of a parent. I must say I am exhausted. Most of my daily paintings are in oil. Pastels take me far longer to complete. I did do "Best Buds" with an eye to entering it in the APS show, but decided not to - it simply is too small to compete with all the large beautiful paintings in the show. Check out this year's entries here.
Thursday was a beautiful day here after several days of rain (which we desperately needed here in Central Texas).  It was a delight to join my painting buddies from Plein Air Austin for a paint out at the beautiful Laguna Gloria Art Museum grounds.

"The Villa" 6x8 oil on board click to see auction
"Something Totally Different" 7x5 ink and watercolor on Scratchbord click to see auction

"Best Buds" 5x7 pastel on Pastelbord click to see auction

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

7 Down, 23 To Go...

OK, so I'm a painting behind already. I'm sure I have time to make it up before the end of the month though. The day I did not manage to get a painting done was Monday, January 7th. My excuse is probably better than most, that's the day that my 91 year old mother passed away. Somehow I couldn't make myself paint that day. I will catch up though...just give me a few days.

Here are the ones I've done since the last post.

"Old Red" 5x7 oil on canvasboard  bid on it here

"Delicate Subject" 6x6 oil on canvas bid on it here

"Day Drawing Down" 6x6 oil on board bid on it here

"Paint Gone Wild" 6x6 oil on canvas bid on it here

Friday, January 4, 2013

3 Down, 27 to go!

Here are the next two in the 30 paintings in 30 days. So far I'm right on schedule, even though I had to stay up way past my bedtime last night to complete yesterday's painting on time. I'll try to be better about getting started earlier in the day.

"Bloomin' Sun" 6x6 Oil on Gessoboard click here to bid

"By the Highway" 6x6 Oil on Gessoboard click here to bid

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

30 Paintings in 30 Days

"Snowbound" 5x7 oil on canvas available here
I should have my head examined but I have made the commitment to paint 30 paintings in the remaining days of January, therefore, 30 paintings in 30 days. I will probably not post them all daily on my blog, but I will post them at least every few days. The first one is called "Snowbound" and comes from a photo I took out on a walk in Colorado Springs a year or two ago. I have always loved this scene. The shadows are so interesting. Anyway, here's number one, 29 to go...