Posts Tagged ‘Eagles Nest’


October on Clinton

December 3, 2012

October on Clinton; Oil on Canvas 18″ x 24″

Last October, the Eagle’s Nest group sponsored a “paint out” in Grand Detour Illinois. The organizers had hoped to draw more artists than we had. Although it was chilly, the sun made it feel warmer.

I endeavored to get several small “studies” completed. I wanted to capture the feel of the colors this day.It worked. I completed three 6″ x 8″ paintings in the morning and gathered several photographs as well. It was a fun and productive day.

After enjoying the small studies for the past year, I decided to tackle the subject again. I found the reference photographs and strategically placed the study to help. Before tackling a full size canvas, I decided to create a small 9″ x 12″ work to help refresh my memory and ensure that I could capture the essence.

Once completed to my satisfaction, I used the small 9″ x 12″ study as a guide to help me with this larger work. The trees turned out to be a bigger challenge than I expected on this work.


Plein Air Paintings of the Eagles Nest Group

October 29, 2012

Plein Air June 30 – Wilson’s; Oil on Canvas Panel 6″ x 8″

“Wilsons” is one of nine of my works which are included in the exhibition of plein air paintings by the Eagles Nest Group. The Eagles Nest Group is a collection of artists that get together about once a week to create plein air paintings in and around Ogle County. More than 70 plein air works by the members of the group are on display. The works are on exhibition at The Next Picture Show-Lower Level, 113 W. First Street, Dixon, Illinois. Exhibition runs from October 26 – November 20, 2012. No admission fee to view the exhibits.


2012 Oregon Fields Project

June 26, 2012

Plein Air – Vogel’s View; Oil on Canvas Panel 12″ x 24″

Plein Air – Coffman’s Cattle; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″


Plein Air – Lewis Shack; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

Plein Air – Lewis Barn; Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

Plein Air – Center School; Oil on Canvas Panel 11″ x 14″

Not in the best mood today. It has been a busy three plus weeks between the Edge of the Rock and Theodore Robinson Plein Air Competitions and the 2012 Fields Project last week. Perhaps I was spoiled by the support from the folks in Wisconsin, but I anticipated better results from my efforts in Ogle county. I completed six works during the 2012 Fields Project.

Monday was hot and breezy. Vogel’s View. I witnessed this scene on my way onto the property. No need to go all the way up to the farm. I set up along the entrance drive and started. At the start, the barn was void of light. I liked the design and figured that either something would happen naturally or I would have to improvise to make the barn more prominent. About half way through, the intuition paid off as sunlight hit the front of the barn and gave me this beautiful design.

Tuesday, hot and windy again. Coffman’s Cattle. Searched for and found a spot where I would have shade through the morning. Found my subject and started in. Got enough of the design in place before the cattle took off to graze. Note:  if it moves, lock it in quickly.  My color notes were incomplete, so I improvised a little bit. By the early afternoon, my easel and I were getting moved around a lot by 20+ mph winds again.

Wednesday, still hot, not as windy. Lewis Shack. Took a while to find the subject. I thought that it was a spring house, though it seemed to be too close to the house for that. Turns out that the owner is a ham radio operator. This shack is where he does his radio thing. Stumped for a title. I could not get past wanting to call it A Radio Shack, but I have a feeling that the legal powers at the retailer would disapprove. Finished the first then found a shaded spot where I could do a painting of their barn. Small and quick.

Thursday, overcast and a little cooler. The location is about 60 miles away. I arrived early and found a great vantage point for a unique view. This painting is not currently published.

Friday would be a short day. Center School. The powers to be decided that we should be done and off the property noon-ish. A lot of potential subjects, as well as, a lot of tall grass and brush.  I found a shaded spot near the end of the road/drive. I liked that play of the light hitting this building against the deep dark’s of the background woods. I knew that I had a little less than two hours to complete the work. Did it.

Back down on Sunday for the exhibition and sale. Wish that I had made better use of the day. Trickles of people throughout the day.  I had all six of my fresh paintings from the week plus a number of smaller paintings from the studio. I was disappointed. Not only did my work not sell, nor have any serious looks, but while in conversation with people, I witnessed a couple people take photographs of my work without my permission nor offering to pay for a photograph. You may say “So what?”. I look at this as stealing. The paintings are my product. If you are a farmer with a field of crops ready for harvest and I walk in to your field, grab a couple bushels of produce for my enjoyment and to share with my family and friends. I take your produce without asking your permission nor offering to pay you for the privilege, is that not stealing? How is this different? If people were to request an image, I would be glad to consider forwarding a watermarked version for them.

So I finished Sunday and all I was paid was a few complements. It surprises me that for an event such as this which celebrates the agricultural industry in Ogle County and the Plein Air arts tradition in Oregon Illinois that they leave this event short of what it should be for the artists (both the visiting artists and The Eagle’s Nest artists). Why are there no purchase awards made by the city of Oregon, the Oregon library, and or Ogle county. There are a lot of businesses in the county that are agriculture related, yet none of these businesses make any purchases to support the artists efforts. This event has gone on for about fourteen years and the organizers seem pretty content with the current structure. So be it.

Perhaps I should stick with the support which I witness at the events in Wisconsin.


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.


Plein Air – White Pines 2

July 20, 2011

Plein Air July 12 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 11" x 14"

Plein Air July 12 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

The Eagles Nest group selected to paint out at White Pines again. I found a couple spots along the first ford.

The park seemed to be busier this week. It was interesting to witness the people driving through the ford. There were some that took it very slow and careful and those who opted to take it fast. At one point, a van entered the ford. I heard shrieks of laughter and saw that the driver (mom I guess), decided to leave the van doors open as she splashed her way through the water. I don’t know if she was just entertaining the children or trying to clean the interior of the van.


Plein Air – Watertown Road

July 15, 2011

Plein Air July 5, 2011 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air July 5, 2011 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air July 5, 2011 #3, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein air painting in Ogle County with the Eagles Nest group. I was the first to arrive. I liked the view from the entrance to the farm. I set up and painted away. Shortly into the painting, I realized that one of the residents was not happy with the spot which I selected for painting. No, not the person. It was a Redwing Blackbird. Although the bird did not come after me, he did make a lot of noise until I finished the painting, packed up my supplies and left.

As I worked the first painting, four other artists arrived, found their spots and started their paintings. After completing my first painting and surrendering my spot to the bird, I moved around and finally settled on a view of the barn. The work painted itself. #2 completed.

I still had about 50 minutes before we would break for lunch. Although I tried to find another desirable view of one of the farm buildings, I kept getting drawn back to a view of the main house. I set up my gear under the shade of a tree alongside the main drive. About halfway through painting #3, I became aware of more noise. Seems that I was getting too close to another birds domain. I endured the screeching long enough to finish #3.

We broke for lunch, then I headed back to Rockford to spend some time painting in the studio. It was relatively quiet in the studio. No birds to disturb me there.


Plein Air – White Pines

July 7, 2011

Plein Air June 28, 2011 #1, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air June 28, 2011 #2, Oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

Plein Air June28, 2011 #3, oil on Canvas Panel 6" x 8"

The Eagles Nest group decided that we should go to White Pines for the day. There was no specific meeting spot. It was decided that we should find our own place to paint in the morning and gather at the lodge for lunch.

I was already about half way through my first painting when the rest of the group arrived. I spent time painting points along the river. On the third painting, I encountered a challenge. It was late morning and full sun. The glare off of the canvas panel and the palette made it difficult to accurately judge my values and colors.

We broke for lunch. I encountered a macaw in the bathroom of the visitor center – really. I was pleasantly surprised when I return to my studio and discovered that the colors and values of the third painting worked well. I look forward to getting back to this location again, especially this autumn.