Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hendrick Revisited with Plein Air Painters


It was a beautiful day today, too nice to stay indoors all day. I decided to head to Pizza Hut for my quarterly thin crust, meat lovers special and see what was happening at the Plein Air Painter gathering at Hendricks Park. Before I left I had to take this shot of our first tulip just outside the front door of our home.


Plein Air is all about painting outdoors and on location. Note the Jacki's wonderful French Easel that folds to become a Traveling Art Supply Box. This is all too cool and a tool of the trade for that Plein Air artist. It isn't just that the brushes, easel, paints and supplies that are cool it is the artists who create themselves over and over in their work. When we take time to look at their works we will see they create a little bit of us all.

Bets Cole gave a great description I used in my other blog called "Art for the Soul" and it is worth repeating here one more time.
Plein air painting requires an artist to contend with the difficulties of all the outdoor elements. Subject matter is often dictated by the weather and the seasons. The popularity of painting “en plein air” increased with the development of easily portable painting equipment. In the 1870’s paints packaged in metal tubes were introduced. Previously, each painter made their own paints by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. The French Box Easel followed. These highly portable easels with telescoping legs and built-in paint box and palette, made treks into the forest and up the hillsides less onerous. Artists continued to develop ways to transport themselves and their supplies to distant and more remote landscapes.

Eventually, this new style of painting made its way across the Atlantic and into the art colony of Old Lyme, Connecticut. Childe Hassam, Willard Metcalf and Matilda Browne were some of the leading American Impressionist artists. The Canadian Group of Seven and California’s Society of Six became legendary. Over time other locations with particular beautiful qualities of light, notably the Pacific Northwest, have became havens for plein air painting.

In the United States today we are seeing a rekindling of interest in painting in the plein air tradition. Painters choose to paint outdoors for many reasons. Many times it is the challenge. Often, it is the delight in listening to the wind while watching the changing light. Many times it is an excuse to be outside; taking the time to observe the natural world. However, the end product (the painting) is not just one moment in time, it is a response to many. It is a record of time, a history of a landscape. ~ Bets Cole


There at Hendricks with Jacki was Shirley (I hope I got your name right) another Plein Air artist just starting her piece.


There was only one other artist painting when I got there so I walked around a little looking for photographic opportunities. Being me, it didn't take long to find something to photograph, like this curved park bench.


I even found a rock fountain. This one had a long hole running through the tallest rock pillar with water gushing smoothly through and over the top.


I took a closer look and you can see the "water bump" on the stone and see the water cascading over the top. I should mention I had to stand in the fountain to get this shot.


Hendricks Park is a beautiful place for a walk through the garden. It sits on a hill overlooking Eugene. In a short while Hendricks Park will become a rainbow of spring blooms mostly Rhododendron bushes. It is truly a sight to behold.

Before I left I went back to check the progress on Jacki's piece and it was really coming along and it was especially bright for a watercolor and wonderful to see. I hope I get to see the finished product one day.


Here I was ready to leave and get back home to pack for a new adventure in the Musemobile and along came Tom Turkey. He was taking a stroll through the park and staying on the trail. I heard one of the people in the park remark about the increasing number of turkeys in Oregon and that it seems to be a rather new and shocking phenomenon. I hope they meant this bird and not the photographer who moved here from Massachusetts.

Scrabble Score ~ Scrabble Queen withdrew (twice) it was definitely The Contender's Day

Quote of the Day ~
"While painting at Ghost Ranch, a dust storm came up and filled my wet canvas with sand and possibly the remains of many whose ashes had been sprinkled in the canyon, looking towards Pedernal Mountain where Georgia O'Keeffe painted so many times. There is nothing quite like painting en plein air." ~ Dee Beard Dean


1 comment:

Parapluie said...

I am writing down Hendrick's Park on my soon to do list when I vist Eugene this month. Your article excites me. I think I recognize Shirley too. Years ago she did a watercolor of Southwestern colored rocks and a pool. I think Shirley is much more spontaneous now. The way to go Shirley.

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