Posts Tagged ‘Eureka Springs School of the Arts’

Beaver Bluffs Sketch

May 24, 2016

Beavers Bluff

Bosh! Stephen said rudely. A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery.

James Joyce, Ulysses

Breaking down the weekend festival on Sunday night made rising early Monday to drive six hours to Eureka Springs an arduous task.  I’m glad that I had no responsibilities when I arrived late on Monday. My first working day in Eureka Springs today involved a drive out of town to find Beaver Bluffs. I’ll be conducting my first workshop on these premises tomorrow afternoon. The directions given were good, and a stiff hike around the lake brought me face to face with towering bluffs and cedars shooting out of their crowns.  I still haven’t solved the problem of watercoloring cedar trees, and I so love their appearance.  The colors elude me as do the foliage patterns, though I feel I am getting the hang of the colors of the twisted trunks and branches. The striations in the rocky surfaces below the cedars revealed some interesting compositional patterns, and I was sorry I didn’t have time for a second one today.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll get a second shot at this scene, either before or after the workshop.

It has been a long day, and tomorrow will be longer, so I must call it a night.

Thanks for reading.

Another Video of One of my Past Workshops

February 9, 2016

Sorry to be on such a posting rampage tonight! In searching through my files, I just now came across this video that I had forgotten, produced several years ago to advertise one of my workshops conducted for the Eureka Springs School of the Arts. I will be teaching a plein air workshop for them later in May of this year. Details will be released later. I love this video, and hope you will enjoy it as well.

Plein Air Gathering around Harding Spring

June 20, 2013
Landscape Enveloping Harding Spring

Landscape Enveloping Harding Spring

Geometry is our greatest creation and we are enthralled by it. . .  Man has drawn himself up like a giant, he has forged himself a tool.  He no longer works with his hands.  His spirit gives the order.  He has delegated to the machine the work of his clumsy and unskillful hands.  Freed, his spirit works freely.  On square paper he dreams.  

Le Corbusier

Rising early this morning, I was again greeted by the beautiful, warm sunshine of Eureka Springs.  Sitting on the terrace, I found fascinating ideas from a biography I’m reading on Le Corbusier.  As this young architect moved dialectically between natural forms and geometry, I was inspired to approach the Harding Springs and look at the Greek column and krater sitting in all their geometric stillness in the enveloping embrace of those beautiful shrubs, backed by the looming cliff, Lover’s Leap.

Painter at Harding Spring

Painter at Harding Spring

Painter at Harding Spring

Painter at Harding Spring

The Plein Air Workshop group arrived early and set up immediately, choosing their compositions around Harding Spring.

Jean's Rendering of a Neighboring Business

Jean’s Rendering of a Neighboring Business

Sitting in the midst of Harding Spring, Jean peered through the landscaping and across the street at a local business.  She decided to build a composition contrasting nature with architecture, flowers over against a stone building.  As she worked on this watercolor, she continued to build contrasting darks and lights, warm and cool colors between the building, the shadows and the flower beds.

Debbie's Plein Air Rendering of Lover's Leap

Debbie’s Plein Air Rendering of Lover’s Leap

After focusing on architectural rendering for two days, Debbie today decided to work with nature exclusively, hoping to keep it loose and Impressionistic this time.  She ended up with this Cezannesque-looking watercolor of Lover’s Leap at Harding Spring.  I was fascinated with her contrasts of warm and cool colors threading through the foliage and rock facade, much as Cezanne composed in his studies of Mont Sainte-Victoire.  At the end, she decided to go ahead and include the man-made railing at the top of the bluff.

Barbara's Plein Air Interpretaion of Lover's Leap

Barbara’s Plein Air Interpretaion of Lover’s Leap

Barbara was fascinated with the foundation stones and Greek monument along with the bluff and trees in this setting.  She worked feverishly on contrasting colors, seeking ways to make the bluff, tree trunks and monument emerge from the composition to take center stage.  On the rock facade, she experimented with a number of techniques until she came up with this satifsfying compositional conclusion.

I have only tomorrow morning left to spend with this class, and I miss them already.  Their daily enthusiasm was contagious, and I could not help catching their fever.  I cannot wait to see them in the morning, knowing their daily company has changed me profoundly as an artist, affirmed me as a teacher, and given me a new sense of vision in the pursuit of the arts.  My thanks goes out to all of them, and to all of you who take the time to read my daily musings.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

The Joy of “Pushing Through”–Plein Air Painting in Eureka Springs

June 19, 2013
Plein Air Watercolor Sketch Attempt on Wednesday

Plein Air Watercolor Sketch Attempt on Wednesday

What we need is more sense of the wonder of life and less of this business of making a picture.  Your painting is the marking of your progression into nature, a sensation of something you see way beyond the two pretty colors over there.  Don’t stop to paint the material, but push on to give the spirit.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

We laughed together over lunch, saying this was “hump day” and therefore the hardest part of the five-day workshop.  Then we returned to the field to prove ourselves wrong.  The day reached 90 degrees, and was high in humidity, but we managed to stay in the shaded areas, for the most part, and doggedly pursued the compositions we had carved out of the neighborhood on Summit Street in the upper Eureka Springs historic district.  At the end of the day, we were tired, sweaty, thirsty, but satisfied that we managed to turn yet another corner in our watercolor pursuits, and learn a few more lessons in composition.

Pictured above is the sketch I picked over intermittently throughout the day, of a twin-gabled bed and breakfast I found very attractive.  I tried my best to stay attentive to what the workshop participants needed, and covered about a fifty-yard area to walk back-and-forth between them.  I never managed to get the yellows the way I wanted them on the gables of the house, but enjoyed working the green trim and the beautiful landscaping out front.

Completion of Barbara's Tuesday Watercolor

Completion of Barbara’s Tuesday Watercolor

Barbara spent a great deal of time Tuesday drawing out this composition, and had barely begun the painting of it when it was time to quit.  I photographed and posted last night what she had completed up to that point. Today she returned to enrich the tree, cast shadows on the house, re-work the wooden siding of the house, and add more texturing to the roof.  The lavender and rose hues she used to dapple the shadows on the siding have given the painting an exquisite look.

Beginning of Barbara's Wednesday painting

Beginning of Barbara’s Wednesday painting

With the time remaining, Barbara drew this composition in very carefully, then re-worked it in ink to keep from smearing the graphite all over the page.  There was little time remaining for the actual painting, but she knows there is still tomorrow and Friday to complete it.

Debbie's Wednesday Watercolor

Debbie’s Wednesday Watercolor

After putting some finishing details to the watercolor she created yesterday, Debbie went after this composition with a keen sense of purpose.  Already in her mind’s eye, she knew what she wanted from this composition–to place this sharply detailed house against a backdrop of out-of-focus, wet-on-wet foliage.  She also knew she wanted to masque the picket fence and drybrush vigorously about it, remove the masque, and then render in pencil the separation of the uprights from the horizontals.  Everything worked.  Dissatisfied with the foreground tree being too dense, she used an x-acto knife to scrape white reflective areas into the leaves to create a sense of liveliness.  That also worked.  Everything she set out to accomplish, she did, and managed to finish in one day.

Debbie's Tuesday painting, finished Wednesday

Debbie’s Tuesday painting, finished Wednesday

The only thing left for Debbie to complete on this composition was heightening the contrast between the flag, the pillars, and the intricate modeling near the roof.  She also warmed up the upper right-hand corner of the composition with Winsor & Newton Transparent Yellow.

Jean's Wednesday Watercolor

Jean’s Wednesday Watercolor

Jean was immediately attached to this stone wall and gravel lot fronting a rich backdrop of foliage.  Her interest focused on the blue planter and lantern perched on the pillar.  Most of her experimentation of the day was given to the texturing of the rock wall and pea gravel on the parking lot.  Her final touch was the darkening of the background foliage.  Everything worked for her today.

I cannot say with honesty that I was happy with my own work today, but then again, I didn’t really concentrate too much on it.  In between offering of guidance to the other participants’ works in progress, I took some stabs at my own plein air sketch.  But my dissatisfaction with my own piece doesn’t matter.  My heart overflows with joy, looking at what the class cranked out on this successful “hump day.”  I believe that all of them felt a sense of accomplishment, a sense of “pushing through” the appearance of what was in front of them, and creating a legitimate painting from their own unique vision.  And that makes my heart swell with joy this evening.

Thanks always for reading.  These are good times at Eureka Springs.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

First Day “In the Field” at Eureka Springs

June 18, 2013
Second Day Plein Air Demonstration

Second Day Plein Air Demonstration

People have not looked largely at life, mainly because our education drowns us in detail.

Robert Henri, The Art Spirit

I awoke long before the alarm this morning, spent about two hours, enjoying coffee, leisurely reading and thinking on this beautiful terrace at my Eureka Springs lodging, then met my class at a residence on Summit Street.  We found beautiful compositions in every direction we looked.  I chose a vantage point from a balcony of the residence and looked down across the street onto this lovely house, and did this quick plein air sketch in two stages–first to get the students primed to begin an architectural composition, and then second to record some accents and details.  I opened this post with the Henri quote because I thought it ironic that I was in class again, having been out of school barely more than a week.  But at the same time, I felt that I was not drowning these eager painters in details.  Rather I was trying to incite them to paint more decisively, more confidently.  How wonderful to attend a school without walls, to paint without restrictions, to walk out into the surrounding neighborhoods and carve out compositions to capture in watercolor sketches.  I feel as though I have turned back the clock a couple of decades on my life.  Today was even better than yesterday, and the students have really picked me up.  I cannot wait to see what they do tomorrow.

Below are three student paintings begun on this first real day in the field:

Beginning of a flag composition at the front of the house

Beginning of a flag composition at the front of the house

 

Facade of house across street, looking down from balcony

Facade of house across street, looking down from balcony

 

Side View of House we Visited

Side View of House we Visited

Tomorrow we’ll return to the same location to finish up work begun today, and begin new work across the street where we have been welcomed to another residential site.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

Greetings From the Eureka Springs School of the Arts

June 17, 2013
Eureka Springs School of the Arts

aEureka Springs School of the Arts

To see far is one thing: going there is another.

Constantin Brancusi

The first day of my Plein Air Watercolor Workshop is in the books, and I feel that I have crossed over into a new frontier.  All my students thrived today in our introductory session, and frankly, I am not used to that.  I am sitting in a daze on the back terrace of the beautiful Anderson Suites in Eureka Springs, staring across the gorge through a downpour that is cooling the trees  before me, enjoying my coffee, and recalling every rich experience I knew today as I watched a very eager group of participants engage in plein air watercolor exploration.  The questions were genuine, the enthusiasm was contagious, and every participant seemed to finish better than she began this morning.

Below is the terrain we witnessed as we looked out the open front door and through the large studio windows of our school.  After I completed a short demonstration of watercolor techniques and tricks, the participants began to compose their initial watercolor sketches of the natural outdoors.

View out the front door of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts

View out the front door of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts

Plein Air Painter Engaged in a Watercolor Sketch

Plein Air Painter Engaged in a Watercolor Sketch

The eager painters went after their compositions in a hurry, and the six-hour session flew by.

None of the above sketches were completed before I photographed them.  Tomorrow I’ll update them, and show the new work as well.  We spent the entire day today at the Scool of the Arts studio.  Tomorrow we will gather in historic Eureka Springs and paint the exotic subjects found on site.

Brancusi nailed is when he wrote: “To see far is one thing: going there is another.”  I feel that the new acquaintances I made today in the studio have helped me go further than I ever have before in the community of plein air painting.  I can hardly wait to greet the morning.

Thanks for reading.

I paint in order to remember.

I journal because I feel that I am alone.

I blog to remind myself that I am not alone.

 

Plein Air Workshop with David Tripp

June 8, 2013

Plein Air Workshop with David Tripp.

Yesterday, not knowing how to post this video, I posted the link.  I hope, this time, that the actual video is loaded for anyone interested to view.  The Eureka Springs School of the Arts was gracious enough to put it together, and I’m extremely proud to share it.

Eureka Springs School of the Arts (http://essa-art.org/) has provided for me the most perfect plein air workshop environment I have ever known.  This is the fourth year I’ve been afforded the chance to teach the five-day workshop which  is scheduled to begin one week from Monday, June 17.  We still have availability, and if anyone reading this has any interest in painting a mountain Victorian town replete with 19th-century architecture, cliffs, flowerbeds, quaint store facades, and the most lovely sunlight available, then please sign up and come spend a week with me.  I guarantee an experience you’ll never forget.

New Video Advertising My Plein Air Workshop at Eureka Springs School of the Arts

June 7, 2013

http://animoto.com/play/nJMrjlJBDPsiQFEYrBN5FQ

Eureka Springs School of the Arts has just released this promotional video of my scheduled one-week plein air watercolor workshop beginning June 17.

My Watercolor Featured on new Eureka Springs School of the Arts T-Shirt

December 1, 2012
Eureka Springs School of the Arts

Eureka Springs School of the Arts

Several months ago, I was moved deeply at the words of a beautiful letter from the President of the Board of the Eureka Springs School of the Arts.  She was expressing admiration for the watercolor above that she now owns, and was asking me in the letter if I had objections to its being used on a T-Shirt promoting the School.  Of course I had no objections; I was honored that they would use the image.

Today, after a spectacular afternoon spent in the Tyler Museum of Art perusing the Wyeth exhibit, I came home on a natural high, ready to re-enter the studio and see if I could turn out anything decent with my watercolor efforts.  In the mailbox, I found a package containing this T-Shirt.  I am wearing it proudly this evening, and delight in this opportunity to show it to you.

Thanks for reading.

Plein Air Watercolor of a Eureka Springs House in the Evening

September 7, 2012

Eureka Springs House in the Evening

Here is a small plein air watercolor I did after my first class at the Eureka Springs School of the Arts last summer.  I only had an hour to get it done, as the late afternoon sunlight was waning, and seemed to linger on this house just long enough for me to finish it.  I’ll never forget the fun I had, as tourists continued to stop and look over my shoulder to see what I was doing out on that public sidewalk.  Eureka Springs has always been a fun place to paint in public.

I just finished putting this in a matte and shinkwrap bag and am glad to add it to my festival inventory next week.  I think I’ll put a $125 price on it.  The image is 8 x 10″ and is inserted in an 11 x 14″ white matte.

Thanks for reading.