Friday, October 21, 2011

"Mouser" 6x8 acrylic

After spending some time painting with plein air master James Coe, I’ve been experimenting with some new techniques. The freedom to apply oil paint and manipulate it for an extended amount of time is something I really enjoyed about the plein air painting. Though I must admit, I found myself rushing to clean brushes, soften edges, etc. fearing the paint will dry… something I’m constantly aware of working with acrylics. Nonetheless, I’ve been pushing myself to work faster with my acrylics, smearing and blending edges before the paint has a chance to set. Not an easy task, but not without reward.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"Storm Patrol" 20x18 acrylic on masonite

I've been working on this one for a few weeks now and it's finally finished. "Storm Patrol" will be part of my inventory for my first visit to the Waterfowl Festival in Easton, MD starting November 10. I will have at least 25 original paintings on hand (but only room to display a fraction) and will switch out the art in my display as my mood (and hopefully sales) dictates. It's still a full month away and I'm already having some anxiety about the show. Still... it should be a blast!

Fall Fly Fishing

I decided to take a break from painting Sunday and spend the day exploring and fly fishing. Of course, it’s never really a day off. My mind is always grinding along in terms of brush and paint, but it’s not an unpleasant grind… especially on a spectacular fall day like yesterday.

The fish were plentiful, though not easy to fool. Still, I caught more than my share and found myself standing in the middle of the small stream grinning on several occasions. The day took on a leisurely pace as I wondered from one spot to the next. And when I wasn’t fishing, there was time to poke around along the stream banks and the edges of farm fields. My camera got quite a workout!By late afternoon, my mind was still fresh, but my legs had just about given up (I remember a time when my brain would give up first!). I stumbled back to the truck and managed not to fall and break anything. It was a great day afield. Now… back to the easel!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Weekend Plein Air

There is something very satisfying about these plein air studies. Maybe it's just because the plein air process is so new to me. Maybe it's because it forces me to look at my subjects in a new way helping me see things I didn't notice before. Maybe it's because it so damned difficult! Whatever the reason, I'm having quite a good time with these studies. I've noticed since I started working like this, I look at the world in terms of paint and brushwork. I like the way trees meet the sky and the leaves and branches lose themselves in soft edges. It's fun to look at something and contemplate how I'd work the problem in paint. I can alos see that this will ultimately affect my acrylic work.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

October... My Favorite Time of Year

With the month of September now shrinking in the rearview mirror, my favorite month is here! There is so much to do and see in October, I wish it could last 120 days instead of just 31. Fall colors will be at their peak soon offering outstanding opportunities to paint and gather reference photos. Fishing is prime as some trout species are showing brilliant spawning colors and runs of fall steelhead are forging upstream. Fall mushrooms are popping up everywhere with my absolute favorite, the sheephead, topping my list of fungal treasures. And lastly, the bow hunting season opens today in Pennsylvania, which means I’ll be spending a considerable amount of time afield.

I love bow hunting for whitetails. It’s just that simple. The craft of true woodsmanship is quickly becoming a lost art. Keen observation, interpretation of deer sign, and anticipating the daytime movements of a creature that is active mostly at night is not easy. Doing it precisely enough to get within easy bow-range can be downright maddening. Then there is the challenge of keeping a year’s worth of nerves and anticipation under control as the moment of truth arrives… well… as I said before. I love it!

There are other benefits to sitting very still in the October deer woods. As the threat of winter snows come with the cooling night air, animal activity reaches a fevered pitch. Coyotes and foxes pass by on their daily patrols. Turkeys cluck and yelp and they scour the forest floor for abundant fall edibles. On the really cold days, tundra swans can be heard as the first squadrons begin to head south. And not a season goes by without an owl trying to land on my leg!

Yes, my October schedule is jammed full of time in the field. So if you don’t hear from me, it’s not because I’m ignoring you. To paraphrase the late Ned Smith, there’s a sign on the studio door that reads, “Gone for the Day.”