Sunday, July 27, 2014

Castine Plein Air Festival - Day 3

Honorable Mention: "Severe Weather" 9x12 oil 

Morning

As I write, I'm sitting on the cool porch of our "summer cottage," enjoying the breeze and the sublime sense of release that comes after a hard morning and a hot shower.  I was up early - others were today, too - and down to the waterfront by 6.  After communicating with the world (despite the Cloud's vagaries), I lugged my French easel and a 12x24 panel to a remote part of the docks.

As much as I was thinking that, if I were to paint a larger piece, I wanted something easy, when I saw the view of the T/S State of Maine, I knew I had to paint it.  (And Trina rightfully urged me to try something a little more ambitious than a quiet cove.)  The scene was complicated.  It wasn't  just the rocket-nosed State of Maine, which lay like a Leviathan at dock, but maybe two dozen dinghies and a variety of sailboats, and it all became increasingly fractalized and daunting as I stared at it.  To make matters worse, it was Saturday morning, and on a summer weekend, there would no doubt be a lot of coming and going of boats.

But I knew this was the scene for me, and I set up.  To get the drawing right, I spent a great deal of time making a pencil sketch.  Even though much of this would disappear with my block-in, it was useful because it helped me figure out and memorize line, angle and proportion.   I simplified the scene greatly, removing all the dinghies but one small outboard craft, another with some sort of cowl over it, and then the tugboat and a line of smaller boats behind it.

I worked over three hours on the painting.  As I knew they would, boats came and went; the tide went up; people stopped by to watch or take photos (thank you for asking), and to ask a question or two about the event.  When I packed up, I realized how beat I was.  I treated myself to a very early lunch of fish'n'chips and then went home to frame and inventory.

Here are the steps in the painting process for "Home Port (T/S State of Maine)":








"Home Port (T/S State of Maine)" 12x24 oil
Available - $750

One secret to framing plein air work during an event is retouch varnish.   Even in a day or two,  paint will start to dry, and colors will become less saturated.  I bring a can of retouch with me, and I give each painting a quick spray before popping them into the frame.

After the Show

I was pretty pleased with my line-up of five 9x12s and one 12x24.  Paintings had to be dropped off between 2:30 and 4:30 at the Academy student center, and it was "first come, first served" for space.   I got there early, but there were already painters in line.  As we waited, some of us joked about fans camping out overnight for tickets for a major concert.

After setting up my "store," I took a walk.  Judging was at 4:30, and we were wanted back at 5:30 for the awards, so there wasn't much else to do.  It was a beautiful evening - I would have loved to have had one more painting session - so I took photographs for future reference.  Castine has some very lovely architecture.

One of my paintings, "Severe Weather" (at the top of the blog), won an Honorable Mention.  The best part of the event, though, was that I got to paint in some really great locations and to make some new painting friends.  Thanks to everyone - my lodging hosts, the festival committee, sponsors and all the volunteers - for putting on a great festival!

Below are the rest of the paintings that were in the show, plus one that was not.  Keep in mind, that the paintings always look better in person than they do on the Internet.  (I am making that a bumper sticker.)  Now, it's off to Miramichi, New Brunswick, to teach a plein air painting workshop, followed immediately by another in St Andrews.

"Eaton's Boatyard" 9x12 oil
Available - $500

"Early Morning on the Wharf" 9x12 oil SOLD

"Sunny Side of the Street" 9x12 oil
Available - $500

"Flag with a View" 9x12 oil
Available - $500
"Clouds Over the Cove" 9x12 oil (not in the show)
Available - $500

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