Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zion National Park Plein Air Event - Day 5

A reader asked, Why don't you do pastels at the plein air events?  This is a good question, since I'm probably more noted for pastel than oil.  I love pastel, and I paint in pastel about half the time.  But because pastels are more difficult to frame, I haven't painted in that medium for any of these events.  With an oil painting, I can simply stick it in a frame and put in points to secure it.  With pastel, there is always glass to worry about, even if one frames without a mat.   Of course, one might argue that oil paint is wet and easily damaged by an incautious hand.  I may paint in pastel at my next event - stay tuned!

But for this one, of course, I'm still painting in oil.  I dropped off my five paintings yesterday morning and actually got to hang them myself.  This is a pleasure, because we painters always worry when someone else is responsible for hanging.  Afterward, I headed over to the Zion Lodge to get a parking space for the Quick Draw.  But I had a couple of hours, so I took a nice hike along the Virgin River, playing tourist.

I've been thinking lately on the differences and similarities between plein air painters and your average tourist.  As a tourist, I take many photographs and try to cover a lot of ground.  As a painter, though, I take few, if any photos, and I'm tempted to paint at the same spot repeatedly.   It's more about quality, not quantity.  It's more about the deepness of seeing.  In many ways, it's a richer experience.

We had beautiful weather for the Quick Draw on the lodge lawn.  The wind held off until 12:01, one minute into the painting session, and then it became very gusty.  It was comical to see little balled-up paper towels from the oil painters flying across the lawn like tumbleweeds.  The wind stopped about 90 minutes later, just as the Quick Draw ended.  We then had 15 minutes to get our work framed and to the auction block.  I also picked up my paper towels.

After the auction, we had some free time before the Buyer's Preview Gala at 7 p.m.  Although a few painters went off to paint, most went off to rest.  I, however, went grocery-shopping to get some lunch.  (The restaurant at the Lodge was inconveniently closed before the Quick Draw and after the auction.)  I also spent some time cleaning brushes and pre-packing for my trip home on Sunday.

The Gala at the Nature Center was packed with buyers and artists.  I wish I'd had about three hours all my myself there, because I really wanted to spend some time looking at all the fine work.  We had a great sales staff - each festooned with a blue sash to identify themselves - and it was nice to talk with a lot of people about my work.  I think I gave away more business cards than at any of the other events.

This morning, it's time to frame up some backup paintings and to take them at 9 to the Nature Center.  Today's public sale runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Artists aren't required to be at the sale - it is a very long day! - but being there always helps a sale.  So, I'll be there as much as possible.   It's a good time to talk with me about my paintings, workshops and books.  Please stop by!  I'll give you a business card with a nice picture on it, and you can also buy a nice oil painting.


Doug Runyan said...

Your six paintings look really great together, Michael. Beautiful work. Hope you sell them all!

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Doug!