Posts Tagged ‘Rockford’


Edgebrook Farmers Market

October 16, 2016
Edgebrok Farmers Market - Plein Air - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8" x 10"

Edgebrok Farmers Market – Plein Air – Oil on Canvas Panel – 8″ x 10″

Decided to visit a local farmers market for the challenge of including people in my design. Found a spot out of the main walkways and between the trucks of a couple vendors (thankfully they did not mind my presence). Amazing how few people actually approached me to see what I was doing. Passed out a few notices about the upcoming ArtScene. Hoped that it might attract a few additional attendees. Unfortunately, no such luck.


Taste of Italy

September 6, 2016
Taste of Italy - Plein Air - Oil on Canvas Panel - 8 x 10

Taste of Italy – Plein Air – Oil on Canvas Panel – 8 x 10

Helen decided to go painting with me this day. We went to a location in downtown Rockford which I felt might offer a good design opportunity. A bit too busy. We ventured over to a neighborhood north of downtown, but Helen felt that our presence might not go too well. We ventured further north to check out a marina. Unfortunately, we would not have access to the boats in dock. Ventured to a park which did not offer anything of interest. Getting late. Traveled over to Sinnissippi with thoughts of capturing a good view of the river. As we pulled into the parking lot, I noticed this refreshment stand. As I checked out the location, I realized that it could work. It was getting late morning. Sun was getting high in the sky, minimizing shadows and bleaching out colors. Got this done in under 1-1/2 hours.


1500 National Avenue

December 11, 2014
1500 National Avenue; Plein Air oil on Canvas Panel 11 x 14

1500 National Avenue; Plein Air oil on Canvas Panel 11 x 14

Ventured out to National Avenue again. On my last trip over here, I noticed a scene that had potential. It was a rather impressive tree house surrounded by brilliant yellow and ocher leaves. That day was cloudy, but today was clear and bright with sunshine. I had the design set in my head. I knew what I was going to paint. Unfortunately, over the past few days, the trees dropped a lot of leaves. Too many in fact. That idea will have to wait for next year, assuming the tree house is still there.

Traveled the street a couple times and settled on this scene. Rather than just focus on the house, the front corner of this design, at the base of the street sign, had an interesting display of Nasturtiums. I felt that the flowers could offer a different and interesting flair to this painting. I was attempting to work quickly to capture the house, shadows and Nasturtiums. Unfortunately, the angles of the house required additional time to nail. I was also interrupted by passers by. It was nearing noon and I had yet to work in the flowers except for subtle indication suggested by a few, random brushstrokes. Since the weather report indicated that the next day would be a repeat, I felt confident that I could come back the next day to capture the foreground display of flowers and finish the painting.

In my classes, I stress to my students that they should always nail down elements which will change, and do it as quickly as possible. That generally means elements such as shadows, clouds, people, vehicles, etc. I should listen to my own teachings. Came back the next day and quickly realized that the homeowner did some yard work. The carpet of fallen leaves was no more. Not a problem since the yellow/green grass worked better for the light/shadows. But something else was amiss. The Nasturtiums! The lovely Nasturtiums at the front were gone. At first I attempted to paint the flowers in based upon my memory of the scene. Realized that this strategy would be a mistake.

I decided to make a few adjustments to the design and then finish it before the homeowner did any additional yard work. I selected to leave the background a bit vague. I feel that this helped to frame the subject home effectively and still add some mystery to the design.


Flowers Along Douglas

November 21, 2014
Flowers Along Douglas; Oil on Canvas Panel 16 x 20

Flowers Along Douglas; Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 16 x 20

Traveled to the west side of Rockford. My intent was to help out a patron who purchased a painting last year and wanted me to make an adjustment to the painting. Not a problem except that the telephone number I had for the patron, did not work (turns out that I had a wrong digit written down). Tried to stop at her home, but no one was there. I decided to drive around the neighborhood in search of a scene to paint.

As I crept along, taking in the sights, I noticed a lovely floral basket hanging on a garage. The sun was creating some terrific shadows. Parked the car, set up the gear and I was painting. Spent a little over two hours on this, but it was time well spent.

After putting away my paint supplies and checking to see if the patron was home yet (she was not), I toured the rest of the neighborhood and discovered a lot of great opportunities. More to follow.




December 5, 2013
Mercado's; Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

Mercado’s; Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

At the recent Rockford ArtScene, I had a display of plein air work. The display caught the attention of a visitor. The woman inquired about the work and asked if I would be interested in working at her home. I am familiar with the neighborhood and assumed that there would be great possibilities. Being that it was already October,  I better move quick before the cold set in and the foliage was gone.

I called ahead and arrived in the morning. After getting past the greeting committee, two large dogs, I moved around the property with the owner to check out possible designs. The owner mentioned a view of her home of which she was particularly fond. Due to the amount of trees and bushes, much of the view was hacked and difficult. Not sure that I could make the design read properly. I made a couple thumbnail sketches and confirmed my intuition. This view would not work.

During the tour, this scene caught my eye. I did a couple sketches and liked the possibilities. The toughest part would be the sun. From shadows across the house to shining directly on my palette and canvas, the sun would create a challenge.

The owner liked the painting and asked to purchase it to add to her collection. Okay. Better yet, I got to see where the painting would be placed among her other art works, and she had a lot of original art work.  Happy to have the sale and really flattered to have my work included in a great collection of art in Rockford.


Midway – J.L. Clark

August 18, 2013
J.L. Clark; Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

J.L. Clark; Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

Another day at Midway Village. I decided to paint along Main Street. I was told that the Day Camp was in session. I thought that meant that the children would be playing games in the field to the east of me, well out of range. I was wrong.

I had been at work on my painting for about thirty minutes when the day campers made their way into the village with their adult leader. Fortunately for me, I was stationed close to a large tree (for shade). It was a warm day and the leader decided that this was a good day to have the kids split into teams and play capture the flag in the village.

Kind of fun. The kids ran all over the village. Occasionally  a couple kids would run near me, but not too close. I didn’t feel so isolated. Fun day.

The drawing went in fairly quickly, I tried to lock in the shadows as quickly as possible. All of the details of the architecture and the window reflections took a lot of time. Bigger challenge as handling the greens and ensuring that there were enough value changes to work properly . In reality, the values of the canopy and adjacent bushes were virtually the same. I had to use a little artist prerogative to make it work.


Kishwaukee Calm

August 13, 2013
Kishwaukee Calm, Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 8" x 10"

Kishwaukee Calm, Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 8″ x 10″

Had not painted at this park in a long time. I have created quite a few works out here. Hate the idea of being redundant. Of repeating myself. Of painting the same thing over and over again. But since it has been awhile, I figured that either my eyes would see something different, or see something which I had not seen before or even that I might even bring something different to the design.

I arrived at the park, took a quick ride through the park (it is a small park) and settled upon this scene. The sunlight coming over the tops of the trees on the east side of the river caught my eye,,,and my imagination. Quiet and peaceful. A few other visitors to the park but they kept their distance.  I did notice a fellow fishing about a hundred yards south of my spot. I could see him looking at me every now and then. I assume that he was curious about what I was doing. I worked undisturbed until a group of kayakers drifted past and made comments. I attempted to ignore their banter though they persisted. Thank goodness that the current kept them moving to the south.