Monday, October 20, 2014

Sedona Plein Air Festival: Day 2

I don't think it was in the forecast, but I woke before dawn yesterday to lightning and rolling thunder.  The rain fell steadily through breakfast.  By 7:30, I decided to head up Oak Creek Canyon to paint at Midgely Bridge.  What was I thinking?  The rain continued to fall as I made my way up the hill and into the parking lot.  I sat there for about an hour, waiting for the rain to pass and reviewing a magazine article I'm in the middle of writing.

By the time I'd finished, the rain had, too.  I thought about trying to paint the view from the bridge overlook, which is a deep chasm.  But it looked like more rain was on the way.  Plus, I wanted to see Scott Gellatly's (Product Manager, Gamblin Artist Colors) presentation on color palettes at 10.  I only had an hour.  I couldn't possibly create a painting in an hour could I?  No, of course not.  So, I drove down to the Sedona Arts Center and found Scott, who was in the parking lot, painting.  I talked with him a bit.  Then, dithering further, I walked up the street from the Sedona Arts Center to find us some coffee.

When I got back, the guilt really laid in.  I had 45 minutes before Scott's presentation.  So, I whipped out the easel and used a quick knife to paint "Clouds & Peaks."  I think it evokes the energy and tension of the moment I felt at the time.  By the way, this painting  was done using a different palette than my usual split-primary one.  I used mostly raw umber, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow deep and Gamblin's new Warm White.

Clouds & Peaks, 9x12 oil

Scott always gives a good presentation.  This time it was on a variety of oil palettes available to the painter, from Classic (earth colors) to Impressionist (mineral colors) to Modern (organic colors.)  After Scott finished, Carl Judson, founder and owner of Guerrilla Painter, gave us a tour of some of his new equipment and took questions from the audience on how to minimize one's baggage.

Scott Gellatly demonstrating

Carl Judson presenting

By the time I stepped out of the auditorium, the sun was shining like it should in Arizona.  I decided to eat my sandwich - plein air painters should always bring  food - and then to drive over to Dry Creek to see if I could find a little standing water to paint, and maybe a nice sycamore, too.

Despite the rain, there was no standing water.  But I found my sycamore.  I had painted this little undercut bit of cliff a few years ago for one of the Plein Air Southwest events sponsored by the Outdoor Painters Society.  But then it was March, and there'd been snow in the creek.  This day, there was heat.  No breeze, lots of intense sun, and heat.  I tried to capture that heat in this piece.

Sycamore's Delight, 9x12 oil

As I finished, storms were building up again.  I could see curtains of rain off to the north.  As I drove home to clean up, the clouds followed me home.  Toward sundown, a beautiful partial rainbow - just a shard - appeared against the clouds.

(For a full schedule of events, see

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