Sunday, December 5, 2021
Sunday, November 28, 2021
Thursday, November 25, 2021
|The New Book!|
- Paintings will be unframed (even if they say they come with a frame — this makes it easier for us to ship quickly)
- Free shipping only to the lower 48 states in the United States. For other countries, we’ll contact you for the shipping. For most paintings, shipping will be via US Postal Service with insurance and tracking.
- We can’t guarantee delivery dates, but we’ll do our best.
Sunday, November 21, 2021
|The "pods" the competing artists work in|
“Landscape Artist of the Year” – a rather ostentatious title. But each year, Sky Arts in the UK awards it to the one artist out of many who survives eight episodes of painting in spectacular properties belonging to the National Trust. I hadn't heard of this TV show until recently, but once I came across it, I found myself bingeing on the few free seasons available on the All Homes channel on YouTube. (If you're in the UK, you can subscribe to sky.com and see all the seasons. And if you're a UK artist, you can also enter here.)
The concept: Over six episodes, eight artists – mostly professional but with a few amateurs – must paint a specific scene in four hours. At the end of each episode, the judges pick the top three. From this short list, they then pick one artist to go on to the semifinals. Of the seven semifinalists (a "wildcard" artist is added), three are chosen for the final competition where one will win the title “Landscape Artist of the Year.” This comes with no mean prize, as the award is £10,000 and the commission to paint an iconic National Trust property. The final episode is all about the artist painting the commission and its unveiling.
Interestingly, most of the artists chosen to participate in the “heats” aren't plein air painters. Not at all. Instead, they tend to be studio painters—and painting the landscape from life is almost always a struggle for them. And the artists aren't all painters, either. Over the two seasons I've watched thus far, I've seen etchers and sketchers and fabric-art makers. One artist even created a large, felted-wool piece. Artists have brought printing presses, hair dryers, sewing machines, ink jet printers and other interesting bits of machinery to the event. I wonder how many extension cords the roadies have to run?
Although it's fascinating to see how the artists fail (often comically) or succeed (often skillfully but sometimes accidentally), I find most intriguing the comments of the three judges. (For the seasons I've watched thus far: Tai Shan Schierenberg, a portrait artist of high merit; Kathleen Soriano, an independent curator; and Kate Bryan, an art historian.) Throughout each episode, I'm treated to an ongoing-dialogue between the judges about the performance of each artist and the end product. Generally, I find the judges working much too hard to sympathize or to find the good in abject failure. And many times I disagree with their selections for the short list and finalists. But when one realizes they aren't looking for technically-competent landscape painting but for novelty, their choices become clearer. They're also looking, they say, for growth in the artist. Yet it is hard to grow much in a four-hour episode -- or over weeks, should you make it through the heats -- with all the cameras and the judges and the public poking around. The “growth” is often just another manifestation of novelty.
Good entertainment, yes. But it's also a way to see a few truly excellent artists at work and their different approaches.
By the way, Katherine Tyrrell, who writes the wonderful “Making a Mark” blog, has written detailed reviews of the later seasons (as well as of the related show, “Portrait Artist of the Year.”). You can read her reviews here - https://makingamark.blogspot.com/p/art-on-television.html
Sunday, November 14, 2021
|The Other Side of the Creek|
9x12 pastel - Available
This past week, I conducted a plein air painting retreat in Sedona. The weather couldn't have been better—cool mornings and pleasantly warm afternoons with plenty of sunshine. We focused mostly on painting the red rocks that surround the area, but we also made the pilgrimage to the spiritual waters of Oak Creek to paint the lovely fall foliage. I've included some of the sketches I made with this post.
For many years, I taught plein air painting workshops in Sedona. Although my studio was located in West Sedona, I sometimes wandered far afield with my students, taking them on excursions to scenic painting spots in Uptown Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and beyond. But changes in lodging laws and the construction of massive hotels created a fertile environment for unrestrained traffic growth. As the traffic grew worse, I started staying closer to the studio. Finally, with my last couple of workshops, I often saw the traffic—even in West Sedona—bumper-to-bumper, gridlocked between traffic lights and roundabouts.
To someone from a big city, the traffic might not seem so awful, but for this country boy, it was something I no longer wanted to deal with. Yet I had one more painting retreat scheduled. I decided to hold it in the Village of Oak Creek (VOC) instead. The traffic can get backed up there, too, but I had some places I knew that were usually less busy. Plus, it would be a change, since I hadn't painted in that area for some time.
As luck would have it, approaching VOC from the east to check in to our lodging, we ended up sitting in a 40-minute delay. I thought there was some major construction ahead, but when we finally got to the work zone, I saw the stoppage was caused by a single backhoe, digging weeds out of a median. This did not bode well for the retreat. As the week went by, we tried to get out early enough to avoid traffic and parking problems, but sometimes it was unavoidable, especially when we went to paint at some of the more popular trailheads. On our last day, we were very lucky to find enough spots for our group. By the time we left, a merry-go-round of cars seeking spots made it difficult—and dangerous—to back out of our parking spot. Trina acted as traffic cop so we could exit. Cars were parked illegally everywhere, and not a single USFS enforcement officer was in sight.
Yet despite the hassles, the retreat was productive, and for our painting sessions, we found very peaceful locations. In my experience, not many tourists leave the main trail, and so it was on the side trails that we attained true happiness. Will I teach again in Sedona? It's hard to give up the hiking trails and scenery, but I will have to think seriously about it.
|A Fine View - 9x12 oil - Available|
|November Morning - 9x12 oil - Available|
|From the Backside - 9x12 oil - Available|
|Oak Creek View - 5x8 gouache - NFS|
|Courthouse Butte - 5x8 gouache - NFS|