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Florals on Frederick

October 7, 2013
Florals on Frederick; Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

Florals on Frederick; Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

The Shorewood Plein Air Event competition paintings were turned in late Friday afternoon. The attention now focused on the Saturday morning “Quick Paint’ competition. Artists have 2-1/2 hours to set up, paint, frame and then turn in their work.

After a very satisfying breakfast at a nearby restaurant, I strolled the neighborhood around the Shorewood library to search for possibilities. As I surveyed designs, I eliminated choices due to various reasons – not interesting, too complicated, no shade for me, no sunlight for my subject, and a few other excuses. I was running out of real estate, when an idea came to me. I noticed a house with a hanging basket of flowers on their porch. Although shaded, I anticipated interesting results when/if the sunlight hit these flowers. I used my viewfinder and sketchbook to make some thumbnail sketches to help determine the most suitable design. The first sketch was too broad and would include too many non-essential details and design obstructions. Keep it simple. The second sketch was too narrow in focus and would not include enough elements to be of interest.  Keep it simple. The third sketch worked for me.

Back to the car, I primed my canvas with some Alizaron Crimson and laid out fresh paints onto my palette. After checking in to have my canvas stamped and having my time registered, I hurried with my gear to the spot. I was set up on a sidewalk, under the shade of a couple large trees and had an unobstructed view across the street to my subject. I quickly sketched in my design and was just starting my painting, when a woman came out of the subject house to see if I was painting her home. The woman was excited. That helped to boost my confidence. A short while later a man strolled out of the house, meandered around and eventually looked in on my painting. I noticed the couple leave their house and make their way over to the Shorewood library to view the competition paintings. The couple came from the library with friends in tow to view my work of their home. They were excited. Pressure. I hope that this turns out well.

I was feeling confident though. About forty minutes into the painting, I was very happy with the progress.  My initial brushstrokes and paint applications were very helpful. Economy of effort. I was able to work carefully without feeling rushed. Very comfortable. I finished, gathered my gear, headed back to my car where I photoed and framed my painting and turned in my work with about fifteen minutes to spare.

That night at the awards ceremony my work was honored with The Community Spirit Award. At the sale/auction, the homeowners put a minimum bid on the work. Another couple jumped the bid and was willing to pay more than my usual price for this size work. The homeowners jumped that bid. I was pulling for the homeowners to acquire the painting. Unfortunately for these folks, in the last moments before the bidding was closed, someone jumped their bid to purchase the work at a very flattering price. Double award as far as I am concerned.

I felt sorrow for the homeowners. I would have been honored to have this nice couple own my work. I can imagine their disappointment. I offered the idea of taking on their home next year, but understandably, the woman feels that it just won’t be the same. She may be right. It might be better! Now there’s pressure.

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