Fields Project Thursday

June 28, 2011

Fields Project 2011-Thursday #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Fields Project 2011-Thursday #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 11" x 14"

Thursday; it rained overnight night and I awoke early to overcast skies. Scattered rain showers in the forecast…again. I journeyed to the days site, a spot a few miles southeast of Oregon. I was the first to arrive. I was not sure that I was at the right location. The land had a “For Sale” sign posted at the front of the property. The location had two houses on it, one was clearly vacant. I moved around the main houses looking for possible designs and to get some detail photos. About fifteen minutes after I arrived, the first two artists showed up. Our Eagles Nest organizer, Alice, confirmed that this was the place. Alice indicated that a grass trail just off of the main drive, led to a chapel. I trooped through the grasses with the intent of looking for painting subject, gather some photographs and see the chapel. Not a bright idea on this particular morning. I hiked about a 3/4’s of a mile through the grasses and turned around. I never did find the path to the chapel, and ended up soaking wet from the knees down.

By the time I arrived back at my car to gather my gear, about eight other artists had arrived and were busy exploring the buildings and barns. I decided to set up and capture a view looking past the Italianate home towards the front meadows. To help the painting, I edited a few of the trees from the meadow. I set to work, but felt chilled. Wet feet. I stopped to put on a sweatshirt and later a fleece vest. I completed  painting # 1.

I moved around, looking for another spot. Rains started. In addition to looking for subject matter, I was also considering shelter from the rain. Nothing was clicking. I gathered a few more photos and a few pen sketches. It was nearing the noon hour, so I broke for an early lunch.

While we ate lunch, the rain stopped. I found a spot along the horse barn which offered an interesting view. The dark rain clouds were low over the distant trees and the fields were bright green. The sun might be breaking through the clouds. The various grasses in the fields reminded me of a quilt pattern (Where is Carole? She paints these views). I set up my gear and started painting. Problems. A front was moving through. Wind picked up and nearly took off with my easel. Mineral spirits splashed. As I grabbed for the easel and painting, the palette flew off and landed nearby. For those of you who are as unaware as I was, Cadmium Yellow Pale and Titanium White splatter and these splatters find their way onto everything. As I righted the easel, my painting and my palette, I took a few moments to clean the paint spatters off from- the easel, my chair, my pants, my shoes, my tripod, and my supply bucket.

As I set to resume painting, the sun was coming out. Oops, I am facing east. Now I have the glare of the sun on my painting and palette. Can’t risk use of my umbrella in the event of another wind gust. I will work my through this. Getting warmer. Take off the vest and sweatshirt. Back to painting. The clouds are back again changing my lighting, and temperature. After a short time, it was cool again. Put the sweatshirt back on. Found some more paint splatters and clean them up now while I am thinking of them.

I finished the wash/sketch on my canvas panel, and started laying in some body colors. I was trying to quickly lay in colors to capture the initial vision which I experienced. As I stepped back to look at what I had done, besides finding a few more paint spatters, I was not happy with my work. Back to the canvas and make some adjustments. We fought for awhile more, until I stepped back and noticed more dark clouds coming towards us. I decided that this might not work this afternoon. Most of the other artists had already left the property. I decided that I would pack up and head home before I got wet again.

I was not happy with the initial work on painting #2. I thought that I might wipe the design off of the panel. This might leave a nice tone on the panel for a painting tomorrow. I decided to hold off and review this back at my studio. I packed up my gear, found and cleaned up some more paint splatters.

On the way home I stopped at an interesting store, The Soap Shoppe. My son wrote an article about this vendor which appeared in a recent issue of The Northwest Quarterly Magazine. Interesting stop. Very fragrant. Besides the soaps which they manufacture, they have a potpourri of gift items. I purchased a few bars of their soap for Helen (feels a bit odd to give soap to the one you love, it’s like saying “You’re dirty. Clean yourself up.”)

I returned to my studio, unpacked my gear and started to clean up my palette and brushes. Found a few more splatters. Thought that I would wash out the second painting, but then something happened. I took a look at the panel, realized that it was only mid-afternoon. I had some time.There were some interesting things happening in this design. Let’s play with this and see what happens. If all else fails, I can always wipe it out later.

Play with it, I did. Finished painting #2 in my studio. Helen returned home from her class at Rockford College, bolted downstairs to the studio and gave me a big hug. She saw and liked the soaps which I purchased for her. Not a bad day after all.

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