Sunday, April 22, 2012

Painting The Delaware

Yesterday was one of the best days of the year so far weather wise and especially for painting, and with the need to finish a few more paintings for the ASE at PAFA the DPC hit the banks of the Delaware River to catch some sun and paint us a river. It was a mini-DPC group, just Lexi and myself this time, so it was a Mini-Palette meeting--but all the same rules applied---paint, paint, paint.

One of the things you find out while trying to get to the river in philly to paint, especially if you want to paint old piers and such is that they are not that easy to get to. So many places are blocked off or fenced or basically behind signs that say "No Nrespassing". But last year I found a spot and this is the place we went to. We walked out onto one of the long ago abandoned piers and found a cool spot. It seems like many people have been there for fishing and partying because there was tons of trash, fish hooks and broken glass.

There were so many great views here to paint I know we'll go back, here you can see the city a short distance away.
Lexi decided to bring acrylics this time as they have a lot less cleanup and maintenance involved, I brought my new French easel I got for my birthday last year. I knew it might be windy and so I spent time really making sure the painting was locked onto the easel. The weather report said thunderstorms by the afternoon so I knew the weather could change fast. At certain points the wind did gust up and I had to use my mall stick, a nice fat dowel of wood and hold down the easel and painting with my left arm--and paint with my right. It was a real battle a couple of times to keep the whole rig from blowing into the river.
Usually when doing a plien air painting I do a smaller painting, say 12x 16 or smaller, but this time I went for broke and used a canvas I made myself which was 13.5 x 39, so I'd have a nice panorama. Of course even though this was my biggest plien air so far, it still pales in size to some of the plien air paintings by Redfield or Garber.
To speed up the blocking in I brought along my speedball roller which was great for quickly massing in the big shapes--it's also great for textures as well.
As usual while out painting we had visitors and the curious onlooker come by to see what we were doing and what we are up to, this time it was a little different, we had a few fishermen and some families come through, but we also had the crew of the tub boat Virginia come by and moor right next to us as the crew wanted to go into the Wallmart that was right behind us.
The captain of the ship spent a fair amount of time talking to Lexi as she painted away, even giving her some flowers---awww. I just painted away racing the sun and fighting the wind as I knew any minute that thunderstorm could rear up...
Lexi paints away, emploring some ideas and approaches she go while taking a workshop with Ken Kewely last week.
A shot of my painting as it progressed. I was really trying to push shapes and not get seduced by details and thinking a lot about Levitan, Sargent and Sorolla and how they so beautifully took in nature and then designed it. There is so much they altered, changed or took out in their paintings. I kept saying to myself, "what does the painting need", "Keep it loose and big as long as possible".
A pic of me nearing the end of our painting day as the sun had now shifted a lot.
Here is lexi's wonderful painting, really great color and design!
Here is my finished painting, I made a few touches in the studio and scraped off a couple of bugs. I am pretty happy with this painting and it was great to get out of the studio after being basically a studio painter for the last few months, I really want to spend as much time painting outside as I can now that the better weather is here.