Thursday, November 26, 2015

ANOTHER BRIDGE

I'm looking through my plein air work for four entries to send to this year's Plein Air Southwest Salon. This is my small plein air study done for a larger painting that sold earlier this year. Seems like when I have to look back at my paintings for something that I feel would make a good entry, everything looks inadequate. After a good number of years painting, I understand this feeling. If you're continually painting and trying to improve, what was previously acceptable to us may appear sadly lacking in retrospect. A lot of painters go through periodic episodes of thinking, "What ever made me think I could paint?". It usually happens at the end of a cycle of focused work on improving weaknesses in what we do. The focused effort eventually produces growth and positive results.  

Sometimes we refer to this "breakthrough" as moving up to a new plateau. We can see, and understand things we previously over-looked or that frustrated us. There's always the next "plateau", and the struggle to overcome weaknesses we are painfully aware of. What we see in our mind is always ahead of what we see on our canvas, and there's always the next bridge to cross. For this reason, selecting paintings to enter in an up-coming exhibit or competition can at times be frustrating. It's good to remember that we painters are a work in progress, and our past work doesn't define our future success. Painting requires doing a lot of "bad" paintings in order to get closer to where we want to go. Continually clarifying for ourselves what we're trying to do and where we want to go is what builds the bridges.

WALKING BRIDGE
©Jimmy Longacre 2015
8x10 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Friday, November 6, 2015

AN EXTRAORDINARY PLEIN AIR DVD by Jason Sacran


I usually think of plein air painting in terms of capturing a particular effect of light or time of day, and I guess that’s fine, but a new plein air instructional video by Jason Sacran (suh-crahn) entitled “Painting The Effects of Late Light” has opened my thinking to new poetic painting possibilities.  Most of you are familiar with Jason’s paintings, as he has been winning major plein air events across the country for the last few years, so a chance to watch him paint and talk about his approach would be a treat for any of us.  But, something very interesting happens in this video.  Something unplanned.

In the making of the video, Jason set out to demonstrate for us how he captures the charm and opportunities of a subject in late afternoon light.  However, in the process of filming the video, he was confronted with a radical shift in light.  His painting had begun on a late sunny afternoon, with the subject in bright, warm, slanting light.  But, as plein air painters know, the light can sometimes change dramatically on the way to a finish.  With the lay-in completed, and preparing for the finish, the sky became overcast, values and color harmonies shifted, shapes changed!  The extraordinary thing is that instead of panicking, and abandoning the project, Jason decides to walk the tight-rope for us!  He quietly explains how he will try to finish the painting, adapting his approach to integrate and make use of the changes.  The finished painting is a skillfully harmonized statement, wrought from the artist’s will to create a beautiful record of his experience.

Besides being a useful and informative presentation of one artist’s skill and methods, Jason’s video records the unplanned, on-the-spot reaction to a problem every plein air painter faces at some time.  Want to be inspired and encouraged to get out and grow your own painting skill?  Check out Jason’s video HERE.   


Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX

Thursday, November 5, 2015

PERSIST, ADAPT, AND OVERCOME!

I've been traveling to teach workshops, and just returned from a week-long event in San Angelo, Texas.  The second annual En Plein Air Texas competition.  Thirty-five painters were invited to compete, and the organizers have incorporated all that's fun and good about taking part in these events:  the locations, hospitality, promotion, opportunities to meet the public and art collectors, and a field of very talented painters.

NOON SHADOWS was my first painting of the week.  Actually, it was the second.  Monday morning was unexpectedly cold.  After finding a very nice subject, I enthusiastically set-up to paint…standing under the shade of a giant tree in a stiff and continual breeze.  After two and a half ours of struggling to paint with stiff fingers, shivers and a runny-nose, I scraped the canvas down and wiped it off.  Great start for a painting competition! As I sullenly loaded up my gear, I vowed to my canvas panel that I would make good use of it before the day was over.  I needed to get back in the saddle, or this cowboy's confidence would be crushed.

Right after eating my lunch-sandwich and cookie, I set-up my easel and panel in the sun, on the banks of the Concho River and challenged myself to capture the lovely warm reflected light in the shadows of these trees.  (By the way, knowing from the start why you're doing a particular painting is your best insurance of its success!) I usually am not drawn to paint at noon, because of the less dramatic light, but I needed to get painting, again.  I could feel early on that it was going pretty well, and enjoyed recovering my confidence that I can actually paint!  After meeting my little personal challenge, I felt that the rest of my painting week would be a good one, and it was.

I finished eight paintings, all of which I was happy with, and sold four at the weekend exhibit.  More importantly, I strengthened my personal resolve that I don't quit, I can get it done, have fun, and keep growing.  Here's the secret:  persist, adapt, and overcome.  

NOON SHADOWS
©Jimmy Longacre 2015
11X14 oil on canvas panel

Jimmy Longacre
subjective realist landscape paintings

MY WEBSITE
MY BLOG: Paintbox & Easel

GALLERY LINKS
Fredericksburg Art Gallery Fredericksburg TX
Mustang Island Art Gallery Port Aransas TX
Capital Fine Art Gallery Austin TX