October 13, 2017

If You Would Just Hold Still!

"Temperate Paradise" !2X9" oil on mounted canvas

I have had a wonderful summer of painting outdoors - from ocean islands to golden aspen covered hills, hidden creeks and white sand beaches.  What a grand adventure.

I wanted to show you this recent plein air study from my trip up into the Great Bear Rainforest in July.
Shorelines, wet sand, moving water....these are things I am endeavouring to learn to paint well en plein air, and they
are difficult because they are always moving.   It is both daunting and delicious.

Not long ago, I had a student in a plein air class taking pictures of the landscape with her Ipad and then, standing at her easel,  she disregarded the landscape before her and started painting from the image on her Ipad.  When I questioned her on her choice, she said she was doing it this way because "It is so much easier".  Well, I couldn't argue with that logic.

What she was missing was the experience of being in the place.  She was painting a moment frozen in time rather than the living, breathing, moving thing before her.   "You need to learn to embrace the technology" she commented after I  had questioned her.   Of course, I was thinking the opposite - "you need to let go of the technology and just be right here, right now".

I find it hard often to part with these studies ( of course I do, as making sales is making a living)  because they are a journal, a diary, a record of an experience.  When I view them, I remember everything about the day... who I was with, the sounds of the seabirds and ocean, the sunburn on my sandaled feet, the scents floating on the air.  I even remember what specifically I struggled with on the canvas, as well as where I triumphed.    It transports me, and if I do an especially good job I have the opportunity to perhaps transport the viewer as well, to a place they have been, and we share the experience together.

Plein air season in Canada is drawing to a close, but I have soaked up the summer, and feel expanded, full, satisfied.  In returning to studio painting for the winter, all of these studies will serve to inform my larger works.  There are also surprises in how my skill sets have increased after all the painting from life.   I embrace the technology to share these experiences with you, fellow painters!

Before I sign off, I wanted to let you all know that I will be conducting a studio class where students will work on their own pieces at their own pace with personalized coaching from me.  Here is the info:

Title:  Studio Thursdays
Location:  Gallery 204, Langley BC
Dates:  November 2,9,16,23,30 and Dec 7
Price: $350 
Time: Thursday afternoons from 12:00 noon till 4 pm

Please email me if you are interested at gayemadams@gmail.com.  


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