Tag Archives: plein air

River Ramble and Amarylis

Another wonderfully warm weekend! Based on my on-foot reconnaissance last week of the James River utility road, this Sunday I took my new blue bicycle down to the Reedy Creek entrance to James River Park for a spin along that gravel road to Belle Isle! I knew I could get as far as the pedestrian access at 22nd street, and I was thrilled to discover that I could go even further! There’s a level path from that access on the river side of the railroad fence all the way to the emergency access bridge across to the Isle. I rode to the island and then followed the pathways all the way around. Word is out about the park and I had lots of company! With the welcome break from winter weather, everyone was in a good mood! Watched kayaks heading for the class IV rapids on the north side of Belle Isle as I ate my lunch at a picnic table on the west point near the quarry and did some sketching.

I’m back inside this week as temperatures return to winter norms, keeping an eye on my amaryllis bulbs. I retrieved them from their rest in the basement around the first of February and they’re almost visibly growing. I’m hoping at least a couple of them are large enough to bloom this season!

Advertisements

ART: Enthusiastic, Energetic, Fun


Life is moving so quickly, it slips from my grasp; exciting events fade into obscurity. Let’s capture a bit of October’s enthusiasms…

At our October Bon Air Artist Association meeting Janice McMurray spoke to us of her art experiences with older adults, helping them maintain their individuality. Isn’t that a great definition of art? Everyone’s artistic efforts are theirs alone. Even if you’re copying someone else’s piece, what you wind up with is your interpretation.  This is why individual, original art thrills me – it’s a glimpse into another’s mind and heart, the closest we can get to telepathy.

In the first photo above are paper puppets Janice made. In one of her art sessions she had her students make puppets for Gone with the Wind, then they did a production of the story in 17 minutes!  Can’t you just see the class falling about themselves in laughter?!  The second photo is a small sculpture, about 5″ tall, made by one of her students, at the age of 104.  The ability to create is there, no matter how late in life you get around to tapping it. She published a book in 1990, Creative Arts with Older People, which is available on Amazon.

Later in the month I joined a bus load of art enthusiasts for a bus trip to the National Gallery.  The East Building has been recently reopened after an extensive renovation.  I hadn’t been overly impressed with that portion of the National Gallery in the past, but I wonder now if I hadn’t explored it sufficiently? The multitude of galleries tucked away in odd corners were filled with a myriad of serendipitous  delights. I highly recommend the current exhibit on the Concourse level: Los Angeles to New York: Dwan Gallery, 1959-1971. It’s up thru January 29, 2017. I was so happy to discover some of Matisse’s cutouts! I love their color and energy, but never expected to see the originals!

Inspired by McMurray’s enthusiasm and the National Gallery expedition, I approached our paint out with the Viginia Plein Air Painters this past Friday with cheerful anticipation.  I was not disappointed –  this eighth 2016 outing of the group was to a private Japanese Garden along the South Anna River cultivated by Junko Liesfeld, a gardening consultant with her own business, Zoen Garden Creation. The river water has been diverted to a pond and several streams that peacefully flow past beautifully scenic plantings, all meticulously maintained.  Our group of 30 plus artists set up their easels and enjoyed a quiet leisurely morning painting amid the lovely long fall shadows.

I can’t wait to see what November might bring!

Carytown, Fast and Fresh


Thursday I tested my gear and did my first water color on the easel. Friday night I gathered paints, papers, binder clips, water, etc. and stashed it all near the door. Saturday morning I woke up to rain!! I taped a smaller piece of watercolor paper to cardboard so I could work in the car if necessary and added a couple of large pieces of clear plastic to the pile. By 8:30 am I was cruising Carytown and the rain had stopped. I parked at MacDonalds (easy access to food and facilities!), my original choice for set up. After checking in and looking around, I moved the car up the block to right across from the bright lime green building. The photo I’d taken of it the week before caught my artist daughter’s interest and she suggested it could be an good subject.
9:30 am – time for the shotgun start!! I tried really hard to make a good sketch and paint well, keeping in mind that it had to be finished and framed for judging by 11:30. Nothing like a little pressure. I cannot believe two hours can go so quickly! I was under the overhang of a restaurant with top 40 tunes blasting over the sidewalk – shaded and serenaded, the good life. Folks wandered by and chatted, watched awhile, took photos and videos, and reported on some of 40 or so other artists they’d seen. In no time it was after 11 am – time to finish up! About that point a couple stopped by and said ‘that looks just like Carytown! is it for sale?’ And my painting sold!!
Thankfully I thought to take photos, which you see above. Looking at the pictures last night, right off I saw at least five areas for improvement. Next time out…
On reflection, I’d do it again in a heartbeat.