Posts Tagged ‘plein air’

Blown Away

July 2, 2013

catch-the-breezeOnce Upon A Breeze, 8 x 10, pastel on panel
©2013 Marianne Post

It’s all a blur, and I am still unwinding from a fantastic weekend in Cannon Beach. I joined fifty other artists who were on the streets or on the beach painting their impressions for the 5th Annual Plein Air and More event.

Friday evening the Cannon Beach Gallery Group and the Chamber hosted an exhibit and reception featuring the works of selected participated artists. It was fun to mingle with the artists, visitors and representatives from SouthwestArt magazine. Congratulations to the new owner of one of my featured paintings, Approaching Storm! 

Saturday the weather couldn’t have been better for plein air painting. I set up at the corner of 2nd and Spruce to capture a street scene while I could still see the street! By mid morning the sidewalks were packed with ice cream cone lickers and iced tea drinkers watching the artists and listening to their process.

2nd_and_spruce2nd and Spruce, 8 x 10, pastel on panel,
©2013 Marianne Post

By mid morning I moved across the street to the local kite store, Once Upon a Breeze, which happens to be the oldest kite store on the Oregon coast. It also is the most colorful shop on the street. The blue shingles and kaleidoscope colored buoys hanging from the eaves screamed, “Paint me.” By now the crowds were everywhere. I met so many interesting people. If you were one of them that stopped by to say hello and watch me paint it was my pleasure to share the experience with you.

At 2:30 I called it quits and headed back to my room to frame my paintings for the evening reception at Primary Elements Gallery. In my haste I had everything framed when I realized I hadn’t taken photos of the paintings. So the images I am posting are not the best. I but I think they capture the “spirit” of the piece.

Saturday evening the gallery hosted a lively reception. It was not only fun to once again talk with people I met throughout the day, but to also mingle with the other gallery artists and hear about their day and see the work they produced. The evening ended with a Raku firing on the beach at sunset. The organizers for the event thought of everything and sponsored an art filled weekend that would have blown anyone away. The event is always the last weekend in June, so if you haven’t had the opportunity to experience the Cannon Beach Plein and More event, add it on your 2014 calendar. I hope to see you there!


Cool Day and Hot Picks

May 16, 2013


Hot Picks, 8 x 10 pastel on panel, ©2013 Marianne Post

Yesterday was the first “official” plein air gathering of our local group of artists known as Vistas and Vineyards. About fifteen hardy souls braved the rain and ventured forth among the hydrangeas and the rhodies to paint the rioting color at Garland Nursery in Corvallis.

Talk about a morning of sensory overload,  the nursery is filled with garden starts, herbs, flowering shrubs and over 70 types of tomatoes! I found refuge in the begonia and fuschia “barn” and found a vantage point overlooking the lettuce starts. The flowers were dueling it out with the signs for one’s attention. My intent was to capture the cacophony of color and finish sooner than later. After weeks of weather in the eightes, the dampness seemed to really sink in its teeth.

So Far

September 18, 2012

This past week I finally had a chance to revisit “starts” from  my five day Richard McKinley workshop in Bend. This was my first experience attending an Art in the Mountains event. Boy, does Tracy Culbertson, workshop coordinator, have the venue of all venues. The Cascades and downtown Bend are a mecca for inspiration. Coupled with a stellar instructor, and companionship of a fellow artist from California it was five days of instruction, beauty, discussion, and determination to go the next mile.

thumbnails of Sparks Lake

Thumbnails of major shapes, value map and notan design

As a plein air painter, the grandeur of the vista can be overwhelming. Having spent hours in the field, I would like to think I am comfortable in the wilds. But the reality is that I still try to depict the scene as I see it. Finally I was given permission to not only move a tree or a mountain but to capture the sencse of place without being wed to the what’s in front of me. In fact.I got to the point afer five days, to turn my easel away from the scene and paint from memory. What a liberating concept!

It all started with some thumbnails to define the shapes, value plan and composition. Then a quick field study, in this case a small 4×6 supplied me with color notes. Now back in the studio, I did a watercolor underpainting, referring to my field notes. After a day in the studio here is where I am so far. And it feels good!

Watercolor underpainting of Sparks LakeWatercolor underpainting

Work in Progress, Sparks LakeWork in progress, 16×20, pastel on panel

Revisiting Special Places

August 27, 2012

Morning Glow, Sparks Lake, Oregon

Morning Glow, 12 x 16, pastel on panel, Sparks Lake , Oregon
©Marianne Post

Next week, a new show featuring the work of six Willamette Valley pastel artists opens at the Jaqua Gallery, Emerald Art Center. This is my first exhibit with this group of incredibly talented artists. And for this show I included works from what I call my special places. Many of the paintings are scenes I have painted many times before at different times of day or from slightly different vantage points. Familiarity never dulls the joy I get from capturing their essence. The changing light, the different seasons, the blazing sun, the coolness in the air, remind me of just how generous nature is. She could let up a bit on the mosquitos, though!

Jaqua Gallery Exhibtion

Does Painting Purple Mean I am Old

July 16, 2012

Height of Summer, 12 x 6
pastel on panel

This past week, California artist friend, Cheryl Crews, joined me to paint in the lavender fields of the Willamette Valley. We literally went from one end of the valley to the other in search of purple fields. On Wednesday we joined up with my local plein air group, Vista and Vineyards to paint at Moon Shadow Lavender farms in Albany, only to find our picture on the front page of the Albany Democrat Herald. Check out their Facebook page.

While Cherryl painted in oils and I in pastels our violet palette got a workout. One of my paintings from Mountainside Lavender Farms in Hillsboro garnered an honorable mention at the Yamhill Lavender Festival art show this past weekend.

In the Gardens

June 5, 2012

Halo in Peach, 9×12 pastel on LaCarte Sanded Paper
2012 Marianne Post

Last Wednesday, Vista and Vineyards, our local plein air group, met at Schreiner’s Iris Farm near Salem, OR. Talk about sensory overload. The day was spectacular… the sky clear, the birds singing, the flowers overwhelming. I set up in one of the demonstration gardens and made a stab of painting just a flower or two. What a challenge when everything in the garden begs to be captured. A delightful aside are the names of each variety. From Act of Kindness to Zip it Up there are some clever, thoughtful and humorous monikers. Halo in Peach crabbed my attention and became my subject for the day. Once again I tried using a toned surface, this time a blue-gray LaCarte sanded paper. It looks like this year my plein air outings are experiments in different surfaces and techniques just to mix things up a bit.

I just started reading Richard Schmid’s Alla Prima, Everything I know About Painting. In the opening pages he writes, “Don’t be afraid to learn…Profit from your failed paintings.” So trying something new, not expecting to create a masterpiece is liberating. Have you tried something new in your own work?

Trying Something New for A Change.

May 18, 2012

Garlands Nursery

Garlands Nursery, pastel on LaCarte sanded paper

This past Wednesday was the first outing of the local plein air group. Traditionally the first venue we paint is Garlands, the local, quintessential nursery. It has everything any green or purple thumb could ever imagine. It also has many places to duck undercover in case the weather doesn’t cooperate.

Forecast: warm and sunny
But this week the weatherman predicted clear sky and mid 70s. I decided before packing to go that morning, that I would try using some orange La Carte sanded paper, a real departure from my usual Amperdand Pastelbord. My thinking was that the orange would work to my advantage in setting the stage for a sunny day painting, and also work as a complement to all the green I was bound to encounter. And I admit, “I’m trying something new.” could also be my excuse in the event of a really lousy painting.

Warm and cool
My approach was to depict the light of a sunny day, by starting with warm colors in the sunlit masses and cool colors in the shadows, regardless of the local color. I gradually brought the masses to their real color but always letting some of my first marks show through. I also left the edges loose so that the orange paper would unify the painting and add shimmer to the piece.

The end result was okay! I had a lot of fun getting this “to work.” I’d try it again, actually. But perhaps I should invest in a lot of blue La Carte to use on those Oregon gray days we so often encounter! Have you stepped out of your comfort zone lately and tried something different for a change?

Time’s Up!

January 7, 2010

This is the time of year when resolutions abound, maybe even a few haven’t already fallen by the wayside! This year instead of promises to myself I decided to take a cue from Christine Kane and adopt a word to carry me through the year in all aspects of my life.

Just one.
The problem lie in picking just one word. Simplify, explore, nurture, journey, listen, ask; they all have endless possibilities. For better or worse I decided on “challenge.”

So in the studio this week I decided to challenge myself to doing a painting, start to finish, in an hour or less. At the end of 60 minutes it is what it is. Needless to say, the time flew.


I began with a found piece of prepared board from my stash. No telling how long ago I prepared it and I am not  even sure what I had used to make the surface. But heck, this is suppose to be a challenge, remember? It is 8 x 8″ illustration board and perhaps I coated it with just Golden’s Acrylic Ground for Pastel. As I began working with it it had a different feel than my usual pumice mixture I sometimes use.

I chose a scene I had painted previously on a recent plein air excursion, hoping that would help with the time constraints. I did a watercolor underpainting after a quick test with water on the surface to see if the surface would even hold up to this approach, Clock’s ticking, yikes. I dried it with a hair dryer, no time to let nature takes its course.

Bee Boxes, 8 x 8″ prepared surface
©2009 Marianne Post

Time’s up! Not the best painting but a good lesson in seeing what you can do with less time, less detail, less marks.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

December 14, 2009

Suisun LandingSuisun City Landing, 9 x 12″
soft pastel on Wallis with watercolor underpainting
© 2009 Marianne Post

Earlier this week I blogged about heading into the studio to “resolve” a plein air study done along the slough in Suisun City. You might recall that the day was pretty cold and my study reflected the coolness of the moment. In the studio, I wanted to change the temperature of the light, to warm it up a bit and also enlarge the piece from 8 x 10″ to 12 x 16″.



Pictured above is what initially came off the easel. I let it sit until the afternoon and when standing back and looking with fresh eyes, the first thing I said to myself s “what’s wrong with this?” I certainly didn’t like the bland mass of water in the foreground. I took out my notan and immediately saw (again with fresh eyes) that even at that point I was struggling with the cropping and the resolve of uninteresting shapes. I suppose my subconscious felt like it could deal with it in the painting process and my excitement to get on with the painting overpowered my left brain.

So I got out my “croppers,” pieces of L-shaped mat board to try different croppings. By eliminating a good portion of the water, more interesting shapes appear. Likewise, in cropping the sky mass, the focal point point becomes much stronger.  The light masses in the sky and water lead the eye right to the building. I should have realized in the notan stage when things weren’t going well there to take  a few extra minutes and resolve the issues at that point. After all, that is the purpose behind that whole step of my process. In the long run I could have saved time and pastel. But the learning experience, as they say, “is priceless.”

Studio Resolve

December 10, 2009

From the title, you might be thinking this post is probably about spending more time in the studio. Actually that’s not a bad idea. But what I am really talking about is taking a plein air study back to the studio and resolving it into a finished work. Last Friday my painting buddy and I ventured out to Suisun City. We ended up along the slough that heads out to the delta. Boy was it cold!

Being a fair weather plein air painter I was out of my element. Early that morning the fog was thick but by the time we got to our destination, the sun was winning part of the battle. The air was crisp. No, actually it was downright cold but clear. I needed to get something down in a hurry. After using up a good portion of my painting time scoping out the area I finally decided on a scene to paint. This time I used a black 8 x 10 Ampersand panel. For some reason I find painting on black while on location gives me a jump start.

After about an hour or so my fingers just couldn’t hold onto the pastel sticks. And we packed up shop and headed for lunch at a local cafe. But I liked what I had managed to get done and thought I would explore resolving the painting in the studio.

So using the study and a photo, I have recomposed the piece onto a 12 x 16″ sheet of Wallis paper. I am adjusting the temperature of the light and have started with an oil underpainting. So stay tuned and let’s see where this all goes. For one thing, I have a fire burning in my studio fireplace and a pot of tea is close by. So far so good!