Monday, September 27, 2010

Greenport and an Open Cockpit

First, an announcement. I am very happy to share with you that my painting “Oyster Bay Cove 2010” has been included in the FAV15% of entries in the September FineArtStudioOnline Bold Brush monthly competition. Translation: I am in the top 15% of all entries for the month of September. This marks the fourth time I have been recognized this year and the fifth time overall. My thanks to everyone at FASO for this much appreciated honor.

This past Saturday was my kind of day. The car is packed, Its 7AM, I’ve stopped for an egg sandwich at my favorite local deli and have pointed the plein air mobile to the east to participate in the second annual Greenport Maritime Plein Air Festival. This was a two day event but I was unable to attend on Friday. As the auction is Saturday at 6PM… well, let’s just say that the pressure is on to get something good on to the canvas. Time is short.

I’ve painted in Greenport a couple of times before (including this same event last year) and am always impressed by this picturesque village on the North Fork of Long Island. There is a lot to paint here but, if you know my tastes then you know that I like old boatyards. I think this has a lot to do with memories of time spent driving slowly through many marinas with my Dad so that he could enjoy looking at the boats. There is just such a yard in Greenport and I find myself there every time I visit. It’s my kind of place. “Out Of Commission” is an 11 X 14 oil on canvas and, I'm happy to say, did sell at auction on Saturday evening.

Sunday brought a different kind of adventure, an adventure sans brushes! My very old and very dear friend Mark Ranaldo who we have called Ope since we were children called recently and told me that he was of a mind to go flying. Not too far north of us is the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome where you can get a ride in an open cockpit biplane. I was a bachelor this past weekend and Ope announced that this was how I would be spending my Sunday. As it was his treat…

We arrived, signed in, got our safety briefing and, before I knew it I was flying at 1,000 feet over the eastern bank of the Hudson River in an open cockpit! What a thrill and what an amazing view of the surroundings. I don’t see myself as a competitive person but I did notice that, while I sat with my arms folded over my chest, a glance to my right found Ope hanging on to the fuselage with what I would best describe as a white knuckled grip! Despite this, upon landing and much to his credit, my old friend announced emphatically that he had not had enough and that we would be going up again. Immediately! So, Ope and I can scratch #1 off of our “Bucket List”. If you ever have the chance, give it a try. It makes for grand memories!

A friend of ours captioned this picture "The Wrong Brothers!"

Here comes our plane which is made of toothpicks and tissue paper!

I got this shot as we banked over the Aerodrome during our return approach. I am on the left side of the airplane and the left wingtip is pointing directly at the ground!

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.

Monday, September 20, 2010

An English sky. Anytime I see a lot of activity in the sky I always think to myself “an English sky!” like the kind that Constable, Stobart and Seago used to paint with such a great degree of mastery. Usually it is just wishful thinking on my part. However this past Saturday bought just that kind of sky and I grabbed my gear late in the afternoon to set out to paint it.

Because I live on the North Shore of Long Island, NY it is not too difficult to find an unobstructed view of the sky. It is an island and we are surrounded by water so that long flat horizons are easily come by. But there is one spot that I go back to again and again because it just says Long Island to me and this is the spot I chose to paint my sky from. I have painted here before and I will paint here again. The view means something to me. Near the end, when I was about to start packing up, the sun dropped below the clouds and caused all the boats in the harbor to positively glow. I was thankful to be there at that moment.

On Sunday I had the pleasure of teaching a one day workshop out at Caumsett State Park. Arranged by Lori Hochberg at The Village Artist in Huntington, NY, we had a nice sized group of people who were interested to learn. We also had great weather and I think a good time was had by all. Here are a couple of pictures from the event as well as my morning demo.Many thanks to Robin Pedersen for the progress shots.

A red monochromatic underpainting.

Getting in a little true color and value

Closing in on the finish

And here is the final painting which I call "Caumsett Top Light"

Following are a couple of shots of the students enjoying the day. At the moment they are enjoying themselves because I am taking pictures and not criticizing their work!

Three plein air painters in the field

Lisa sketching

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I have been painting a lot lately. Really, I have. What I have not been doing much lately is blogging about these adventures so allow me to catch up.

A week or two ago I took my rig with me as Jan and I made our annual trip to the Scottish Games at Old Westbury Manor. Jan’s brother Tim is the bass drummer in a Scottish pipe band and we go every year to hear his band as well as the others. We are also not averse to a pint or two! As you may have seen from some of my previous paintings I am a big fan of the shapes that those white 10” X 10” E-Z Up tents make and how they glow in the sunlight. My thanks to the folks from clan Campbell for letting me set up in their midst.

This past weekend was Labor Day weekend and I go out of my way on holiday weekends to seek out large American flags. Holiday weekends also frequently see large gatherings at the American Airpower Museum which is on the grounds of Republic Airport in Farmingdale, NY. On this particular weekend they were celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain and, to that end, had a number of aircraft from that era including this British Spitfire which because of its dark navy and white stripes just begged to be painted. Unfortunately, after I left, I learned that there was an elderly gentleman who had served as a German Luftwaffe pilot who was present signing copies of a book he had written about his experiences in a prison camp after being shot down at the Russian front. I would like to have met him. You can really feel the history at these gatherings. Many thanks to Steven Biegler for his kind permission to use his photograph here.

The humidity was low (for a change!) and I knew the light would be good in the evening so I set out for another favorite place to paint which is the Nature Conservancy’s Upland farm just outside of Cold Spring Harbor. I have painted this stand of trees before but do not tire of it. I was particularly pleased with the way the late day shadows seemed to gobble up the last of the summer of 2010.

I have a show coming up in November in Locust Valley, NY (where I live) and have been spending a lot of time doing small, local “cityscapes” in preparation for that show. Doing these “in town” pictures has gotten into my blood a bit and while this one isn’t in Locust Valley but rather Oyster Bay it is a good example of these kind of paintings that I’ve been doing. Painting in the middle of a busy town on a beautiful weekend afternoon presents its own unique challenges. Much to the chagrin of people looking for a place to park I found that my best point of view was from a parking space in front of a taco restaurant! Hey…I got there first!

Note that all of these small sketches are available for sale directly from me via this website. Simply click on the “Paintings and Prints” tab and then on “Available Paintings”. The price includes shipping costs.