I miss it already. What magnificent countryside. Packed with houses and yet they’ve managed to save a goodly portion of land from the developers, just the way it was when the california impressionists were going at it. The week was a tough one, the rain started on the second day and it was wet and overcast for all but a day and a half. It’s a tough one when the light goes in and out the way it does there, foggy one minute and sunny the next and back again. It messes with your head but in talking with the others at the show, I wasn’t the only one getting played by the weather. The show was high caliber work for the most part, some of my heroes were there; George Strickland, Calvin Liang, Randall Sexton, John Budicin along with some new faces. I definitely went through the spin cycle…. again. 3 days in a row i finished only one painting. the mind is a terrible thing sometimes…. it just wants to undermine the whole thing, but we power through and do the best we can. It is always good to know that the people I respect have the same struggles and joys that I do. My friend Roger Dale Brown and Ken Deward were there and were in awe of the country.
The upside was that I got to find a lot of new areas, new to me anyways. Back bay, the canyons, estuaries, a funky little town called Silverado and I hiked back into the back country to paint a canyon. On the downside, sales were slack. First time I’ve been skunked in a show (well, I sold my quickdraw)… and it’s a long way to go to get skunked. Next time, if I’m invited back I’m bringing one size frame and canvas. 12×16 and one larger one for show. But I now have a few more paintings for the galleries and a few more lessons under my belt from the other artists. Jill Carver won Artists choice and Bryan Mark Taylor won emerging artist. I was not expecting to win a thing and I knew the sales would be down but I did come away with some new info and more motivation to be a better painter. I had a great discussion with John Burton, whose work I love, about reworking the paintings after the fact. He doesn’t and I do. Niether is better. But the above painting is a great example of a reworked painting. I did this 12×16 in dying light and really couldn’t resolve all the subtleties in one go but I did get enough information that I could use what I had done and rework shapes and gradations and push values without destroying the initial freshness. and for the recoerd everything got touched, the sky, the clouds, the water all of it got recovered… edges softened, shapes reworked, transitions made more subtle, foreground darkened AND brightened.
ps I really, really love these plein air people. truly the most friendly, fun and least competitive people I know. My tribe is a good tribe.