Tuesday, April 5, 2016

It's the Little Things: Paint the Town, Marble Falls, TX

"White Roses On Main" oil on panel, 12"x16." Photo by Saunders Fine Arts.
Our journey as PleinAirStreaming takes us to new places, and that's one of the reasons we love it. Everywhere we go, we have new experiences - a changing landscape, local foods, interesting people and mostly the small details that all come together to differentiate each part of the country.

That same desire for new discoveries is a big part of my painting. If you follow us, you know that I paint a lot of flowers. It's not a fallback subject, it's a constant challenge for growth. Every flower is different. Every arrangement is different. Flowers force me to paint quickly and loosely - otherwise, they look heavy and overworked.

The floral above was created at the Paint the Town, Marble Falls, Texas Plein Air Competition. Kimberly and I drove down Main Street and found a wide variety of roses planted along the street. The care that was given to these flowers along Main said a lot about the community. I don't feel that I have to paint big landmarks to capture the beauty of a location - sometimes it's all in the details.

The details are also what makes each floral unique, although they're easy to get lost in - the shapes of the flowers, the flow of the leaves. When it's finished the surprise is revealed when this collection of thick strokes of color come together to make something new.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Painting What's All Around: Paint the Town, Marble Falls TX

"Cacti On the Rocks" oil on panel, 14"x18." Photo by Saunders Fine Arts.
I had a great time at Paint the Town in Marble Falls, TX this past week. Marble Falls is just a short drive from our stay in San Antonio, so I was able to drive up each day and participate. One of the things I commend the organizers for is the tour of the area that they gave us the morning the event opened. We were driven to a number of interesting locations that none of us would have been aware of without the tour.

After that, we're all faced with the challenge of what to paint. Should it be the lighthouse, the lake, downtown or maybe the marina? The one thing I noticed everywhere was the cacti. No, they weren't blooming, but there's still something beautiful from a design perspective about the way they grow. As you look closer, you notice all of the subtle temperature changes throughout their pads.

Set up and ready to go.
I found an area near the On the Rocks bar and set to work. I looked for a grouping that created a nice foreground middle ground and background to pull the eye through the composition. As I worked I began to notice all of the subtle temperature changes throughout their pads. The challenge became choosing what not to paint. I painted and scraped down some areas repeatedly.
Getting lost in the details.
Too much. You can see that I scraped
down and repainted the background to simplify.

This was one of those pieces that I was never quite sure if it was finished. There came a point when the light had changed enough that it was time to call it quits. In the end, this was the piece I turned in for the final judging. I'm pleased to say that the judge, John Pototschnik awarded it Best of Show.