Monday, August 23, 2010
LESSONS AND POINTS OF NOTE FROM BATH MARATHON 1
These are just a few of my personal ramblings, I learnt, experienced and possibly just learned again during my first Marathon of 6” x 8” paintings at Bath.
There are always things to learn on this journey and I am sure by the time I complete the 4th or 5th Marathon I would have really gained a full insight into the REAL life of a plein air painter.
1. HARDWORK- Nothing pays more than this!
2. DISCIPLINE- Waking up very early in the morning and having a bath twice a day isn’t easy, at least for me, it wasn’t!
3. QUIET TIME- Starting each day with God in prayer and Bible study is important, nothing should stop this!
4. EVANGELISM- (VERY PERSONAL)Sharing the Good news with people should be more of my day to day life, I enjoyed this at Bath and in the 2nd Marathon, a guy I gave the “light of hope” saw me again and was very appreciative.
5. ABILITY TO DRAW- Call this draughtsmanship or whatever you want, but this one element drives me nuts still! Sometimes my state of mind helps me to do this better; sometimes I am just too lazy to get it right. But the thing about it is simple-If it is not right, even a child would know it! So I am still learning this act and it is my prayer I GET A GOOD HANG ON IT! Nothing can work in representational painting without this.
6. QUALITY OF PAINT-Using Artist’s quality colours pays off to the CORE! There are some effects and proper mixing that can only be done with Artist Quality Paint.
7. COLOUR-Knowing how to mix what one sees with the limited colours on the palette during plein air is a blessing. I need to research deeper in Richard Schmid’s colour chart system to understand the POTENTIAL of the 11 colours on my palette.
8. AN EASEL WITH AN UMBRELLA- I regret not having one. I missed out on so much in Bath just by not being prepared for the rains. Need to order one that fits my current one from Judson’s!
9. QUALITY BRUSHES-Unless you do your entire painting with palette knives, this is the ONE THING that can set you up for failure even before you start. The GOOD ones are EXPENSIVE! One needs quality brushes for this expedition. There’s no way on earth that one can do anything without this. Sometimes I want a straight line without the ruler and the success of this would depend so much on the quality of the brush. If you are working on 6” x 8” like I am then you are going to need to need some solid riggers, and they get worn out so easily with use when outdoors!
10. STRANGERS- Never underestimate anyone who peeps at your back while working. I met a couple, who one of them had seen me paint before and then both got talking to me on another occasion, they have a house full of paintings(Perfect Collectors)-now they have my business card and a good relationship.
11. BUSINESS CARD- Having one with the gallery where one shows their paintings for sale is important. I didn’t have this and had to keep saying, “....The Bath Gallery on Bridge Street....”I must have said that a thousand times after being asked, “.... and where do you show your work?”
12. INSPIRATION FROM ARTISTS-Before setting out I normally read books, posts or articles by some of my living artist motivators. If I lack time I just look at their paintings to see how they solved problems with paint. Some of my constant checks are. Ken Howard, Peter Brown, Marc Bohne, Jennifer McChristian, Zhaoming Wu, Scott Christensen, Kevin Macpherson, Trevor Chamberlain, David Curtis,Ben Aronson, Richard Schmid(I take his book on “ALLA PRIMA-Everything I Know About Painting” as Painting Bible.)Neil Pinkett, Julian Merrow Smith Marc Hansen. There are many others but for this subject matter I cut them down to these few.
13. COMFORTABLE FOOTWEAR- I need better comfortable outdoor boots. The ones I have are fine but ache a bit. When sitting or standing for a long time the worst thing it to have your feet ache.
14. EDGES-Though not mentioned earlier, the edges in painting are SO Important! Sometimes there’s nothing wrong with a piece, apart from the edges, they are either too hard or too soft. A good mixture and appropriate balance is vital to show the essence and appearance of reality on a 2-dimensional surface.
15. A GOOD EASEL OR POCHADE BOX-Hmmmmm this one is worth knowing but unless you have tried one and it failed you won’t know. So I’ll say TRY out different ones and never stick to one if it develops problems along the way. My main goal is to have one that won’t fall apart with hard core usage, and from number 31-79 the Guerrilla 6” x 8” Box I have has been brilliant.
16. KNOWING SHELTER SPOTS WHERE ONE CAN PAINT WHEN THERE IS BAD WEATHER- This is great to know. Because on rainy days they can become a haven of respite.
17. GOOD TO KNOW IF YOUR HOTEL ROOM HAS A GOOD SIGHT OF THE CITY URBANSCAPE- Again, this is good to ask when booking because on bad days you can just paint from the comfort of your room. I did this twice during my 1st Marathon, but I had to quickly use empty rooms with the permission of the staff because my room view was crap.
I hope to share more after my 2nd marathon, as I write I have already learnt so much from some PITFALLS I could have avoided but that’s why painting outdoors is SO CHALLENGING!
Stay tuned as I'll be posting Day 1-4 of my 2nd Marathon in Bath