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Monday, September 1, 2014

Willoway Farm Charm

A few weeks ago, painters from the Cedarburg Artists Guild were invited to a beautiful farm that operates a CSA near Fredonia, Willoway Farm.  Owners Jacqui and Dan allowed us to explore and create for the entire day -- thank you!  Many of us left with a full supply of veggies, eggs and even flowers for the week.

For me, one of the hardest parts of plein air painting is picking the subject.  And at this farm, that was a hard task. So many OPTIONS!  I probably spent the first hour just walking back and forth to see what would catch my eye.  Beekeeping has always interested me, so I found some boxes along a back path and set up there. 
Work in progress
"What's the buzz at Willoway Farm?"  Oil, 11 x 14
All the sights and sounds of the farm stay in my memory as I sift through photo reference to create some studio paintings.  Their little boy Sam was also very interested in the artists and hopefully his curiosity will spark his own creations in art. 
As I packed up, the sandhill cranes were flying overhead.  Couldn't have asked for a better day!  Thankful, grateful. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lynden Sculpture Garden plein air

For the third year in a row, I've painted at the Annual Lynden Sculpture Garden Backyard BBQ, a fundraiser for their educational programs.  This painting was donated for their silent auction at the end of the beautiful evening.
"The Lovers", oil, plein air, 16" x 8"
Work in progress
I was having lots of fun all night too watching a neighboring muskrat in the pond and a hawk sitting in a handsome pose on one of the sculptures in this magical setting.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Painting the Point

Mineral Point Wisconsin began as a wild and crazy frontier town attracting all sorts back in 1828 when lead was discovered.  A few weeks ago, wild and crazy plein air artists ventured to Mineral Point from surrounding states to discover rugged beauty, historic buildings and glorious vistas speckled with bountiful bovines.  We spent two days painting in the inaugural "Paint the Point" plein air event and couldn't have asked for better painting conditions.  The weather, the subjects, the parties, the organizers and galleries were wonderful. 

Our little group stayed at the lovely Bluebird Cottage outside of Mineral Point.  The first night, we warmed up our brushes with a little sunset painting. 
Early the next morning after canvases were stamped, we ventured out to get inspired.  My sights were set on finding cows, so that didn't take long.  Triple D Farms and the Dannenberg family were very welcoming, along with the curious cows and fun children!  Thank you.
Painting with Triple D Farms in background, along with many of their beautiful and curious cows taking a peek.
"Spotify", 11 x 14, Plein Air, Oil
Later that day I wanted to capture some of the beautiful wildflowers along the country roads and here is the result.
"Ferndale Road Vista" 10 x 12, Plein Air, oil
The following day I went back to Triple D Farms to paint more cows, but gee, they kept mooooving, what a shock.  I ended up spending the afternoon at the home farm (which was out of our painting area). 
 So this one I couldn't enter in the competition but really loved this little chicken coop and my afternoon painting with one of the children, Laurianna.  I hope she's filling her sketchbook with lots of great drawings.  I cherish the drawing she gave me!
"Andrea's Coop" 8 x 10, Plein Air, Oil
After a lovely party Friday evening at The Walker House (thank you Dan and Kathy), we were up bright and early for the final event of the weekend, the Quick Paint.  We had about 3 hours to paint, complete, frame and deliver the painting.  I chose Jail House Alley as my inspiration and enjoyed a visit by another furry friend, Rosie.  Rosie is a legend in Mineral Point, a very popular girl!
Hi Rosie!
"Sunpower" Plein Air quick paint, 12 x 10, oil
One final note, while checking out of the cottage, I left my car hatch open for just five minutes.  I noticed a cat in my car when I packed up.  Sure enough, I had left a few wet paintings out and the sweet little cat stepped in some nice juicy paint and proceeded to walk around my car and across my painting backpack.  I think I'll keep the cat tracks on my backpack as a permanent reminder of this special trip! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Port Washington -- A new favorite

The nearby city of Port Washington has lots of positive things happening and one of them is their vision for accessibility to Lake Michigan.  South Shore Beach continues to be one of my favorite hikes along the lakeshore, but now the newest addition to the city parks is Coal Dock Park.  It has a 1,500' promenade and an 80' pedestrian bridge with access to South Shore Beach.  The views are beautiful and I am currently smitten with this particular view of the marina.  I've met wonderful people who are out for an evening walk, many curious dogs and watched the charter boats come in after successful cruises with happy fishermen.  It's like a new experience every time you paint there with God's ever changing canvas of clouds, sun, rain, birds and more.  Thankful and grateful for this beauty so close to home. 
Port Washington July Afterglow, 6 x 8
Sail Across the Sun, 11 x 14
Thankful it didn't pour
The set up
"Passing Storm", 11 x 14
"July 7 Port Washington Sunset", 11 x 14

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mosquitos not included

It's been a very wet spring and early summer that means an onslaught of mosquitos, especially around dusk.  Thought I might be safe setting up far from the wood's edge, but no luck.  These were two very quick paintings on my favorite hilltop in Blanchardville.  Sunset on one side, turn the easel and capture moonrise. 
Both paintings included lots of mosquitos embedded deep in the paint that have now been carefully removed thanks to a trusted palette knife.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Painting animals for Cedarburg Plein Air

We just wrapped up a wonderful week of painting in Cedarburg for the Plein Air event.  Many people in the community say it's "their favorite week of the year" and I can see why.  How wonderful to have 160 artists from all over the country come and see their city and countryside through their eyes. 
Unlike other artists who love painting the historic buildings of Cedarburg, I am drawn to the countryside.  Always in search of cattle, chicken or in this case, a donkey.  Here are some of my animal adventures en Plein Air!
Here's my block in and quick outline of the donkey placement, now I'm just waiting for her to return....waiting!
Finally, she returns and shares a good belly laugh with me. 
"Deanie's Darla" Oil, 10 x 12
Then, I let Darla the Donkey nap from her modeling gig and moved on to the chickens.  Wow, such a challenge with constantly moving feathered friends. 
Painting plein air at the coop, beginning with the block in and will paint in chickens on the fly!  Having painted chickens many time in my studio, that knowledge comes in handy with the various shapes, colors and sizes.
"Red Zeplins" Oil 10 x 12
This title was inspired by rock music that was played in the barn while I was painting. 
A few days later I was off to another property to paint chickens again.  I loved the simplicity of this composition and the little touch of light peeking through the flower box window.  I quickly sketched in chickens as they passed through the scene and turned around quite often to get a closer look as they scattered about. Yes, very sore neck the following day.  Fellow painters can relate!
"Gaylyn's Girls" Oil, 14 x 11
My "happy" place!
The chickens and roosters are in their resting spot for the evening, getting settled in for the night.
"Sweet Dreams" Oil, 12 x 12

A Pleasant Valley

There's a road outside Cedarburg that is filled with old farmsteads and magical canopies created by old stands of trees, Pleasant Valley Road.  Here are a few of my paintings from the recent Cedarburg Plein Air event that capture a few nights spent there.
"Ed's Shed" Oil, 11 x 14
Also did a few sunset paintings those evenings and it's always fun how you can have your feet planted in exactly the same spot and the light is always different, even in just one day.  The sunsets are always filled with wonder for me.  Thank you for this beautiful gift God!
"Pleasant Valley Dusk" 11 x 14, oil
"Pleasant Valley Sunset" 10 x 12, oil


Friday, June 27, 2014

Port Washington Plein Air

As part of the Cedarburg Plein Air event, artists from all over descended on Port Washington on a stormy, foggy morning.  Fog, mist, sun and rain rolled in and out over the two day period making painting a challenge.  My first set up was at South Shore beach where I hiked down the shoreline, thinking I would avoid the alewives.  No luck there.  So, I plunked down right in the middle of them and began painting.  Loved the variation of light on these beach paintings.
The alewives were everyone on the beach
"Storm Watch at South Shore Beach" 11 x 14, Oil
Then took a break and waited for some sun.  The My Radar app on the phone is such a great tool for Plein Air painters.  Later that afternoon I set up on the sidewalk and painted the marina.  Good thing I finished quickly because the fog enveloped us again. 
"Waiting for Wind" 8 x 10, oil
Went back very early the next morning to catch a sunrise, there was a tiny glimmer until the fog rolled in once again.