Friday, December 18, 2009

Hot Landscape

I spent the past four days in South Australia, painting at Jacqueline Coates' Salon Rouge Gallery while my daughter Karen and her boyfriend Greg took the hire car and toured the wine country in the Barossa and Clare Valleys there. Karen and Greg are visiting on their break from Norweigian Cruise Lines Pride of America, which sails around the Hawaiian islands and where they work as bar managers. The weather was fine on arrival, but got hot and hotter each day we were there. Working with encaustics in the gallery was a good sort of experience, akin to being in a sauna (dry heat !).

Jacqueline had other people doing encaustics too, so the first two days we spent in a workshop. I stayed on to paint landscapes in oils on Wednesday.

It turns out Wednesday was really hot. 40C at least ! (that is 104 F if you are American, yes, pretty hot). But we prepared things and went out to find a scenic view to paint in the countryside. Here is what we found, a lovely farm scene with some rolling hills in the background, hay bales, an old rusty roofed farm building, and some trees, vineyards, and fields. A fence line in the foreground with some nice purple wild flowers (maybe weeds ?). We set up easels and paints, turps, medium at the shoulder of a country road and worked on painting. Jac works much faster and more confidently than I do...but she has a lot more experience and skill too.

This was a bit of adventure, for me anyway...we got visits from flies (once I started to perspire, they came after my face and neck !), bugs got into the oil paint, on easel and also on painting !, I had some sunscreen and also borrowed a hat for awhile, before its string (to keep it from flying away) broke. Sunnies for sure, it was bright out. And winds were high and at times something to manage in the face of. Occasionally big trucks would whiz by on the road.

I did ok for almost an hour and a half. As you can see from the large pic above (which you can see closer up if you double click it), I used a palette knife and put the paint on thicker in places. And then the heat got to me, I really felt it, started to make some mistakes, and experience some frustration. And I had forgotten to sunscreen my hands and also feet, and one foot got pretty sunburned. Not the plan and I definitely felt it. But my painting was Almost Done, so just small things, for another 10 minutes past that, which felt like forever...but made a good difference. Jac is an excellent teacher and had some good critique and tips for me to finish this off, so we could pack up and escape the heat.

See my finished painting above ! I accentuated the rolling of the hills and also used bolder colors than I might have thought to use, which was a positive thing for me, and was pretty happy with the experience and the result.

The painting is drying at Salon Rouge and will travel here by post when dry enough. You can see we had different vantage points for this painting session. And I can tell you those hay bales are harder to paint than they look, at least they were for me ! Painting landscapes out on location like this is not as easy as it might look...

More tomorrow, with a post on some really interesting encaustics painting I did at Salon Rouge Gallery earlier this week.

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