Friday, August 30, 2013

En Plein Air: Wooden Bridge at the Hut Tropical Garden

Oil,  9 x 12
According to Lee Plein Air group's schedule, we were supposed to paint the Lakes Park. I painted there before and wasn't very crazy about the artificial park views. That is why when Penny and Brian suggested that we went to paint at the Hut Tropical Garden or Community Center, I immediately agreed even though I had never been to the Hut and didn't know what it looked like. Since I was new to everything: the group and the place and didn't know how the activity was  usually proceeded. I simply went to the place and found a view to paint, so I set up and got started. By the time I was finished, I sort of remembered my experience last week when I went to Doc. Ford's Rum Bar to paint. From beginning to the end, I didn't see anyone from the group. I had to tell myself maybe that was the way it should be. Out of curiosity this morning, I called Penny. I was sorry that when I was painting at the tropical garden, she and Brian were waiting for me at the Community Center for about 10 minutes.
The Hut was a quiet rustic area, very paintable. When I saw the wooden bridge, I decided to paint it right away. The only unpleasant thing might be the puppies. When I was setting up, out of nowhere, four or five puppies followed me and barked at me tirelessly. At first I simply ignored them. These youngsters might have mistaken my tolerance for encouragement to their arrogance. They not only kept barking at me, but also came closer and closer. The endless noise made it hard for me to concentrate. Therefore, I picked up a chunk of dirt and threw it in the puddle near them. The splash made them back up. By then, a worker came out of the back door of the building and helped me get rid of them.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Today's Alla Prima: After Shower

Oil 8 x 11
There must be heavy showers over the night or before daybreak here in this area. When was biking on Leeland Heights like usual, I had to pass one puddle after another. On my way back I realized they  actually formed beautiful pictures with the reflections in them. The realization inspired me to make this picture. It took only an hour.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

En Plein Air Today: Salty Sam's Marina, Fort Myers Beach

Oil 9 x 12
I went to Fort Myers Beach this morning and drove around Estero Blvd.  I was a little confused because before I left home I thought it was Continental Ave, but I saw only Connecticut Ave.. There was nothing to paint. The view of water was blocked by vegetation, so I stopped by on beach across from Connecticut Ave. The view on the beach was too commonplace, sort of like Hallmark cards. Therefore, I decided to go to Main St. again. I meant to paint Salty Sam's I saw the moment I got there. It was a hazy purplish blue silhouette with trees, everything blurred into a large bluish chunk. I knew the view would soon change drastically, so I set up quickly on a narrow dock. As I expected, the sun would not wait for me. When I had my things set up, what I saw was different. The sun had already shed light on the tip top of something. I was painting out of effect of my first impression but had to compromise it with what was in front of me. Salty Sam's building was kind of colorful. the top being yellow while the bottom bluish emerald. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That Is What Art Is About

You can't help but like the unknown graffiti artists' works in the following link. Their creativity can not simply be hampered by their unfavorable environment:

En Plein Air: Harns Marsh, Lehigh Acres, FL

This morning I went to Harns Marsh Preserves for the first time. Even though I live in Lehigh, not till recently did I hear about this place. It is a quiet place for fishing and bird watching. When I got there, there were two fishermen. They caught some tilapia. Later a Finnish American Photographer Rauno Teravainen came with his camera. Judging by the beautiful picture on his card, he must be a great photographer.

The whole painting took only an hour and a half, not including the setting up time. The marsh presented its beauty in natural simplicity. Hope I did her justice.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

En Plein Air: Sunday at Owl Creek Boat Works

This morning I went to Owl Creek Boat Works in Alva. Usually there was always someone there on weekend: boat owners got on board their boat preparing to go to the sea or came back to dock their boat; some workers could be busy maintaining their own sailing boats or motorcycles.  However, today there wasn't a soul in the place. A black cat kept coming to rub my legs with its side and tail. I hoped it would rub some bad luck off me instead of on me because I have more than enough. It was so quiet that the only noise I heard was made by the wind which whipped some loose sail wraps. Occasionally I heard a splash from the waterway behind me, made either by fish, frogs, or gators. I positioned myself behind the office. Not till I almost finish my painting did someone come walking his dog there. I am glad I decided to paint this morning instead of going fishing.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Introducing My Favorite Contemporary Plein Air Artist Marc Dalessio

Marc Dalessio is not only one of my favorite contemporary landscape artists but is also a faculty member of Florence Academy of Art. As a matter of fact, he is a role model and an inspiration to me as a plein air artist. Now I realize that even before I discovered Dalessio, what I pursued in plein air painting happened to have something in common with his practice. For instance, I loved to do quick oil sketches in authentic environment in order to distill beauty from reality. I never hesitated to go into places like a small Cuban restaurant to do oil sketches or paint figures while they were doing whatever they usually did in a totally natural situation. However, I was or am not as fast as he is to do an impromptu painting inside his car in an accidental traffic jam. As soon as I learned about what he was doing, I became very self-conscious in training myself in these skills and began to be clear about what I wanted to look for in my own art world. I also stole a lot of good ideas from him. For instance, I made my own guerrilla painting kit because he made his out of a cigar box. he is very generous with his creative ideas in his website You don't have to spend a fortune on luxurious art equipment. It is more fun to make them out of nothing. The following are some of his plein air works.

sag harbor yatch club Solo Show at the Grenning Gallery
Nieuwe Haring Maastricht Weekend in Maastricht
Onze Lieve Vrouweplein Maastricht Weekend in Maastricht
Sunday Fishermen with the City Hall Stockholm1 Stockholm Sketches
wine on the terrace Rainy May in Tuscany
dolac Spring in Zagreb
Špica Spring in Zagreb

Friday, August 23, 2013

Plein Air Today: Miss Cher

Today I went to Fort Myers Beach with the Lee Plein Air group. The place was near Doc. Ford's Rum Bar. At first I found a good spot. Unfortunately, one of the sailors told me that later there could be many people walking by on the narrow ramp, so I moved to the outside of Estero Bay State Aquatic Preserve Office, almost under the bridge. It was a good spot and I was in the shade, just next to a laundry room for the sailors. The down side of the place was the fact that some people had walked their dogs there and didn't clean behind their dogs. Therefore, I had to be careful, not to be carried away by my own painting and back away too far from the easel. Basically, I was facing the sun. The shrimp boat's name was Miss Cher. Shrimp boats all have interesting names. The other day I painted the Miss Down. I always remember the story why sailors use she  to refer to marine vessels. That is because they have a buoy (boy) at every harbor. Hope you like it. I mean the painting.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Today's Plein Air Painting: Docked Sailing Boat

Docked Sailing Boat
Oil 9 x 12
This painting was done this morning under the bridge which connected Fort Myers Beach with Florida mainland. There was something like a fishing pier under the bridge, but it didn't go all the way through to the other side, but was blocked halfway with a sign saying No Swimming. Therefore, I set up on the pier and one of  the bridge huge pillars shaded me perfectly from the morning sun.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Visual Dialogues

Lost in Manhattan (Unfinished)
Oil 20 x 16

School Project
Oil 20 x 14
I like to call this kind of practice "visual dialogue" which I learned from Quang Ho. That is a quick study for a single purpose. I did the second one School Project this afternoon. It took me not as long as three hours. Like Faithful Servant of the Lord, I tried to study the minute changes in color in the same plane so as to enrich the picture as a whole. The first one is not in fact for the same purpose. Quite a few days ago I tried to make a serious piece with this title. Unfortunately, maybe because of my personality and Most I did were alla prima paintings, I lost interest in pursuing it the next day, especially the details of the background. That's why I group it in my visual dialogue practice. I guess there was not enough motivation for me to pursue a time-consuming painting with a serious topic.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Landscape en Plein Air: Yacht Basin in the Morning Sun

It wasn't very hot this morning so I decided to go to Fort Myers Yacht Basin to do plein air.I like to go there on weekend because I don't have to worry about parking. It was comfortable in early morning by the Caloosahatchee River. The place was quiet and a little breeze was strong enough to cool me off but would not blow my umbrella away to knock down the easel. I did a quick work, about two hours and finished by 10:30 AM.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Angela

This morning we had the last portrait studio before the two-week summer break at Punta Gorda VAC. Today's model was Angela, a beautiful college student from New York, majoring in business. When my fellow artists told me that they noticed the way I approached to the portrait is different from usual, I knew that was because she reminded me of the portrait of a young lady made by Romanian master Corneliu Baba and I kind of was trying to use Baba's approach, especially his way of treating the facial features.

Note: for your reference, see the link below about Corneliu Baba

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Today's Plein Air Painting and Sketches

It seemed I hadn't got enough of shrimp boats, so this morning I went to Ft. Myers Beach again to paint. Usually I prefer size 9 x 12 for plein air painting, but I was out of that size, so I used a 8 x 10 canvas panel. While I was painting, a guy rode a bike and stopped by water, staring with affection for quite a while at the docked boat which didn't even have a mast. Then he looked up and told me the name of the boat is the Restless Lady. Evidently, he was maintaining the boat and was a little restless himself. Based on my experience with sailors, I could understand what it meant to him.

In the afternoon, I went to my dentist. While waiting for my time, I grabbed two sketches. One is a new patient who was asked to fill out forms with hundreds of questions which were as long as Declaration of Independence.

Waiting for the New Voyage
Oil 8 x 10

Waiting for the Dentist

New Patient filling out "Declaration of Independence"

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Oil Study: Faithful Servant of the Lord

I feel good about this study because it took only two and a half hours to paint it. More importantly, I purposely chose some old mop brushes to start with the underpainting in a  playful manner. Mainly I focused on how lighting influenced value and how I should control the borders of positive and negative spaces in dark value. I was prepared to mess up. Well, personally, I found the effect is delightful. Hope you like it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

En Plein Air: Docked Shrimp Boats

I decided to paint the shrimp boats docked near Fort Myers Beach this morning. While it was busy on the water between the Ft. Myers Beach key and Florida mainland with people sailing or fishing in their boats or yachts, the shrimp boat dock was quiet. Since it was Sunday and nobody was working there, I had the whole place to myself. The weather was very cooperative with temperature in low 90s for the highest of the day and a little breezy. I purposely selected this day so that there wouldn't be lack of space for my easel. It took three hours altogether to finish it. Of course, I was painting out of the effect with the sun gradually moving to the middle of the sky. Hope you like it.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Country Musician Harry

The model at our portrait studio this morning was Musician Harry. He was a great model not only because he could sat still the whole period of time but because his artistic temperament fit so well the character of the pose. I really enjoyed painting him. Thanks to Trudy's lighting arrangement with one light shooting up from a position near the floor, the atmosphere had a touch of being lit by a campfire. I have never gone into such details in an alla prima portrait.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Drawings: Some of Ft. Myers Beach Art Association Members

This morning I went to Fort Myers Beach Art Association and met some of their members. While trying to be familiar with their available equipment and getting to know them, I did find time to grab a few sketches. Even though in summer time, the FMBAA members have stopped some activities like portrait session or plein air. Most members came on Wednesday and Thursday to work from their morgue. My friends Pauline and Ida were every kind to show me to the shrimp boats and market near the island. I felt so happy to find something which was full of natural beauty and close to life that I decided to do plein air painting next Wednesday there. I have also attached one of the pictures I took of the dock for you to see below.



Monday, August 5, 2013

Ink Wash: Shoe Shiner on 5th Ave.

It is pretty hot these days in Florida. Most artist organizations have stopped doing en plein air painting except Plein Air Florida. I may still go out with them, sometimes. In addition to portrait sessions, I started to pull out  resources from my morgue and do some ink wash which I always enjoy doing. Here is the first one of the series I plan to do for the week to come.

Friday, August 2, 2013

En Plein Air: Shell Point, Fort Myers, FL

Today I went with Fort Myers Beach artist group to Shell Point to do plein air painting. Shell Point was a gated neighborhood on the Caloosahatchee River. It was a beautiful self contained subdivision with almost all kinds of services inside, even a church. Since it was so close to the estuary of the river, when I was painting, I saw in its brackish water dolphins and manatees. Of course, it was not the natural country scenes I usually painted. However, I thought the palm tree trunks sort of expressed an interesting kind of rhythm.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alla Prima Portrait: Gene

This morning I went to Punt Gorda to paint together with the Portrait Studio group. Today's model is Gene, a very nice gentleman who told me that he was in his 80s, but certainly didn't look it. He seemed to be very healthy and physically strong. He told us he was flying his plane not long ago. Everybody liked him. He donated to the Center what he earned by sitting for us as a model. His wife Nancy also volunteered at the Center and worked at the library. Hope you like my painting. Gene liked his portrait and said he could easily picked it out of a lineup. I took it as a compliment.