Posts Tagged ‘Dockside Paint Out’


Door County 2011 – part 4

July 29, 2011

Plein Air July 24; Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Sunday morning I woke up around 7:00am. As Helen slept, I was antsy. I was still a little bummed out about my result at the Dockside Paint Out. I needed to do something. Those weather guys had predicted rain for this morning. No rain though, and look, I see sunshine. I was tempted to go for a run, but figured that traveling back to Illinois with sweat soaked running gear might not be a swift idea. After stewing for awhile (long enough to kind of wake Helen), I got a cup of coffee from the lobby and walked around the hotel grounds.

After rambling around for a few minutes, I noticed a design across the road from the hotel. Helen was waking up and indicated that she wanted to enjoy a long shower. Great. I grabbed my gear, set up and started to paint this scene. About halfway through my painting, Helen made her way out of the hotel and over to some Adirondack chairs where she relaxed. Once the painting was complete, I swiftly cleaned up, put my gear away and showered. We packed up the car, headed out for breakfast, well by this time, brunch. Meal done and paid for, we reluctantly departed Door County…for now. Off to Illinois to attend a graduation party for our niece.

It was a great, relaxing, memorable and productive four days in an area we love. I can hardly wait for the next trip up here.


Door County 2011 – Part 3

July 28, 2011

Plein Air July 23 - Windswept Day; Oil on Canvas Panel 11" x 14"

We awoke Saturday to overcast skies and a weather forecast of a cloudy morning with possible thunderstorms for the afternoon. Although the Dockside Paint Out sponsored by The Peninsula School of Art would not start until 9:00 am, we aimed to be at Clark Park in Fish Creek around 7:15 am-ish. This would be our best chance to lay claim to “a good spot” from which to paint. By the time we arrived, a fair number of artists were already in position and awaiting the start of the competition.

We made our way to a spot which I thought would work. It had a good view of my subject and would offer a little bit of shade in the event that the sun broke through the clouds. Although the spot was available, I sensed potential problems. Immediately in front of me was a set up for a “Kids Paint” family activity. I anticipated that between the kids, the paint instructors, the parents, grandparents, etc., this spot might have too much interference. I moved around and found another spot and subject matter that I thought would work.

While waiting for the competition to begin, I set up my gear and did a few drawings in my sketchbook. At 9:00am the starters horn sounded and we began our paintings. About fifteen minutes into my work, the sun was beginning to break through the clouds. Bright sunshine on the canvas is a bit blinding and makes it difficult to properly judge colors and values. About twenty minutes into the competition, I had a feeling that my design was not going to work as I had envisioned. If not for the competition and time limit, I would have wiped out the painting, found a new spot and started over. However, not a lot that I could do at this point except to go with the flow and make the best of it.

By now, the sun was out and the clouds were moving away. Seems that the weather forecasters missed this one. With the sun and clearing skies came wind. A lot of wind. Gusts of wind. The sailboats, my subjects, were constantly on the move. My canvas panel was moving. The palette extensions of my set up would routinely blow over onto my palette.  I almost lost my hat and a brush to the wind. Murphys’ Law prevailed. The gusts intensified every time that I needed to be steady for details. Most likely a very good morning to fly a kite.

Post contest evaluation. I was not elated with my results. It was a nice painting and passers-by mentioned that they liked the sky and felt that I captured the feel of the choppy waters that morning. I failed most by not sticking to my strengths. Sailboats and bays are fun to paint, but not at a competition when I lack the necessary experience. I do not get much practice at those subjects around here. I hope to participate in the 2012 Dockside Paint Out and will plan to work with subject matter ashore that plays to my strengths – sunlight, shadows, trees, and buildings.

Piles of paint and miles of canvas before next year.

Boats moored off the pier at Fish Creek

Working at the Dockside Paint Out

Working in between wind gusts

Framed and ready to install for judging.


Path by Croft’s Shed

July 25, 2011

Path by Croft's Shed, Oil on Canvas 11" x 14"

It was predicted to be 90+ degrees, high humidity and a heat index in excess of 100. The Eagles Nest group opted to cancel the days paint out. After traveling down to Dixon to retrieve my painting from the Illinois Watercolor Society exhibition, I decided to use the afternoon as a dry run in preparation for Saturdays Dockside Paint Out competition in Door County.

I utilized a plein air sketch from the recent Fields Project as my guide. The goal, to complete the painting in two hours. No interruptions allowed, other than a fire alarm, perhaps. I turned on the stereo, loaded up the palette with paint, and set an 11″ x 14″ canvas in position on my easel. I noted the time on the clock and let the paint fly.

The original sketch was created only four weeks earlier. As I painted I recalled that day at the Crofts farm. The sights, the smells, the bugs; the essence of being at the site painting was still very fresh in my mind.  The time passed quickly and before I knew it, the painting was complete. Just under two hours. Great.