Saturday, October 23, 2010



is the title of this recent painting. I am the founding director of Plein Air for Camphill, a non-traditional plein air event that benefits a program for teens and young adults with special needs in the Phoenixville, PA area. There is one big day of art-making in August when the bulk of the fifty-odd invited artists come to one location and paint/draw/sculpt/carve/video (and visit and feast.) However, organizing artists is not really like herding cats, it is like herding FERAL cats! So I usually arrange a "pre-make-up" day for people who know in advance they can't make the big day and also a make-up day after the event. This painting was done at the pre-make-up day in June. It was squally weather, with streaming sun and gusty showers, clouds threatening or benevolent constantly racing across the sky! We went ahead and held the event despite the iffy weather.

I was too busy organizing to paint while people arrived and did their thing and had a communal lunch. After lunch the skies really went dark and all the other artists left. I stayed to talk to the school administrator, when suddenly the skies cleared. I'd already set up my painting gear and so I broke off the conversation abruptly and raced to my easel. I painted like mad for less than an hour. When rain started bouncing off the oil paint I knew my "window" had closed and I packed up and left. At the time I felt the piece was unfinished, and that maybe I'd do some touch-up back in the studio. But when I looked at it, a day or two later, it felt complete. I did nothing more than varnish it a few months later and put it in a frame. I was thrilled when it sold at the event reception, and to some well-known collectors too!
Sometimes it's good to be undecided.

Undecided Sky, 11 x 17 inches, oil on gessoed wood, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Foggy Day Tree

I went out painting today at Valley Forge. The plan was to meet up with another artist. When I arrived, to be honest, had I been by myself I would have called it quits after one look at the grey misty sky and one lash of the cold wet breeze. That's the beauty of partnership. There Liz was, already setting up to paint, so I stifled my misgivings and did likewise. And what a nice surprise!

I did not stay long because my hands became numb and my nose turned into a faucet, but I was really somewhat pleased with my efforts. Liz and I decided we'd try never to be deterred by weather, but to adopt "Just paint it!" as our motto. Or maybe "Just say no to not painting."? ;->

Foggy Day Tree, oil on linen, 8 x 10 inches