Plein Air Painting at the Art Festival

Granbury, Texas Victorian Home

Day Two of the Kennedale, Texas Art in the Park is in the books.  The day was successful on every level.  I completed two watercolor sketches of Victorian homes, using early plein air studies I had made.  The other painting I forgot to take out of my portfolio (it’s tucked inside my booth overnight).  The wind gusts exceeded 40 mph, making my booth act like a kite.  Fortunately everything is nailed, stapled, tied, wired or taped in place.  Nothing went anywhere.  Nothing flew.  Nothing broke.  Still the winds were a nuisance.  The conversations throughout the day were priceless.  Never before have I had so many friends, associates and patrons from former festivals come through my booth today.  Indeed, the chats made the twelve-hour day pass quite quickly.  Sales were excellent too (sold three original watercolors, in addition the reproductions, greeting cards, etc.)  And hopefully I’ve formed many new friendships.  Most of these people I would love to see again, and hope that that indeed will happen.

Oh yeah, the painting!  I did this one exclusively from a palm-sized Winsor & Newton watercolor field box.  I have grow to love this little piece of equipment, and keep re-ordering the cakes that get used up.  My palette thereby is extremely restricted, but I love the color schemes that come out of that restriction.  With all the interruptions that occurred throughout the day, I think it’s fair to say that I have about 45 minutes worth of painting put into this one, and I’m nearly ready to sign off on it.  I like the freshness of these quick sketches, and certainly like leaving some of the subject blank.

Another late night.  Another day of the show tomorrow.  To bed.

Thanks for reading.

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5 Responses to “Plein Air Painting at the Art Festival”

  1. lindahalcombfineart Says:

    Wow! I am amazed at how much you are able to accomplish with so little…so little time, so little paint, so little brush, and so little unbroken attention. Absolutely great!


  2. davidtripp Says:

    Thank you. I’ve spent much time recently lingering over the Edward Hopper watercolors. I still can’t touch him–he does so much less than I, and his work is so much fresher, so much better overall. It’s not frustrating, it’s fascinating–I just don’t get it. He sometimes has no more than a single wash for the entire gable end of a house, and the edges aren’t even straight or squared off–and it’s still enough. I’m really trying to pull back on all my editing, editing, editing and see if I can do better work with less on the page. Maybe today on the festival’s last day? We’ll see.


  3. lesliepaints Says:

    Excellent, David. Someday, I would like to have a tent and enter some street fairs. I have heard it is tiring, but sounds like it would be something to experience.
    The field box? Are you using colors that came with it or ones you chose?


  4. davidtripp Says:

    Hi Leslie,
    I could talk all day about the art festivals. Let me know if you have follow up questions. Yes, it’s tiring, but it’s another way to send your art work up the flag pole to see if people will salute. I collect plenty of names, addresses and emails in my guestbook and there are many who will follow you from show to show. I send out postcards to my mailing list before every show. Sometimes the sales are quite good and sometimes not. The set-up is exhausting indeed. The break down doesn’t seem as hard (maybe because we’re glad to be done?!).

    Field box. Dick Blick offers several different kinds of Winsor & Newton field boxes. I chose the one with the most colors I would use (I work from a severely restricted palette). I then re-order the cakes from Dick Blick that I use up. I have made several replacements–I immediately threw away the white, black, yellow ochre and (I think) a burnt umber or burnt sienna. I replaced with Sap Green, Quinachronine gold and Cobalt blue.

    I absolutely love the field box! It is palm-size and I can make a complete painting from it en plein air. Though I carry a tin full of watercolor tubes and a small butcher’s tray in my bag, I very very seldom draw them out to use en plein air. At a festival last year a female artist drew from her purse an Altoids tin, opened it, and showed me her Winsor & Newton watercolor cakes inside! It was just the right size, even smaller than mine.

    Thanks for writing! Good luck if you decide to do the festival circuit. I have cut back to about 6 per year now. That’s about all I care to handle.


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