Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Penn Valley Park Plein Air Fest Experience - Part 2

Continued from Part 1.

Friday began with an overcast sky, but Kimberly and I chose to head out to the park early and wait for the dawn to develop. I set up overlooking the Penn Valley Park lake, facing north towards downtown.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
There was something interesting about the softness of the light, and I knew that when the sun finally appeared it would light the downtown skyline first, which could make for an interesting painting.

Blocking in. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The clouds hung on, and by the time the sun finally broke through, I had missed the light catching the downtown skyline. I decided to continue working, knowing that I would need to come back the following morning to recapture the drama of the early morning light.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The beginnings of my weekend sunburn. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Kimberly keeps me well supplied with coffee. I can't do this without her. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The end of the first session. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
That evening, the second quick paint competition began at 5pm. Kimberly even brought our dogs, Barney and Betty, along to enjoy the beautiful weather. We gathered at the Kansas City Firefighters Fountain. In 1988, six firefighters died suddenly in a huge explosion, and the community was spurred to support the campaign to create a memorial tribute to all firefighters. The fountain was created in 1991 by local sculptor Tom Corbin to pay tribute to the men and women of the city's firefighters and memorialize those who have given their lives in the line of duty. It features two bronze figures surrounded by 48 streams of water falling into an 80-foot wide basin.
I chose a view of the fountain from the eastern side, facing into the setting sun. This created a nice graphic shape framed in by the sky and the water. The sun was bright enough that I had to place the lid of my palette behind the canvas to prevent it from shining through the canvas.
You can see the strong graphic shape with the initial block in. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Breaking up the shape. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The sunburn continues. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
I always prefer music when I paint. Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The painting was coming together nicely, but I felt that the water streams were not dominant enough. I decided to apply paint with my palette knife, something I had never done before. This accomplished the effect I needed to get the movement of the water that I wanted. The spray around the streams was accomplished by lightly dragging the brush over the area and letting the texture of the surface pull the paint.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
The finished painting. Memorial Waters (oil on canvas, 16"x12"). Photo courtesy of Saunders Fine Arts.
I was satisfied with the piece at around 6:30, and chose to stop, once again worrying that I might overwork it. At 7pm, the whistle blew and all of the artist gathered around Phil Starke for the judging process. There were some excellent works, even better than the evening before. It was obvious that everyone was loosening up and hitting their strides. After a brief discussion about what makes a painting work (composition, darks and lights, technique, color), I'm proud to say that Phil chose my painting as the winner.
Phil Starke and I with a full on sunburn. Look at that red face.
Immediately following the judging, I went back to the Pioneer Mother Memorial. The sunset was beautiful at this time, so I wanted to finish up the painting I had begun Wednesday evening. It didn't take long, and I was able to sit and relax after a long day in the sun.




In tomorrow's post, I cover the final day of the event.