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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Returning to the same location to paint plein air

10 x 8 oil on panel "Carmine and Gold"

Recently, I painted en plein air with another artist at Thomas Creek.  I still loved the same location as my previous posted painting "Aspens Along the Creek".  Being weeks later, different aspen trees have turned and some were a lovely shade of carmine red.  So that is where I set up to paint.

Now that there are no upcoming pastel competitions/shows to paint for, I'm enjoying a break and painting in oil.  It is fun and challenging in a different way.  Now I have to MIX colors!

The day we painted, it was beautiful and the morning light was shining through the trees, illuminating them like stained glass windows.  But we were having a little colder weather - breezes were blowing a cold front in and it light showers of snow were blowing on us.  I was wearing a knitted hat and wool sweater, but about two hours along, my hand was shaking as I tried to stroke the thin aspen trunks in....ha!  But I was determined to finish the painting and I did.  It looks impressionistic, which is what I'm aiming for.  Not bad, and I definitely am looking forward to doing this again!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Finishing touches on two plein air paintings

I worked on two plein air paintings at home - doing finishing touches.  The first one didn't need much - just the upper left tree.  The creek painting, however, needed a lot of work.  So much so, I probably can't call it a plein air painting, although it started out as one.

Running water fascinates and challenges me.  I suppose if I painted it often enough, I could paint it en plein air in two hours and have it look completed.  Some day....with a lot of work....

12 x 9 pastel "Aspens Along the Creek"
9 x 12 pastel "Ida's Creek"

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Kokanee Run" - pastel painting en plein air

9 x 12 pastel
Yesterday I went plein air painting with a friend at Taylor Creek, Lake Tahoe, during the Kokanee Salmon run.  This was my first time to see this event, and it attracts a lot of visitors, as well as black bears feeding on the salmon.  Kokanee Salmon are a land-locked relative of the Sockeye Salmon of the Pacific Northwest.  "Kokanee" in Native American tongue means "red fish".  In 1944 the Kokanee were introduced to Lake Tahoe and they do not grow as large as their salt-water cousins.  In the fall they return to the creek where they were spawned to mate, lay eggs, and die.  Although the local black bears have a vegetarian diet, some are seen along the banks, feasting on the salmon.

We surveyed the creek near the Visitor's Center, and also the creek upstream away from the populated areas.  I chose to paint near the Visitor's Center, because it was still morning and not that many people were there.  Most took a look, stayed about 20 minutes, then left.  My friend opted for the creek upstream, where it was very private.

Both of us had trouble concentrating on our work!  My friend was distracted by noises in the bush, and would have to check to see if it were bear...but it was only chipmunks.  One thing you don't want to do is startle a bear, or, have a mom bear with cubs happen upon you.  But when you are painting, you are quiet and not making noise that would alert an approaching bear.  This makes me think maybe a portable battery operated CD player might be a good idea?

Now, I was on a stretch of beach along the creek, way at the end.  For a while, I only had the occasional vacationer who just had to ask me questions and so forth.  Then cam a busload of grammar school kids.  They are so cute, they are so honest and just have to see what you are doing.  Soon I was surrounded by kids with parents and teachers that could not control them.  Then came the next busload of kids, then came the next...

By the third wave, I just couldn't concentrate.  Kids were blocking my view, running, tripping and falling at my feet....Moms were "shhhh-ing" to no avail.  So I stopped after 1-1/2 hour.  I had a good base to the painting and only spent 20 minutes at home today with my photographic reference to polish it up.

My friend and I met at the car and I heard her story and saw her unfinished painting.  Even so, we had a wonderful time and were glad to witness and try to capture this special event!  Even with the distractions, it was well worth it!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Painting at Washoe Lake

9 x 12 pastel
This morning I went to Washoe Lake to paint.  It was 8am and just BEAUTIFUL.  I listened to the waterfowl and watched as a flock of geese flew in and landed on the lake - which was smooth as glass.  My painting friend could not make it, so it was just me and the birds.  I did a one-hour pastel study.  My challenge to myself was to paint mud and make it beautiful!  Not sure I succeeded, but it was fun trying.
The view