Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Mobile Painting Studio

It's mid-November and we've slipped into a cold spell here in central Pennsylvania (like much of the rest of the nation), but it was a beautiful fall season and I tried to make the most of it with several plein air painting outings. Now that I'm beginning to explore oil painting, I'm delighted to combine two of my favorite things in the world: Bike riding and painting!

The result? A mobile and nimble painting studio. Woo hoo!

The benefits extend beyond getting a workout. Thanks to the lighter and leaner set up associated with oils, as opposed to hauling a bunch of pastel sticks into the field, I can now get to more rural locations and places off the beaten path. It's genuinely tricky to find safe places to pull off of Pennsylvania's narrow, winding backroads. Arriving by bike solves that issue.

In addition, we have fantastic mountain biking trails in our area. And while I'm not the least bit technically astute for the rocky trails, I can handle basic trails. Even this low level of proficiency opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for me, which is perfect because I've been increasingly intrigued by interior woodland subjects in my recent landscapes.

Shown here is my set up on my mountain bike from a recent outing to the Scotia Gamelands near our home. I use two back wheel panniers and a rear tire rack to carry everything that I need. Of course, it helps that today's cell phones also double as decent cameras and portable music players. With this compact set up, I'm able to take everything I need, including snacks. It's fantastic fun and I look forward to doing more of this when the weather warms up a bit again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Figuratively Speaking

Cool Contemplation original pastel
"Cool Contemplation" 20 x 30 original pastel

I've been on a figurative kick with my recent pastel pieces, and my latest works, "Cool Contemplation" and "Brown Bagging It," continue this trend.

I enjoy the myriad stories that these subjects evoke. If I wasn't an artist, then my back up career plan would have been to become a writer (I've always been extremely pragmatic; I even started my college education as a music major). And I think that's why these subjects are so compelling to me because I have an opportunity to share a story with the viewer while diving in with bold colors and shapes.

"Brown Bagging It" 18 x 18 original pastel

I'm really enjoying creating these works, and as I dive deeper into working with oil paints, you'll start to see these themes pop up there, too. Stay tuned.