Friday, October 28, 2011

Sedona Plein Air Festival - Day 6


"Oak Creek Shadows" - sold!

The Quick Draw is sometimes seen as the ultimate test of the plein air painter.  In two hours, you are expected to create a one-shot masterpiece with bravura, frame it and then transport it safely to the display area.  This is hard enough when you're off on your own, but it's even harder with a vocally curious public at your elbow.  Imagine a ballet dancer - and now imagine that ballet dancer being pelted with questions about where she's from and where she got her training as she tries to execute a quadruple pirouette.  Luckily, my experience has been that most of the public has been well-trained and just watches.  I'm always happy to narrate as I paint, of course, and I do if someone is nearby.


I got to the Quick Draw location about an hour early.  Some artists go the day before to scope out locations; I'm familiar enough with the creekside area of the Los Abrigados resort to not have to.  But I did want to get there early enough to get my spot.  I had a couple in mind.  One was a large sycamore with a fantastic, Medusa-like collection of roots.  But the more I thought about it, the more I decided the complex root structure would give me fits.  (It might be something I'll tackle on a day when I'm painting for myself.)  So, I settled on a more calming scene with water and strong contrast.  The rain we had the day before has made all the creeks run red, and the red was a beautiful accompaniment to the yellowing greens.

The painting went well, and it sold during the sale following the Quick Draw.  I was happy about that, as it made up for the Main Street paintout day in which someone bumped into the finished painting with disastrous results.   Kevin Macpherson complimented me on the painting's strong color, and that made me happy, too.


I spent the rest of the day framing up pieces, and then we delivered them to the Sedona Arts Center.  The hanging is this morning (Friday), and tonight is the Gala Event.  It's time to get the paint out of my hair!

7 comments:

suzilong said...

Nice work, Michael, and Congratulations on the sale of this nice creek piece! I see you're all about oil painting for the Sedona paint-out... why no pastels?

I just read through your whole blog, incl Ann Templeton's eulogy. Since I was at Bob Rohm's Ghost Ranch workshop this year (you 2 can compare notes on me!!!) I was made aware of Ann's dire condition and obvious absence. I'm sure you will all miss her terribly and you have my sincere sympathy for your loss.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Suzi! As for no pastels, it's all about the framing. Pastels are, IMHO, more of a hassle to frame when you're under pressure. I like oils because the process is 1) drop the painting in and 2) shoot in the points.

Doug Runyan said...

I like this painting, Michael. Great job! Congrats on both the good work and the sale. Like Suzi, I'm enjoying your oil pieces but missing your pastels. If you painted on a sanded board, like the Unison pastel surfaces, I think you could put them into a frame with a piece of glass with spacers attached and then shoot in the points. Almost as easy as an oil if you do your prep work ahead!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Doug! I am thinking of doing pastel next time. Your advice is good.

Dave Casey said...

Congrats on the sale. It's always nice to receive the Red Dot Award for a painting. I liked your palette knife paintings a couple of days ago. I'll see you in a couple of weeks for workshop.

Susan D said...

It was so nice to meet you, Michael, on that sunny Thursday. It was our first visit to the area and to the Festival, with live art going on everywhere. Paul and I are pleased that your painting will be in our home and will also serve as a reminder of peaceful places where art can happen. Many thanks.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks so much Dave and Susan. Susan - I am honored that the painting found a good home! Please stay in touch. If you want to send me your e-mail address, I'll be happy to send you my bi-monthly newsletter.