Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Double Easel Threat?

It's like bad urban sprawl in my studio these days. After repeated struggles to change my workspace from pastel to oil, I got sick of the "toggling" from one set up to another and I just decided to invest in a second easel. I'm chuckling at myself because now I'm becoming like one of those artists that I've seen photographed in books about "Artists in Their Studios." Y'know, the ones who have about thirty different easels and tubes of paint lying everywhere.

But in all seriousness, this is a big deal for me because I'm quite a minimalist with my set up. Unlike the stereotype of the eccentric artist, I don't like clutter and chaos. But I had a drafting table in the corner of my studio that I just didn't use any more, so I replaced it with another easel that will be used exclusively for my oil painting. This makes life a lot easier for me because I run an air filtration unit when I work with pastel, and it's not the easiest thing to take that apart and remove it each time I want to spontaneously pop an oil painting up and start working.

Behold Oil on masonite, 30" x 30".

Shown here is the spiffy new easel as well as a new cityscape in progress, "Behold." For me, this is a fairly large piece measuring 30" square. It's on Masonite in a 3" birch cradle and it's based on a study that I did in pastel earlier this year, Study, Behold. I still need to put the finishing touches on this piece, not least of which include the storefront window reflections to the properly set the depth of this composition. I've been sneaking in snippets of clandestine studio time to work on this in the midst of other work with my pastels. But I thought I would share a sneak preview with you as long as I'm yammering about the great furniture shuffle in my studio. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Recent Landscapes

It's summer and I've been painting out in the field in between our torrential downpours this season, but because I haven't been out as much as I would like, I've focused on some landscape subjects inspired by other seasons. These two new additions celebrate seasons that I would almost prefer over summer were it not for the fact that summertime is the best time for veggie gardening.
Winter Passenger

Winter Passenger 16 x 24 original pastel

Nonetheless, here are two brand new pieces, fresh off the easel. The first is Winter Passenger, a work inspired by a rural road here in Centre County. This is a location that I discovered through my bike riding, and during a particularly beautiful stretch of winter this past season, I thought it may be a worthwhile location to check out. I was richly rewarded by this gorgeous sunset.
Autumn Dance

Autumn Dance 16 x 20 original pastel

The second piece is Autumn Dance, a landscape from the interior woodlands of Poe Valley State Park. I liked this subject because of the movement of fall color throughout the composition. Enjoy!

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Outdoor Office of Summer

It's a busy summer. While I'll be the first to admit that my artistic output has been a bit sluggish, it's because behind the scenes I'm moving my entire portfolio web site to a new hosting platform and I'm updating the email service that I use to send quarterly updates to my clients. Nonetheless, apart from these bureaucratic activities, I'm preparing for a couple of upcoming art shows, the Long's Park Art and Craft Festival as well as the Rittenhouse Square Fine Art Show in Philadelphia. And as part of an overall juggling act, I continue to work steadily at my oil painting. I'm slow. I don't have any new pieces to show just yet, but I have lots of ideas and I'm really excited about this new frontier. I hope to have some things to share with you later this fall. Stay tuned.

My Easel in Reeds Gap State Park
Maple in Reeds Gap State Park

In the meantime, when it all gets to be a bit too much, I enjoy retreating to my "outdoor office" of plein air painting. Last week, I ventured down to Reeds Gap State Park and I spent the whole day working outside on a couple of small landscapes along Honey Creek. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I worked in Honey Creek. One of the advantages of using a metal easel (I have a Soltek easel), is that I can put it right in the water. It's a stiff test for my Gore Tex boots, but to really get the right vantage point, sometimes it's necessary. My trusty studio mascot and guard dog, Maple, joined me and we shared a beautiful summer day together. Shown here are a couple of photos from the outing. You'll see these completed landscapes on my portfolio site soon.