104 reasons to stay in the studio

This weekend Atlanta set all time temperature records and I decided to stay indoors. Saturday I attended the Smith-Gilbert Gardens Riot of Color exhibit and awards presentation. I’ve been anticipating this competition for a few months and I worked hard on this studio version of a plein air I did  about 6 weeks ago (see the older post). It’s a very formal and impressionistic view from the perennial gardens and a composition of verticals and horizontals with an oval base. I wanted the design to echo the feeling of this very organized English garden. When I executed the plein air I did not have the time to work out adjustments but in the studio I was able to rearrange and re emphasize certain elements like the large lilies to achieve the look I was seeking. This painting would make a great cover illustration for a publication. I was able to find a 18″ x18″ frame at Omega Moldings here in Atlanta and was pleased with the quality and final look. I’m always confident that I am going to win these events—why bother if your not. I am finding that the quality of the competition is usually very good and that you must not only do top tier work but also be a bit lucky.

Of course it was extremely hot over at the gardens, fortunate that the reception was held inside the wonderfully restored and air conditioned Hiram Butler House. This facility is first class as are the staff that organizes these events. The paintings were all hung in a small reception room but there was still enough room to get a good look at everything.  As always, I attempt to meet some of the other artists and It was a pleasure to talk to Sam Triana, a gifted plein air painter from Mansfield GA. I was very impressed with two small paintings he exhibited and hope to see him in the future at some of the local events.

Happened that I was not among the winners in this show. Only one cash prize was given for first place and it was awarded to Nikki Davidson for one her three floral works—all three good enough to win the prize. Her oil My Dahling Dahlia took the honor. Honorable mentions also went to Kristy Alcala for This Wide Quietness an interesting and well executed oil pastel of a mother and child walking in the garden, Bill Needs for a mixed media drawing of a dogwood blossom, and finally a watercolor of some of the gardens many birds by Beth Evans. The show will remain hanging for several more weeks and everything is for sale so I might still be rewarded for the effort. I hope to attend a plein air competition here in the fall.

Sunday, I decided to stay out of the heat completely and spent a quiet day working on a studio version of the plein air Bird Island I did a few weeks back at Little Mulberry Park. This is 30 x30″, so a good size and if you compare it to the original you’ll see the adjustments I made to fit the square canvas. That said, it’s still on the easel and I’m working out some ideas. I enjoy working from plein air originals as they tend to capture the light and color of the moment better than photos. I do use photos to work the ideas up, but just for details.  Wife Penny thinks the heron is too much and not needed —I’m a bit attached to it. Cast your vote.

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