Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to my friends, customers and artists everywhere. This year has had it's challenges and I think we are all looking forward to 2021 with the hope that Covid and all of it's impact will be alleviated. There is one aspect of 2020 that I hope will remain. People have reconnected with their humanity, their kindness, their generosity, and their creativity. While we were all missing 'normalcy' whatever that is for each person, we were also living in new ways, spending time differently and encouraging each other. Think of all the positive actions people have been doing for themselves, each other and their communities. What a blessing that is, and I pray that we can all carry that forward into our new 'normal'. I wish you all peace and joy in the coming year!
Many of our local artists paint outside onsite or “En Plein Aire”, creating lovely landscape paintings. Typically these are oil and acrylic painters, but there are pastel artists, and a few watercolorists. Having always worked from a photo and taking weeks or even months to complete a painting, to me this seemed like an impossible task. I have tried it with the Granby Artists Association when they have their annual Granby Land Trust Paint Out day. It is a challenge with watercolors. The drying time changes, the colors never seem bright enough, the light changes, the palette dries out, sitting on the ground is awkward and uncomfortable, etc. I said to myself “ This is not for me.” That was several years ago.
I find that if I am going to grow as an artist, I need to continue to step outside of my comfort zone and try new and challenging things. And so I tried plein air painting again, only this time in a workshop with Robert O’Brien.
I was better prepared this time- bringing a chair and an easel, a view finder, smaller paper and larger brushes. Robert’s demo emphasized choosing your topic, composition and color, drawing minimally and working quickly. Learning to ‘see’ is key to creating a painting. Preparing larger puddles of the needed colors also lets you paint without the interruption of having to mix paint. Because everything dries so much faster than in the studio, once you are working on the painting,you have to work more quickly. The goal is to capture the essense of the place and your feelings about it. Let the details go and only "suggest" the less important portions. You might not finish your painting, or you might just be doing sketches to work from later. Taking some photos will also be a helpful reference if you will work on it later in the studio. This time I was better able to enjoy the experience and learned alot about working in a much different manner than I am accustomed to. I will definitely have to try it again on my own. Nothing ventured nothing gained, right?
So what do you have to be thankful for this year? Of course there are the usual sentiments- family, friends, health, employment, you know that kind of stuff. Do you remember to be thankful your gifts and talents? What about our ability to see and appreciate the many colors and the beauty in our world? What about the world itself? It is a pretty amazing place. Let's not forget to be grateful for artists' skill in interpreting and capturing all that beauty and all those amazing images, for all of us. You know the expression about taking time to stop and smell the roses.. for me as an artist I think of it as "Have the awareness to look for and really see all the beauty in everyday life". Happy Thanksgiving to you.
The days are getting shorter, the locusts sing their songs, and the back to school sales are upon us, reminding us to enjoy each remaining minute of the summer season. It is not too late to paint (or eat, or both!) summer's treasures. I’m still gathering in the special things about summer- I’ve decided that for me summer isn’t over until the end of September. Did you know that August is peach season ? That apple picking begins in August? There are fall raspberries, and the grapes are ripening. Local spots to savor some of these include Lost Acres Farm in Granby, CT, Bushy Hill Farm in Granby, Kuras Farm in Suffield, the 4H Farm in Bloomfield, the Appleberry Farm in West Suffield or the Sweet Wind Farm in East Hartland. Farmer’s markets will have these and much more, many markets end in mid- late September, so don’t wait.
It’s Farmer’s Market Season, have you been to one yet? Most of the local towns have them. In our area there are many: East Granby Farmer’s Market at the East Granby Library, as well as in Granby, Simsbury, Suffield, Windsor, Bloomfield, even the Old State House in Hartford- all have markets to visit. Summer season brings wonderful fresh vegetables and fruits, all locally grown.
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