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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Sunset Chaser

You've probably heard of storm chasers and those crazy people who photograph tornados and other violent storms?  I profess to be a sunset chaser, always wondering what magic will happen at sunset and the afterglow and if there's anything worthy to paint.  Some evenings the sun sets in an ordinary way, still beautiful but nothing to write home about.  On other nights, the skies go crazy and I always wonder if some artist in heaven helps God put on a good light show.  Evenings are full of Wonder and Awe, always a good way to end a busy day. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

Darla the Donkey and Friends

Today I'll continue writing about my plein air experiences during the Cedarburg event in June.  I met another very kind property owner who allowed me to paint her precious donkey, Darla. 
A donkey was a brand new subject for me.  After Darla and I got acquainted, she settled into a nice pose for me with the geese running all around!  Granted, she probably only rested in that spot for 10 minutes before getting up for stretching and food, but that was enough to capture the moment. 
The geese provided lots of entertainment along with a rooster who kept guard of the whole barnyard situation.  Plus, I left the farm with some amazing asparagus that was a real treat for dinner that night. 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Brushes with Bovines

At the recent Cedarburg Plein Air event, I decided to go forward with my plan of painting what speaks to me....what inspires me. 
Naturally, that lead me to cows and chickens and other assorted furry animals.  While I have done many studio paintings of cows, my time spent plein air painting them has been limited.  Let's just say they don't sit still very often and tend to wander off into a pasture.  Well, often times that is what happened with this recent experience. 
Here is a documentation of some recent bovine plein air adventures.
These beautiful Charlais cattle are a real mystery to paint, because they often look like sheep in a finished painting.  Here in the US, we are not so accustomed to the all white animals.  Our eyes are used to Holsteins or Herefords dotting the countryside.  But I had to give it a try a few times!
For the Quick Paint portion of the competition, I also selected cows as my subject.  Well, just as I arrived, they were all going in the barn for morning milking.  I figured they would be out to pasture again, and I managed to get one cow painted in under the old tree before the 2.5 hour time limited was up.

"Solitude"  Quick paint Plein Air, 10 x 12
I asked the farmer, Mike, if it would be okay to return to his farm to paint in the afternoon and he agreed.  Couldn't think of a better way to spend an afternoon!  I hiked quite a ways up into the pasture, thinking I would paint this nice cluster of cows eating grass.  Ha!  They scattered after saying Hello so I decided to paint them randomly throughout the pasture. 
"Out to Pasture"  Plein air, 11 x 14
 I was also delighted to see a Bobolink along the fencerow.  Haven't seen this bird for ages, so it was another treat!
With a great day out in the pasture, I was ready to take a break and go into Cedarburg for one of the artists' gatherings.  Instead as I was passing one of the sheds, I noticed more curious cattle.  Yup, grabbed the backpack out of the car and captured the moment.  I'm so happy I went back for this one. 
"Peek A Boo" Plein Air, 8 x 10
A few days later, I returned to Mikes to paint just a few more, including "Mike's Vista" listed in the previous post.  So much can be learned painting cows from life that I will put to good use in the studio for future paintings. Met some wonderful people too which makes the experience even richer!

"A Day in the Shade", 8 x 10 Plein Air