An Online Artist's Coop for Artists who Paint on Location
Celebration.... of the change of season, of health, of steadfast friendships. friendships newly formed, and friendships renewed, and of learning to visualize this magnificent world with new insights. I just celebrated a birthday, another year has past, and I feel I have lived it to it's fullest potential. I gave myself a birthday gift of two days off from a grinding 9-5 job to spend it painting with a friend.
The first day I did two fantastic paintings (well for me they were fantastic). I lived in the moment and was able to transcribe the experience to my supports. I did one of a pastel of Woodsford Canyon. This was done on my friends ranch looking up the canyon which highway 89 follows into Hope Valley Ca from Carson Valley. I had a lot of very different beautiful sites to paint from this area, there were pine trees, cattle, the Carson River running through, but this vision is the one that grabbed me most. I took some time getting the feel for the area, and studying what drew me to the view. I liked the highlight on the one side of the canyon, and the blue light of the canyon receding. I spent a bit of time drawing up three different notans, photographing the various options, then I began laying down my pastels. We stayed on this part of her ranch all day. I finished this one in the morning. I then mosied down the field to the river and trudged along poking in and out of the brush to find a good spot to paint the river. There were so many good spots, I ended up with only an hour to paint, and gave up and just enjoyed the splendor of that valley. We went back to the ranch house had a quick bite of dinner and went into the adjacent fruit orchard they have with cattle grazing, and we each did a painting of their separation shed. It was a quickie as the light was fading fast. This ranch is nestled up against the base of the Sierras, so the sun sets fast. I decided to try my luck painting in oils (I am such a beginner), and I decided not to use any brushes. I used only two pallet knives, and pulled off a credible painting. It was small, so was easy to finish 6x6. I tried this once before this summer in Evergreen Co with my sister, and had a good time with that painting as well. I tried to remember all the tips and tricks, as my friend Ida and I are both beginners with this medium..
I slept very well that night and woke up fresh. We decided to go up into Hope Valley to paint that next day, and parked our cars alongside the road, and hiked down the Carson River a piece. There were so many great vistas there as well. The aspen were just beginning to turn. I did not do too great a job on this one, as there were competing elements I couldn't balance right. The light hitting the water, the dark banks, the golden grass, the pine trees, fly-fishermen, and the far mountain dressed with splashes of golden aspen color. Gosh what a smorgasboard to get all in one painting. The beauty was just overwhelming, and I couldn't calm down enough to do it justice. (if any one would be interested in seeing this, just make a comment, and I'll consider posting it.) We stopped at lunch, ate our PBJS, and drove up the Kit Carson pass a bit until we came to a spot that had a marvelous display of Sierra Gold. We lucked onto a beautiful mountain full of aspen showing off their newly golden gowns. The glorious view filled me with tears of joy remembering my childhood. As a child, my family of 7 would take Sunday drives from Denver into the Rockies to see the aspen changing. It was awesome. Again, I was overcome with emotion, and couldn't match it with my pastels to paper. I did two Horrible paintings, and I so wanted to pull out of my magic hat a painting that would make a "Charles Muench" say WOW. I felt defeated, I couldn't pull it off . I couldn't capture the moment or create an emotional memory as an observance to my memories of my past. But I AM NOT A QUITTER. I will study more and try again.
The sun was getting low and we headed back to the ranch. This ranch house is about 150 years old, it has been in the same family for 4 generations. Ida and I love this part of our painting together the best. We hang in her kitchen with the wood burning stove, and the 1940's cabinetry and wall paper, and we pop all of our paintings up on the stove and wainscotting. We brew up a pot of joe, and admire our paintings. We are pretty tough on each other with critiques too.
Then I packed everything up and drove 30 miles back home. What a great birthday, the mountains were celebrating with me!