Thursday, May 28, 2009


Today was the first official gathering of the DPC for our summer sessions and we decided to take it on the road, or down to the river as it were. I met the gang at school and we trucked on down the a park along the Delaware River to do some Plien Air landscapes. The painting above was done in 2-3 hours, 9 x 12 on Fredrick's canvas board.
The subject was this abandoned power plant looking place, or as I call such buildings, "Joker hideouts" as they look like the type of building a super-villain always uses as a hideout.

The sky grew quickly almost totally cloudy as we set up and a stiff wind started blowing in off of the Delaware so we all had to make sure our canvases were really secured or they would have sailed right into the drink. I set up a pretty limited palette based on the colors I saw and set straight to blocking the painting in. The park was still full of families and people walking or riding around and fishing. No sooner had I started to rough in the painting that I was quickly set upon by curious on-lookers, and a few, particularly this one couple, was pretty drunk. The lady was reallllly interested in what I was doing and pestered me with many questions, her male companion was much more respectful and tried to keep her off of me telling her "let the man concentrate and do his business."

Then they noticed Will and Dave and set about to observer and art direct them and give lots of advice. the lady kept coming back and telling me I was "winning", that my painting was so much better. She'd leave and come back all evening as we painted. A few other curious people would come by but they were always much more respectful. Every time i have painted out publicly I have been set upon by the curious on-looker, I suppose people just never see anyone painting beside Bob Ross on TV.

The wind really started blowing and the paint started really setting up, drying fast and getting stiff along with my arms and hands. it must have dropped a good 15-20 degrees by the water really quick as the front went through.
Dave and Will joking around as they set up.
Dave's rough-in.

Here is the drunken lady who pestered me all afternoon pestering Will and giving him advice on how to make his painting better.
Will's painting in progress, I'm sure the pointers from the Budwiser Art Critic really helped.
Dave's painting in progress.

In the end we had a good time, my painting turned out Ok, the light did change from partly sunny to mostly cloudy, but I just put down what I had and stayed with it instead of chasing the light. At about 6:30-7 we decided to pack it up as we were all pretty cold, my arms and hands were like an arthritic old man from being blasted by that cold wind. It got so cold even the drunken art fans left. For the end of May it felt more like November.

We topped off our first outing with dinner at Silk City Diner. It was a good day and next week we plan to do another plien air expedition.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Meeting 14-Semester's End

Well the Spring sememster at school has come to it's flaming end, it just blew right by, each week seemigly faster than the last. In the last few weeks between freelance, school work and the weather it really wasn'y possible for us to hold our weekly meetings as a group. But once the sememster ended we DPCers decided to hold our second annual group critique.

We did this lasts semester where we put up a bunch of our work and gave each other a good crit on the semester's progress. Often we feel a bit slighted in our regular end of semester class crits because they really tend to be group crits at school, and in my experience that means the crit is way too long and not very useful. Honestly, I prefer the teacher to give me a critique, not my peers who often just don't give me much useful to use, or even make any comments at all about my work and besides I paying for the teacher's imput and knowledge, not my peers. In the two years at Pafa so far I find that the group crit to be a waste of time, as a teacher i understand why you want to do it, but so often the energy just drags and the process leaves most feeling boared and watching the clock. The tracks I am in seem to also have a lot of very quite or shy types who don't have much to say anyway. I know the other DPC members feel the same way, so we decided to give ourselves a really good crit, the one we really wished we got.
We set up in studio 1021 and piled our work up on the easels. I have to say it's very encouraging to see so much work lined up. I didn't have as much as the other members as I had already taken a lot of work home when I cleaned out my locker.

Being honest with your friends is important and taking a crit is usually looked at as a negative process by many when in fact it's a great thing. It's a way to learn what's working and what's not--and possible solutions to improving what's not. I think all of us shared a great deal of frustration this semester and really look forward to getting into the studio at school to do our own thing.

To be frank, I had a very mixed semester myself. I know I grew as a painter but I found much of the process to be frustrating and disjointed at times. There were some classes I just felt could have been more intense and better organized. Freelance was brutal at times too, the balance was harsh. But I can't use that as an excuse for any failings on my end. The bottom line is whether I have made progress, and I have, though I admit, I have a bad case of Second Year itch. Now with the summer here I know I look forward to just doing my own thing and painting and I am really looking forward to drawing an painting a lot with the DPC and on my own. Having a great group of friends on the same path as you makes the journey a better experience.