Summer’s last long weekend

I try to do a few plein air paintings a week but I end up doing it on the weekends most of the the time. Even though I have a lot of time during the week I find that my business demands I stay near the phone and the computer.  So that works out to around a hundred a year— good for an amatuer. But I’d like to crossover to the pro ranks and that means painting everyday, winning a few shows and selling some work.  As we close in on fall I ‘m hoping to get to few competitions and put my practice to work.

This weekend was not anywhere as busy as last and I found myself staying at home  watching the dogs and catching up on some housework. I did sneak out Saturday to do this tall view of my street as it dives down the hill to the cul-de-sac at the other end. The sun rises and sets at almost 90 degrees to the street this time of year and It’s a view that I’ve admired for years. In the afternoon the tree shadows stripe the street and the sunlit side contrasts sharply with the shadowed side.  I did a small drawing a few weeks ago in a very tall format with a big sky with the thought of using a 10 x 20″ board that I have. I kept the general layout of the drawing but the canvas was a bit thinner and emphasized the verticality to excess.  I offset this with the horizontal street shadows and the treed horizon. I’ve been working to get in some more sky into my paintings and this one features a lot of clouds. It’s a good size and took me four hours or more with a lot of paint. I’m a fan of heavy paint but It never seems to happen in my work although this has a bit more that most. In the end I was struggling to get the light in over thick gray mixture on the street. Colley Whisson would of just pulled out his big brush and laid it in with one stoke.

Yesterday, again I stayed close to home but still wanted to get some painting in so I set up in my garage and pulled out my Z4 for a portrait session. This allowed me to stay in the shade on a very hot afternoon and have the dogs out with me. They were both very well behaved and hardly strayed from my side with Bonnie under my chair and my daughter’s dog, Mia lazing about the driveway and occasionally getting up to react to a chipmunk. I kept it simple in the background but I still wanted to get that plein air light look to it. The car has a maddening array of  reflections and concave surfaces so it was hard and I think the proportions are not quite on but I love my old gal and enjoyed painting her. In the end it was a pleasant few hours on an otherwise horridly humid Sunday afternoon. It’s Labor Day weekend so I will try to get out this afternoon for another.

After this entry I went out across the street from my house and painted this view of the neighbor’s house in a few hours. I used a small drawing from the selection above to quickly develop a composition and waited for a few minutes of sun to put the light in. It sums up my thoughts about Labor Day—one of the best holidays of the year. No presents, no parades, no fireworks, just a restful day—you don’t even have to include family and friends.

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