The plein air season is warming up and Paint Snow Hill 2017 was a great kick-off! The people there and the variety of subject matter makes this event an ideal way to get those juices flowing. Clear out those dust, winter cobwebs and PAINT!
This was my 3rd year at Paint Snow Hill. Just what is that??? 70 artists come to paint the town and surrounding area for 2-3 days. There is a sale on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon of the work created in that time frame. 25% of sales support a local arts organization.
Day 1 was a challenge. I arrived on Wednesday at noon, stopped by my host housing to say hello and unload the car. Then I headed straight out for painting #1. By the time I found a spot the wind had really kicked up and it got quite cloudy...ugh. The 1st painting was a struggle. The light kept changing, the paint was sticky, the wind was relentless, I was cold and the painting itself seemed lifeless, rather clunky....is this fun? I struggled for a while...then threw in the towel for the day and hoped for a better tomorrow.
Day 2 did bring a sunny morning and a fresh start. I went to the same location I had been since I'd seen a few possibilities there. I took a deep breath and began....
I took my time and the painting went well. I was happy with how this one turned out so I decided to pop back over to yesterdays location and re-work painting #1 a bit. The sunlight helped tremendously. I brightened up the sky, worked on the green building and popped lights and darks a bit. Surprising how it just came together with just a few tweaks.
I did one other painting from scratch and re-worked a painting from a previous year in the afternoon. The whole thing just needed going over and refining. The colors are more varied and there is more definition , I think. Be happy to hear your thoughts....
Day 3 I woke with a mission. I wanted to try painting a mini mart in town. This place had been calling to me.... so off I went. I took the time to do a sketch.....often a good idea! This was one of those times when everything worked. Sunny out, perfect temperature, good sketch, painting felt comfortable, color and shapes fell into place nicely. I had a blast! This is when the frustration of the previous days pays off and you feel like you might just be..... (shush) ..... an artist!
At this point I realized I needed to work a bit smaller if all my paintings were going to fit onto the 3' x 6' panel we're given for the sale. I decided to have some fun with some 6x6 studies.....
Now it's Saturday and I must frame my larger paintings and re-paint the edges of the square paintings, make sure everything is signed, labeled and wired to hang....then go hang the work and be ready for preview sale that evening! Ah, the life of a plein air artist!
What I learned ...well, re-learned... this week was to take my time and be patient with myself. it's so important to take a step back and breathe. Not every painting is going to go well and that has to be ok. That's how we get better at this thing called ART.
This summer has been a bit crazy and disjointed for me but there is nothing like a plein air event to help me focus and get back on track.
I just returned from a 5 day trip to Ocean City, Maryland for Artists Paint OC 2015. This was my first time at this event so I went down 1 day early to get my bearings and scout out some places to paint. My housing host was so very gracious and gave me a personal tour when I arrived. That really helped me a ton!
This was a real challenge for me since my inclination is to paint urban, gritty scenes. Although Ocean City is congested it is NOT gritty! Many artists enjoy painting sand dunes, grasses and birds but that is not my “thing” so I found myself really searching and even struggling a bit to find subjects that inspired me. I think in the end I did a decent job of representing Ocean City in Sarah Baptist style. Lets see what you think…..
Day 1. It often takes me a while to feel comfortable in a new place so with a gray sky and forecast of rain my first 2 paintings felt a bit stiff. I think the different surroundings got the better of me.
After a morning at the beach/boardwalk location, I thought it time to move. I found a spot my host had driven by the day before, pulled out my gear and started painting #3 for day #1. This painting felt like it flowed much more easily and is more “my” style. Ahhhhhh. I could breathe easily now I had one GOOD painting under my belt!
Day 2 was gray and gloomy again. A big storm was brewing, or so they said. I got up and out early in hopes of getting 1 painting in before the rain. “The Kitchen” with its All Day Breakfast signage and bright colors spoke tome and I got to work. This one took me a solid 3 hours which surprised me. I usually work quickly but this is a larger canvas at 11 x 14 and I don’t feel it looks over worked. There was just a lot to capture! A few sprinkles but no rain. Yeah! I decided to keep on painting so I headed over to a local fishing spot hoping to be inspired again. I was! Thanks again to my host for showing me this spot!
Day 3. Today we have the morning to paint but all paintings must be framed, wired for hanging and delivered to the Art League by 4pm. Again, I wanted to get up and going to get 1 painting done in the morning. Still gray and Windy! Storm never came although it rained lightly in the evening. I think wind is the greatest nemesis of a plein air painter. If it’s cold you can add layers and drink hot liquids. If it’s rainy you can usually find cover or use an umbrella. Wind is just relentless! Anyway, I did find a semi-protected spot and an iconic Ocean City Boardwalk scene. I plugged in my iPod and sang to Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra as I painted away. I was warming up to Ocean City at this point. Still not exactly my sweet spot of subject matter but I was finding things that still spoke to me. I was happy and having fun!
Okay. Got everything framed and to the sale in the evening. Crowd was moderate. It was fun to see what the other 51 artists had produced in the past couple days and it’s always fun to commiserate and compare notes with other artists. Unfortunately no one I knew had any sales. That is a real disappointment but you can’t win ’em all, eh?
So we’re all done right? Time to head home, eh? NOPE! Sunday morning there is a “quick draw”. This is a competition where there is a perimeter location artists must work within and they have only 2 hours to complete a painting. These are then judged and with any luck sold off the easels right there on the boardwalk. Again, no sales for me but I think my painting is strong and one of my best at this event.
I head back up to the Art League and chat with artists friends for a couple more hours while the gallery hopes to sell a few paintings. At 3pm, we all pack up our artwork and head home. I had a 3 hour drive ahead of me and although this was a fun adventure… I was ready to be home.
As a side note.... nothing sold at the event sale but I did get some interested buyers AFTER. Thanks to those who inquired and bought these pieces. 4/2017 Sarah