Sunday, October 23, 2016

Recent Plein Air paintings

Bluff Strokes Plein Air
This last weekend was the Bluff Strokes plein air event in Dubuque, Iowa. Bluff Strokes was sponsored by Mississippi River Workshops, an affiliate of the Dubuque County Fine Arts Society. With the help of many great volunteers and corporate sponsors we enjoyed 7 days of painting and art related events.  This was a wonderful way to see Dubuque; painting the views plein air from the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi. The event was well organized with the gallery set up in Steeple Square. The painting above is a view from  Eagle Point Park,  The unique architecture of Victorian homes and churches gave plenty of painting opportunities.
Lock and Dam #11 12" x 9" oil on canvas panel

I originally painted this without the dam workers. It was a gray windy day with intermittent light rain. While I was painting a barge came through. A couple of the workers asked to see my painting and were the most enthusiastic onlookers I had all week. Unfortunately they were not going to be around on the Saturday of the show. It has been a great icebreaker with passing strangers. Lots of encouraging comments.
Lock and Dam #11 River View 14" x 11" oil on linen panel

This was the first time I painted at night in a competition. The painting was wiped off because I just could not make it work. I was happy with this scene. I started with a stark white panel and maybe wiping it off helped make this one work. Lots of pthalo blue then wiped the lights off before adding paint strokes. This view was from the corner of 1st and Locust street. It was hard to see the exact details, but that may have been an advantage to captureing the feel without getting wrapped up in details.
9" x 12" oil on Ampersand panel 

On the last day the artists painted at Iowa's oldest Farmer's Market. Music and art to go with the shopping experience of fresh flowers and produce.  

Portrayal of Mount Vernon Plein Air
This recent Saturday I went to Mount Vernon, Iowa for a one day plein air painting competition. This is my second year for this event and I went to my favorite place. This is an abandoned quarry that is now a park. I like the shadows and sun light on the rocks. This one tree still had green leaves amidst the dull brown of already dead leaves and bare trees. I liked the duck weed floating on the water surface. It is a challenging cadmium green that was just what I needed straight out of the tube. 
14" x 11" oil on canvas panel

I decided to push myself to try a subject I have often avoided, buildings. I did not have the time to finish this painting. The rules on this competition allow you to take it home and finish from photos. I did finish the first one on site but this one will have to be completed later.
14" x 11" oil on canvas panel


  1. Thanks for posting your terrific paintings from both events. I had been hoping to see them and some from the other painter friends who attended. You do love painting those rocks and it shows!

    1. Thanks for commenting. If I cannot make it to an event it is always nice to see what everyone paints. Yes I like the quarry rock wall and reflections.