Greg's Blog

trying to find out what's up?

 

 

Official website
Follow me on LinkedIn follow me on facebook tweet me
get in touch

Oh Mama, No Drama

October 1, 2015 by admin

You know what one of the things I like most about painting in plein air events around the country?

You, and people like you.

I love meeting other artists and people. (not always interchangeable) Visiting with them, painting, just hanging with other like minded people. I think it helps me grow in my art. I try to listen to what works for others, exchange ideas and stories. There is a lot of comradery going on at these things and I find it a blast.

I took part in a week long plein air event recently where I did just the opposite.

I’ve seen others do it, check in at the beginning and then not see them again till it was time to take home their awards and left over art. It was like they were never there, or were they? Why take part in an event with other artists if you are not going to hang out and socialize with the rest? Well, besides the awards, prize money, and glory?

Sure I know everyone is not sociable, and pretty much artists on the majority are recluses, hiding in their studios doing what they do best.

Kind of naive on my part to think that everyone should be out interacting and sharing their secrets with each other. Like art, there are all kinds, and that’s what it takes to make up this great world we live in.

I headed into this event just as happy as a lark, (bird, not cigarette) looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones. I signed up to take part in every single event I could, paint-outs, concerts, luncheons, it’s just what I do.

Then in pops a little “DRAMA“!

It made me rethink…

Road Trip NY Day 7 053crop

Eric & Walter at Paint Camp

 

Eric Rhodes is the Publisher of Plein Air, and Fine Arts Connoisseur Magazines, and also puts on an annual event in the Adirondacks called the “Publisher’s Invitational”. Affectionately known as “Paint Camp“. This takes place in a beautiful setting in upstate New York with no workshops, no demos, no competitions. It’s just 100 artists from across the nation getting together to paint and hang with others. It’s what I think Woodstock in 1969 was originally created for, but this for artists.

…and there is only one (1) rule: “NO DRAMA”! (save the drama for your paintings!)

What a great rule it is in my opinion. We come there to paint and visit with others, we don’t really need distractions from this. Don’t want it, don’t create it, don’t encourage it. They’ve even created a little song for this, and you can listen and see a bit about “paint camp” here, Click Here

What I did when this happened was reevaluate my “situation” and I said to myself, “self”, “let’s just hang out here at the ranch and paint”. I’ve never just gone to an event and “just painted”, but if I did this I would avoid any sort of “drama”. Would I get lonely, would I be able to paint as well as before? Who knows, but I really was not in any sort of mood for another confrontation from other “unlike” minded artists, so I hid out on the old Pilgrim Ranch in the heart of Chase County.

Well I must say it was quite different. I missed the interaction with others, actually an artist friend Mike Flora was staying at the ranch for another day or two, and then Louanne Hein, another friend came back to the ranch to paint one afternoon, but other than that I stayed pretty focused on looking for things to paint right where I was, knowing there were dozens of artists just minutes away painting beautiful scenery and munching on catered meals.

It was dawn to dusk painting for me, which is just the way I like it. Up before the sun with my easel hoping to catch some “dramatic” light,  paint through out the day, and ending as the sun runs it’s circuit across the big Kansas sky.

If you have a routine that you do when you travel, or even at the studio. Set up things the same way, put your paints in a certain order, wear your lucky hat. Anyway, what happens when that routine is disturbed? Can you still produce your best?

Moving On

Moving On

I’ve won “Best of” from the studio, and then out plein air with folks bending my ear, and now in the solitude of the land.

You cannot always avoid drama in your life, but if you find you can go around a puddle without getting wet, why not? There are times you don’t see that puddle ahead, but you can still be prepared, mentally and physically.

Then what about the good drama versus the bad drama. Surely you don’t want your life so stress free that you grow into a sedentary bump on a log. You need that balance as within everything else. Balanced diet, balanced exercise, balance in your paintings. Recognizing and acting to things as they come along and acting accordingly.

Can you do it? Can I do it? Why not?

Well it’s back to business as usual for me, as if I really know what that is.

It’s good to know that if I need to hold up and paint I can do it, and I will if and when it is the best solution for the situation, but it’s important I feel to be able to interact with others in order to be successful in this crazy world. There are a few artists who can hide from all and send their paintings out via secret courier to the galleries and don’t have to deal with the human or inhuman public…

Hold on to your hat

…but I’m a quirky plein air artist who likes people like you.

You make the world a much more interesting place to live in.

“Paint on!”

 

 

 

 

That One Place, 6

June 21, 2014 by admin

If there were one place you would like to go paint, where would that place be? I would have to think long and hard on that one, but for the artists from the “Hudson River Valley” one of the most widely painted locations was “The Flume” on the Ausable River.

No where close to the biggest or best waterfall in country, let alone the state, but it’s drop through the gorge is pretty spectacular.  Road Trip Day 6 026This was to be our second destination for the day, we started off going to “Heavens Hill” Farm in Lake Placid. An amazing beautiful farmstead with meadows, classic outbuildings and me what do I do? (No I did not paint the outhouse this time) I painted what looked like a little cabin nestled in the woods behind it. The light was hitting a little open field before it with a road winding up between the trees. It was made for me and my pallet.

There must have been  at least 50 artists painting the farm, with maybe 4 or 5 painting the cabin.

As soon as I finished I didn’t wait around for everyone else, I jumped into my paint-mobile and headed towards “The Flume”. I had programed the Longitude and Latitude  coordinates into my GPS the night before so I knew I would be fine finding the place.

I had no idea what the area was like, but if it were anything like “High Falls” on Tuesday the prime painting locations might quickly fill up, and I wanted me in one of those locations.

I didn’t need to worry, it’s a pretty long stretch of waterfalls, with good locations on both sides of the river. I hooked up with a couple other artists that were just getting there when I arrived and hiked the trails with them looking for a place to paint. Eric mentioned this to me that when heading out painting, should not go into hazardous territory alone. You never know what might happen, slip and fall, if you are alone you are out of luck. And seriously, my AT&T signal does not work in many places up here.

"Painting the Ausable River"

“Painting the Ausable River”

Found a place to paint that had a good view of the river, not the falls, but still a pretty scene with some nice granite walls around. The three of us were set up on a not so big granite boulder, so there was not a lot of backing up and looking at the paintings. Also the sun hitting the foaming water created a bright white glare that made it hard to see the painting well. After I had blocked in the piece I turned it a different direction and turned around to look at the scene when I thought I needed to.

As we painted we saw the influx of artists meandering in from the “Heavens Hill Farm” beginning to set up in strategic locations on both sides of the river.

Whew! Just in time.

When finished it was about 4:30 which gave us an hour to get back in time for supper. I packed up and began a hike up river along a trail. Here I passed up many a artist painting in various stages of completeness. As I climbed up river with my gear I came upon a giant granite slab high above the river with a perfect view of the gorge below Highway Road Trip Day 6 04686 bridge… and not a soul set up here painting. I thought it a great view, and I checked out my watch, 5:00. I know if I started a painting if I was quick enough I could get back in time before the chow hall closed at 7:30.

Well I did not travel half way across the continent to eat, let’s roll!

I whipped out my gear and was set up in what had to be record time for me. A smaller 14×11″ canvas for me this time. Things went pretty well, quickly blocking in, now lets get those values right!

I finished up about 6:15, packed up and hiked my way back to my car. 6:50 now. There was no way I could make it back in time for supper, I pretty much stopped at the 1st place I could find, delicious!

I know there is a lesson somewhere here to be learned but for the life of me I’m at a loss as to what it was.Road Trip Day 6 038

The rest of the night went quickly, I dropped off my 3 finished paintings in the “Great Room” which was getting very full of paintings. Then headed out to enjoy some S’Mores by a bon fire they were setting up.

Another good day with one more painting day in the Adirondacks left. Hope to make it the best.

We shall see.

Road Trip Day 6 059

Finding the Vista (day 5)

June 20, 2014 by admin
Portable shade

Portable shade

The Publishers Invitational is an artists “paint camp”, you just come and paint when ever, and whatever you want in what I’m finding is a very wonderful part of America. But Eric in the grand scheme of things knowing there are many who are not familiar with the area might need some ideas on where to go for some popular painting locations. Granted you could turn in almost every direction and find something to paint, but some have traveled thousands of miles and paid good money to take part.

Provided is a great newspaper size hand out. (newspaper size, but on quality paper mind you) with all sorts of locations to paint, plus organized groups of to go out to locations to paint. Myself being a newbie have been taking part in as many as possible… you know, “when in Rome…”

Today the morning locations was a high plains view of farm and valley with the backdrop of the Adirondacks. A bright sunny day, with the winds blowing just enough to keep the flying insect critters away.

I set up a handy canopy to shelter me from the sun. It’s a 8×12′ shelter made for tailgating, fits perfectly into a parking space. Easy to set up, and comes in a handy carrying case with wheels. ( would not take it too far from my car)

"To Norman Ridge we Go"

“To Norman Ridge we Go”

My focal point was a quaint barn in the middle ground with the mountains off in the distance.

After this piece I drove out to White Face Mountain to paint from the top, but the road was closed and off limits. I tried finding out

where the group had gone too, but couldn’t find them right off but I found a nice little farm that had a couple barns that caught my eye. I jumped out of my car and quickly began painting. The owners dropped by and

"A Thresher in DeBois"

“A Thresher in DeBois”

said some interesting things about the history of the buildings.

Snuck in for dinner 1 hour early and then headed to Lake Placid to paint. Someone was saying that there is an excellent view from up there but I could not find the expansive lookout scene I had in my mind, so I gave up my preconceived ideas and went with what was presenting itself. I was quickly running out of light, so I threw on a canvas and painted the late afternoon light as it was going down on high peaks to the Southeast along Adirondack Loj Road.

The day finished up by sitting up near the bar at Paul Smith with some of the other artists listening to maybe 10 artists who just so happened to bring along musical instruments to help wile away the hours. All good fun.

"Pronounced Loj"

“Pronounced Loj”

Sunshine Daydream: Day 4

June 19, 2014 by admin

If you would like to get “technical” today was the first “full” day at the “Plein Air Camp”. I slept great despite the dorm room that has what has to be a sleep number 110 or something. I am a definite 40. I must have been tired.

Heron Marsh Trail

Heron Marsh Trail

Maybe it’s like this on all campuses now-a-days, but you need to use your electronic key card 4 times to get from the entrance of the dorm building into your bedroom. Don’t forget to take it with you when you use the restroom! Silly me I had tossed it on the bed and then went to the bathroom, only to find I needed to call campus security to get back in. I now keep this card on me around my neck, even when I shower.

After breakfast there was a group photo taken and then all drove the short trip to the “VIC” to paint. This is part of the Paul Smith college I believe, but it’s 1,000’s of acres of woods and wetlands with beautiful vistas, and soft pine hiking trails darting through the park. I opted for a 1 mile hike along the Heron Marsh trail to the “Shingle Falls”. The view I was looking at was not what I had in mind, so I found a little scene close by, so I could still enjoy the sounds of the falls. A rock was nestled in the dark water with lillies and grass marshes about.

It had been raining all night, and with a slight threat to continue, but the sky was mostly gray and the light pretty consistent.

There were mosquitoes and flies about, but I was not bothered by that probably do to my sufficient dousing of the self with bug spray

High Falls Gorge

High Falls Gorge

and then a little clip on “OFF” bug repellent that works great! Folks have been warning me of the vicious “black fly” and I have fortunately not come into contact with it, or them.

I was very happy with this painting, and will post sometime. I believe I called it “It does make a Sound”.

After lunch was an hour trip to “High Falls Gorge” it’s about a waterfall with a 700′ drop. This is about 3 miles from the Canadian border. It was quite the hike down the 250+ stairs. It was worth the trip, though it was hard to see with all the artists there painting. It was a good thing it was 700 feet tall! This painting I did here was “Down in Front”.

Drove back just in time for dinner (Mom & Dad would call it supper) and afterwards I had time to join a few people on the edge of the lake and painted the late afternoon across the lake.

Cool thing about all this is seeing all of the other artists and how they approach their subject, and then there “plein air setup”. Everyone’s is somewhat unique to themselves, or so it seemed.

All the paintings for the day by all the artists are gathered together in a room for everyone to see. There is no hierarchy to this event, all artists are created… I mean, treated equal. But some of the more famous ones do have their names “dropped” more often than others.

I blew out a heel in one of my hiking boots today, something that is going to take a cobbler to fix… is there a cobbler in the house? I bet so.

Up with the Joneses

Up with the Joneses

Sunshine Daydream: Day 1

June 16, 2014 by admin

Well I’ve started the little contest on guessing the final mileage of my road trip, I figure why just go half the way? I’m blogging about

"honey do's"

“honey do’s”

who knows what anyway, it might as well be the road trip.

It officially got going today, though there has been much leading up to the trip that really shouldn’t go without mention. If you are going to be gone from home for a length of time, there is a lot of “honey-do’s” that need to be done. Actually if you could do some extra special things around the house that would help your ever dwindling stock value.

Buying supplies is another thing. In many of my destinations there won’t be art supply stores around so “stock up” while you can. Hopefully you’ve been using those coupons at your local art supply store wisely!

When you have a sweetheart that is as supportive of me as my lovely wife is, you do not take things for granted. It’s hard to be happy if your spouse isn’t, so this is #1 in any and every case, at home or going

Love you, I won't be long.

Love you, I won’t be long.

abroad.

My “paint-mobile”, a 2003 minivan is my vehicle of choice. I believe it was a couple years ago I replaced the engine in it after a road trip, and last year replaced most of the front end. This year I’m hoping all that pays off. One never wants the distraction of auto failure to take away from your journey. You’ve got plenty enough to think about, do NOT need to worry whether the tire will fall off, or that hiccuping engine means much of anything.

I loaded my van up with paints, brushes, canvases and frames. I know I will not come close to using all of these canvases in this trip, but I believe it is better to have too many in this case, than not enough.

83 canvases, 5lbs of trail mix

83 canvases, 5lbs of trail mix

I packed 83 canvases of various sizes into my paint-mobile for my mission!

I arranged everything in a manner that was easy to get to, my 5lb bag of varies trail mixes courtesy of Susie and my thoughtful son Miles, Ipods, GPS, notepad… I’m good to go.

“By Suz”, I’ll keep in touch, without texting and driving of course. (this is frowned upon in many circles I hear)

…and I’m off!

There we go! Driving in most cases is uneventful, and that is pretty much how we want that part to be. I did see an armadillo on I-70 between Blackwater and Rocheport, Missouri. I didn’t think they had come this far North, but surprise surprise.

I love cruising the highways with the windows down and the  music turned up. Just something about it, doesn’t matter the

my F-4 phantom cockpit

my F-4 phantom cockpit

temperature, if it’s above 70 I’ve got the wind blasting through the paint-machine along with my tunes.

There are periods where I turn the music completely off and just observe, think, ponder. Not ponder as much as Joseph Loganbill, but I do have my moments. I spend a good amount of hours just trying to figure out what color something is, and how in the world could I make it out of my 4 tubes of paint.

I have my note pad attached to the dashboard for notes on focal points, and values… don’t forget to think “simple!” This I always forget.

Well, so much for the 1st day. No painting, but I did get to a good starting point for day 2. It’s a long trip, I hope to post daily. Maybe I will, if I don’t it could be I’ve run off the road and the paint-mobile is in the fork of a red oak tree, or maybe I’ve been sequestered by the king of plein air himself and requested not to disclose the secret handshake to anyone, or I maybe just too tired from another day of working in the fields and forests.

Thanks for listening, now get out and paint a picture… pass it on!

Going Where the Wind Goes

Going Where the Wind Goes

 

back to top