We have been subject to an intense and unusually unseasonable July heat wave here in our area. Only a complete fool would venture outside to paint in these temperatures... even in the shade! I am now allergic to the sun... having overdosed in UV from years of painting in weather that was equally punishing. Fool hardy is the word that come to mind! Whenever I am out... I lather on 60 level sun block... and look for a large elm "umbrella" to set up under! HA HA!
Last Saturday evening... my large quadriptych... "The Magnificence of Algonquin Through the Seasons" - 6 feetx 12 feet (bottom jpeg) was featured at the Grand Opening for The Point Gallery in summer community Big Bay Point, located east of Barrie on the shores of Lake Simcoe. The owners Nicola Sammeroff and her husband Jonathan Cohen hosted a cocktail party for a special list of invited guests from the summer home and cottage community of which they and their family are long time residents.
They asked Deb and I to attend... and asked if I would entertain the idea of conducting a painting demonstration to introduce their clients to me and my work. I agreed... and after some soul-searching... decided to use a recent sketch as the impetus for that demonstration. I chose the recently posted "Summer Zephyr, Wolfe Island"... a 12x16 inch canvas (jpeg 2nd from bottom)... I felt that this subject "raised up" to a larger studio format that evening... would give an accurate picture of how I take my plein air studies to the studio format and higher level of focus and finish.
I selected a 24x30 inch black t0ned canvas and followed the same pathway as the quadriptych. I quickly laid in the preliminary linear "map/guide"... recording only basic and very roughly laid in essentials... and then jumped into the painting process... beginning by laying in transparently stained blocks of colour so that the black area took on a sort of stained glass appearance. I let that set for about ten minutes.... and answered multiple questions from the gathering of adults and children who stood watching. You guessed it! The kids offered the most challenging and interesting questions... they always do!
I then began laying in the heavier layers of pigment gradually to a point where the black canvas was all but opaquely covered in its entirety. I added a few of the details that I intended to add in a later session... to demonstrate how one reaches the next level of finish. I heightened the lighting effects slightly... but again not entirely... wishing to save that until I was alone to concentrate and work more gradually. The entire process from black canvas to final lay in... as seen in (2nd jpeg from top) began at 7:15 pm... and ended at 8:40 pm... just as the evening light was fading. A great time to bring things to a halt.
Although the quadriptych is as yet unsold... I had two seriously interested couples... who have both the money and the space to own it... should they wish to do so. But more importantly... the word "Magnificent" was uttered over and over again from adults who value fine art... and from children who respond truthfully and "call it as they see it". This validates my very reason for creating the piece. My painting created the very same awe on this wall... so very far away from Opeongo Road in Algonquin Park and the deep feelings of respect for this wilderness... as it does in me ... always! Sold... unsold... it doesn't matter. It's that it "is"... and has been completed!
The last jpeg shows the finished Painting entitled "Windswept July Meadow, Wolfe Island, Ontario -oil on canvas 24x30 inches....( as the jpeg shown at the top). You can note that this painting has been "revised"... intentionally. The sketch will remain in my possession... the painting will be on the block... and hopefully sold.
My painting... and Deb and I met new friends and gained a feeling that our combined vision and efforts are worthwhile. In this very sad and discouraging economy... any "leg up" sustains Faith and Optimism. We all need a large dose of that in these trying times!
Back to the easel!
Good Painting to all!