Friday, March 20, 2009

A Week of Plein Air Painters, part three

Part of the reason, aside from wanting to see all the artist's working, for going out on the breakwater, was to find Ken Auster, CA, to see his work again because I was so taken with it the first time I saw it at D.T. Fleming and the Kick Off Paint Out. I didn't find him, but I did see Betty Hay Freeland, Maui, working with her palette knife again. I stopped to watch her paint and told her how much I loved the fact that she used a palette knife to paint with. It's certainly commendable how tolerant of chattering fans these artists are! We hang on their elbows and watch every stroke, ask questions, take photos, crowd about... Of course, they've likely been under public scrutiny for years as they paint, so I'm sure they're used to it. Or, most likely, is that they go to "Paint World" - the place I say my brain and thoughts go to when I'm painting, so they are probably answering the questions with one foot in reality and the rest of their being is in Paint World, oblivious to anything besides their work. That would be my guess.

As I stated in part two, of these posts, Darrell Hill had been finishing up his painting and as I came off the breakwater and started past the boat slips again, he had completed painting #2!! I swear, I wasn't out there that long!

A short distance from Darrell Hill's spot, another artist working on his own painting of the harbor's promenade where all the ocean excursions and tour booths are located. It was a scrumptious painting, full of color and excitement.

Once again, I have to apologize for not knowing the artist's name. I looked through all of my photos of him and could not find his name tag in any of them.

Crossing the street, toward the Lahaina Court & Custom House, across from the Pioneer Inn, I spotted Randall Sexton, CA, painting a vintage automobile parked in the street.

And lo and behold, past him, in front of the courthouse pillars, was Ken Auster! I hurried across the street to see what he was working on which turned out to be a view of the Pioneer Inn.

As you can see, I wasn't the only fan of his - Carleton Kinkade had sought him out and was taking his picture, too.

Oh, and by the way... Darrell Hill managed to paint a third painting before the two hour session was over!

At 5 P.M. that night, the Maui No Ka 'Oi Gala Reception, at the Village Gallery, in Lahaina, began and as you can imagine the gallery was packed and spilling out onto the lanai with eager art patrons and enthusiasts wanting to view all the paintings selected by the artists for the unveiling and talk with the artists once more. (Each artist had selected three paintings out of the ones they had done that week to show.) Awards had been given out and ribbons were hung next to the chosen pieces. I never did get to view all the paintings as long or clearly as I would have liked due to the crush of the crowd - it was like trying to see Sistine Chapel in July! The show was only hung for 24 hours and being halfway up the mountain in Makawao, well... I have to admit I never made it back down to Lahaina on Saturday. Although, I did get to see a few of the paintings that remained at the gallery, later in the week. I did manage to get a few photos of some of my favorites that night, but they really aren't good enough for posting. This is the best shot I got of all the artists when they gathered outside for the "official photo". I didn't want to get in the photographer's way. Besides, they weren't looking at me, they were looking at her, of course!

It was absolutely a fun and fabulous week watching all these talented artists, never knowing when you might run across one painting somewhere on the island because they were out and about painting all week, not just at the scheduled events. It was also a learning experience for me, seeing how they set up and work. Fun. Educational. Inspirational. I hope I can do it again next year.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

A Week of Plein Air Painters, part two

During the Pacific 'O Sunset Paint Out I spoke to Darrell Hill, an artist from the Big Island, whose work I admire greatly. By the time I reached the spot he was painting in, he had completed his painting and was signing it. It turned out that he had already completed one painting and this was his second, while everyone was still working on their first! I managed to get a photo of his set up with completed painting, but not him.

The last scheduled painting event was the Pioneer Inn Lahaina Harbor Quick Draw, on February 20th, starting at 9 A.M. and going until 11 A.M.. The Maui No Ka 'Oi Magazine Gala Reception was to start at 5 P.M. so they needed time to let the paint dry! The artists had taken up positions around the harbor and inn, with many of them out on the breakwater, so of course, that's where I headed. As I walked along the boat slips, I saw Darrell Hill again, who once again, had nearly completed his painting!

He was nearly ready to sign the painting and was already figuring out where he would set up for his next painting. I really admire his work and his ability to edit the imagery and told him so. His painting was of a couple of boats and their reflections in the water. What was so wonderful about it was that he didn't put in every little ripple in the water, like many artists would be tempted to do. He put in what was necessary to convey the image of these boats, sitting side by side, on the water.

As I recall, he gave it the title, "Sisters". Perfect.

I ventured out onto the breakwater wall, where, as I stated, a number of the artists were set up: Carleton Kinkade, of Maui, was seated on the rocks, painting a view of the beach where the Royal Hawaiian Surf Academy takes their surf lesson participants to.

I got a bit distracted because I started watching the surfers, too, since that's where my daughter, Lizzy had taken her lessons when we were on Maui, last September. There were a couple of young children taking lessons this day and they were being cheered on from the breakwater. One of them was Lydia, who was doing great!

I love her arms' pose!

I walked out across the rocks of the breakwater, to the end where the last artist was set up. Unfortunately, I don't recall the name of this particular artist. All the artists did have name tags, but often they were being blown about by the wind or quite frankly, I tended to get caught up in their work. Not only was this artist's work impressive, but it was impressive to watch the patrons walking out on these huge rocks to where he was, in flip flops! I was surprised no one twisted an ankle or two.

A Week of Plein Air Painters, part one

It just occurred to me as I was looking at the newest issue of International Artist, I should post some of the photos I took of the plein air artists at work, in Maui! Afterall, I only took about 1500 photos while I was in Maui, I'm sure I have a few hundred of the artists!

The first day of the event was February 14th - a great way to spend Valentine's Day. Like the song says, "If you can't be with the one you love, love the one you're with..." and since I wasn't with my husband on Maui, I was spending Valentine's Day with my other "love" - the pursuit of art. (I did wear the beautiful earrings my husband had sent me for Valentine's Day.) Anyway, back to the painters. They were starting at noon and were participating in a "Kick Off Paint Out in Kapalua". The twenty-five of them were divided between three beaches: D.T. Fleming, Kapalua Bay, and Honolua Bay. My brother, Dano, with whom I was staying with on Maui, and I went to D.T. Fleming. As I recall, there were eight artists at D.T. and it was quite windy. A few were tucked safely under a building's awning, painting a view of the lifeguard tower. The braver souls tended to be located along the beach. My favorite photo from this event is the one of Ken Auster, an incredible artist from California, painting against the wind.

As one can see from his hair and the woman's hair, who is leaning over, watching him, the wind was quite strong. What one may overlook is that his easel doesn't have four legs - look closely - it was taped to a tree root to keep it from blowing away! Now that's what I call being dedicated to the cause!

What I loved about Ken's work is the vigor and texture of his work. His work tended to be amongst my favorites.

On Monday, I happened to go to Lahaina, planning to do some painting of my own, but instead I stumbled upon the Lahaina Arts Society artists holding one of their art fairs under the Banyan Tree. Now, this being my third trip to Maui, in two years time, having never caught this exhibit before - always missing it - I wasn't going to miss it this time!

You really can't get the magnitude of the size of this tree (it takes up a whole city block!!) by looking at this photo, but it truly is a sight to behold! Artists, twice a month, on weekends, gather and sell their artwork. So, it was a surprise for me to catch it on a Monday! I thought perhaps the scheduling change was due to the plein air painters. As I wandered around, under the tree's canopy, I ran across another one of the plein air painters, Larry Moore, from Florida, working on a figurative piece.

One the the next scheduled events was the "Pacific 'O Sunset Paint Out", on February 18th. It started at 4 P.M. and continued to 6 P.M.. There was a model available but not everyone was using the model, many were doing landscapes/seascapes. I arrived shortly before 4:30 and the model was taking her first break, walking around and seeing what the artists were doing.

The most amusing part of the Sunset Paint Out were two little boys, about 10 years-old or so, that were posing and mugging "body builder style" in front of artist, Saim Caglayan, who was actually doing a landscape piece, that included the boys in it! Unfortunately, by the time I realized what was going on, the boys "broke" their poses to run over and see what the artist was doing. I did manage to catch one of the event's patrons amused by the boys' antics. As for Saim, he was indeed most tolerant!

Hurry Up Summer!

Yes, that's right... I don't even want to "hurry up spring". I'm pushing for summer. That's because spring in Michigan is an iffy prospect. Sometimes we have one and sometimes we don't. As of right now, it looks as though Mother Nature may grace us Michiganders with an actual spring, but I never trust her. She's too fickle when it comes to keeping us in her graces and warming embraces before June. Spring may only be a couple days away, according to the calendar, but here, it could still be a moot season. As I sit here in my studio, overlooking the yard, the prospect of a spring looks pretty good - grass is starting to "green up", there's been a robin or two hopping around the yard, trees are starting to bud, and the temp is starting to rise - too slow for my liking, but nevertheless, it's rising.

What I'm really looking forward to is getting out and doing some plein air painting. The Maui Plein Air Painters Invitational really inspired me. Living in the urban area of metropolitan Detroit doesn't lend itself to much in the way of landscape work, but I hope to be able to do some painting "around town". I may have to resort to photographing what I want to paint because I don't know how well received a plein air painter might be in the middle of Royal Oak or ssome other locale. I wonder if I should check with local authorities first... Does anyone have any input on this matter? I'd appreciate advice.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Maui Back to Michigan

Okay...I've been back almost a week. Maui was wonderful, of course. How can it not be?! It's Maui! Anyway, I want to post my paintings. I had expected to produce more, but it was Maui! I mean, after all... I wanted to be out in the sun, seeing and doing things. Which I did. Which was good. I took an enormous amount of photos - I figured I can always use them for reference to create paintings back here in Michigan. I only did one plein air painting. I know... I should have done more... but I was seeing and doing things! I followed the Maui Invitational Plein Air Painters around the island here and there and watched them paint. That was interesting and educational.

Oh! And I did get to indulge in my other obsession - gardening! Do you have any idea how wonderful it felt to pull weeds and plant plants in February?! (Is my Michigan winter withdrawal showing?) It was wonderful! Sun, soil and willing hands - love to pull those weeds!

But I digress, back to my artwork. I had mailed my paints ahead so I wouldn't have to deal with airport security. Eventhough the paints were water-soluable oil paints, I didn't want to take the chance of them being taken from me. I also brought along a half box French easel, canvases in various sizes, pads of watercolor paper, drawing paper, watercolors, pencils, brushes - everything I could possibly think that I might want to dabble with while in Maui. The beautiful part of all this schlepping of supplies is that because my brothers live in Maui, I only brought back my brushes and pencils! Everything else stayed so that the next time I go, I only have to pack my brushes and pencils :) I really only had to buy the medium for the oil paints at the, and pretty much only artist supplies store on Maui, Upcountry Fine Art, a wonderful store/gallery in the town of Makawao, but, of course, I bought more paint, more colors. I mean, afterall, there were so many new colors... I had gone into the store so many times the first week I was there I started to worry the proprietress, Pamela (Aloha, Pamela!) was going to think I was stalking her!
I had never used the water-soluable oil paints before so I started out with a "test" painting:

"Rainbow Plumeria", 8" X 10", oil

My next painting was my plein air piece:

"Japanese Garden", 8" X 10", oil

The next two paintings are my beach paintings and they were the first experiments with palette knives:

"Wave Watchers", 12" X 12", oil

"Beach Buddha", 12" X 12", oil

The two beach paintings were a combination of brushwork and palette knives. The next one was done completely with palette knives:

"Lahaina Sunset", 8" X 16", oil

I have to admit, using the palette knives was a blast! I love the layering and texture I can achieve so I will definitely be exploring the technique more.

The final painting that I'm posting is the one I did for my brother's birthday, before I left. On my first trip to Maui, my other brother and I were out, on one of our photography adventures and we found this awesome, old truck on the side of the road. It had a "Free Truck" sign on it! When my other brother saw the the photo, he thought it was the coolest truck so this is the painting I did for him:

"Dano's Truck", 8" X 10", acrylic

So there you have it - the paintings I did in Maui. Along with the 1500 photographs I took, this is how I kept myself busy. Not a bad vacation from the snow, eh?