Saturday, October 23, 2010

RACING CLOUDS



UNDECIDED SKY

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

18 comments:

Chibi Janine said...

I think you were right to leave it as it was, it has a sense of urgency to the clouds that makes you quicken your pace to get home before the heavens open that sense of urgency is also portrayed in your brush strokes.

I like your description of artist LOL

justdoodleit said...

Very impressionistic...glad you didn't rework...this captures the fleeting clouds rather well.

Vilt og vakkert said...

HEISANN!
A great artwork ;:OD)

Vilt og vakkert said...

HEISANN!
A great artwork ;:OD)

Ellen Byrne said...

Beautiful!

Fred said...

I have plein air envy, beautiful work. I need to get out and paint more.

Nur said...

it is not easy to know when to stop... but I guess that often, the earlier the better! :-)

AscenderRisesAbove said...

These paintings are amazing! I love the lonely tree below the most
(I wasnt sure - did you wish to join in on the paint by number exchange? low stress; and if you need I can change the deadline?)

C├ęcile said...

Beautiful work!

Claudio Cerri said...

Good paint!

Vicki Smith said...

Lovely landscape. What an ambitious undertaking on your part!

Marie Campbell said...

Wow, those clouds are really getting swept across the sky, so powerful.

robert Oh! said...

Very good idea. and very good painting!
congratulations!

AscenderRisesAbove said...

Looking forward to the exchange! It took a long time for my Paint By Number to arrive so I extended the deadline: Deadline to sign up: December 1, 2010. Deadline to mail out March 31st, 2011. Hope that works for you as well? Jacque
http://ascenderrisesabove.com/?p=10787

nello said...

this is really lovely - the lighting is great, i like how it helps convey the changing sky.

dthaase said...

powerful piece - great story

nessadee said...

Beautiful piece! I love the chunky brushstrokes.

Alina Chau said...

beautiful painting!!