Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Painting the Wind

A few years ago, I taught a workshop on Cape Cod. It was a very windy spring. Out of the variety of easels students brought, only two stood up to the bluster of Cape Cod Bay: the tried-and-true French easel and the Gloucester-style easel. The latter, of course, was made popular by Emile Gruppe while at the Gloucester School of Art. (Visit for more.) I showed a picture of Peter Lewis using this easel the other day.

We sometimes get fierce spring winds in the Southwest, too. Although I left my Gloucester easel at home, I did bring my French easel. It was just the ticket for the 35 mph gusts that came up while we were painting at the Gold King Mine and Ghost Town just up the hill from Jerome, Arizona. We'd gone to paint some of the old trucks littering the grounds. Wouldn't you know that, as I got to the finishing stages of the painting, all heck broke loose. Having a sturdy easel didn't help my brush hand, which jiggled and shook with every buffet. I ended up adding the finishing touches at home.

I wanted to do a large (16x20) painting with quick, easy strokes, much as I do my little ones. For this painting, I needed a shape that was clearly defined and with lots of contrast - this GMC Diesel fit the bill:

"GMC Diesel"
16x20, oil

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