Saturday, December 18, 2010

From the field to the studio...

"Standing Artist"
circa 1845-47
John Kensett
My love of history and art mesh as one when it comes to plein air painting, especially early American plein air painting history as exercised through the Hudson River School. The Hudson River School wasn't a school but an art movement during the mid-19th century embodied by a group of landscape painters whose aesthetic vision was influenced by romanticism. The paintings for which the movement is named depict the Hudson River Valley and the surrounding area, including the Catskill, Adirondack, and the White Mountains; eventually works by the second generation of artists associated with the school expanded to include other locales. Hudson River School paintings reflect three themes of America in the 19th century: discovery, exploration, and settlement. The paintings also depict the American landscape as a pastoral setting, where human beings and nature coexist peacefully. Hudson River School landscapes are characterized by their realistic, detailed, and sometimes idealized portrayal of nature. 
Thomas Cole's Sketch Box
circa 1840

The artist Thomas Cole is generally acknowledged as the founder of the Hudson River School. Cole took a steamship up the Hudson in the autumn of 1825, the same year the Erie Canal opened, stopping first at West Point, then at Catskill landing where he ventured west high up into the eastern Catskill Mountains of New York State to paint the first landscapes of the area. The first review of his work appeared in the New York Evening Post on November 22, 1825

Cole's close friend, Asher Durand, became a prominent figure in the school as well. With the advent of photography, the need for realistic renderings gave way to the sublime as landscapes took on a more spiritual feel. There was no need to capture what a scene looked like, photography could do that, more emphasis was put on the mood, light, and feeling the artist gained from the scene and being in nature. This was the goal of the second generation Hudson River School painters (my favorites) like Frederic Church, John Kensett, and Sanford Gifford.

John F. Kensett
in his studio, 1864.
In gathering the visual data for their paintings, these artists would travel to rather extraordinary and extreme environments, the likes of which would not permit the act of painting in some cases. During these expeditions, plein air sketches and memories would be recorded and the paintings would be rendered later, upon the artists' safe return home. They would do their finished works in the studio from their sketches.

I recently returned from my own painting expedition in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina in September. I was accompanied on this journey with two of my artist friends, Mitchell Morton and Stephen Greer. The three of us and several other plein air artists had the pleasure of studying at the Florence Thomas Art School under the master artist, Tony Griffin.  

Artist Tony Griffin giving plein air
demo at the Florence Thomas Art School.
A blog post a mile long could be wrote about Tony concerning his art training, his artwork, and his workshop but I'll save that for another day. Of all the gems I brought home from his workshop the greatest was this... to capture the essence of the scene! With Tony's guidance I learned to simplify... before his workshop, I was putting too much emphasis on getting a finished painting. Tony taught me that plein air painting is a a gathering of color notes, a simplified composition, and a spiritual experience. I can still hear him saying... "Observe, Mix, and Apply" while I work at my easel. Thanks Tony! 

Bernie plein air painting along the New River.

Taking what I have learned from Tony Griffin and the Hudson River painters I now use my plein air pieces as studies for studio works. I am not so concerned about getting a finished painting in the field anymore. Below is one of the plein air paintings I did during the workshop. The scene is set along the New River in one of Tony's hidden spots.

Plein air oil sketch by Bernie Rosage Jr.
Along the New River, Glendale Springs, NC.
September 2010.
Below is the finished studio piece worked from the above sketch with the exercise of a little artistic license.
"Blue Ridge Afternnon"... 11x14" acrylic on canvas by Bernie Rosage Jr., 2010.

Thanks for dropping by... would love to hear your comments.

1) The Painted Sketch: American Impressions from Nature 1830-1880

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Maymont - towards the James #408

11x14 on linen canvas - painted en Plein Air during morning of 11/22/2010 - View from behind the stone barn towards James River below. Beautiful fall day, but occasional gusty winds kept you on your toes....this one also has a few embedded bugs in residence.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fishing Bay Sparkle #407

The sun is low at this time of the year causing the water sparkle to stay surprisingly constant during the day while it slowly moves towards the right.

8x10 on linen - painted en Plein Air in the morning hours of 11/20/2010 from the forecastle of our sailboat. Typically in this view line several sailboats are at anchor, but left for warmer waters earlier.

I started using driers last week to speed things up. Not wanting to use fast drying whites (washes out colour) I opted for a clear Gamblin product called Galkyd Lite, because its also a medium it sets up enough for over painting and wash glazes. Wind helps dry it a bit too. It would take several sessions to get this particular look otherwise.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Late Evening at Ft Myers Beach

This 12 x 12 plein air painting was done the first evening I painted last week. It's for sale.
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Sandra Participating in the Quick Draw

On the beach behind the Holiday Inn were many "sand" activities. Here I'm shown trying to capture a professional artist building a lovely sandcastle. I got carried away with the onlookers and didn't finish the sandcastle that was being built.
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Look at Us


Susie Covert, Sandra, Durinda Cheek, and Ruth Cox stand in front of the Plein Air Festival Tent in Ft Myers Beach, FL on November 11, 2010.
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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Maymont - Italian Gardens #405

11x14 on linen canvas - painted en Plein Air 11/15/2010 - Gray day with broken sun

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Painting in the Quick Draw at Paint the Beach

From November 8th -14th 2010 Fish-Tale Marina, Santini Marina Plaza and the Fort Myers Beach Art Association sponsored a Plein Air Art Festival. Here I am painting the last day. These paintings were entered in a contest.
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Maymont - Italian Gardens #402

11x14 Oil on linen - Painted en Plein Air 11/11/2010 at Richmond's Maymont Park - The Italian Gardens were freshly planted a few days before. Sunny and reasonably warm - I used Naples yellow in place of white - very effective at reducing colour. I did a quick 8x10 study of the far fountain on 11/8/2010 in preparation (top) using titanium white

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Maymont - Fountain study #401

8x10 Oil on linen canvas - Painted en plein Air 11/10/2010 at Richmond's Maymont Park the fountain is located close to the Hamilton Street entrance.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Maymont - fall study #397

Fall colours are in full swing here in Richmond - Painted en Plein Air 11/6/2010 - This view is near the Maymont Park Hamilton St. entrance.

I'm in the process of selecting a number of views for a 12-month series showing the different seasonal moods at Maymont.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Bernie takes a time trip....

I donned 1860's period attire two weekends in a row portraying a civilian plein air artist. Last weekend Olivia and I attended the Civil War reenactment at Fort Branch. The weekend before Olivia, my grandson, Christian, and I attended a Living History program at Hammocks Beach State Park. The three of us are pictured above.
Here I am working from my small cigar box pochade box painting an old house on the grounds of Fort Branch near Hamilton, NC. Marsha Harris took this photo of me while I was painting.

Here's the 6x8" finished painting from the sitting. Olivia met some friends and they all played in the old house while I painted it.

I met some nice people as well and had many interesting conversations while painting. One was Tom Whelan, a photographer who was kind enough to share these photos with me. Thanks again Tom!

As I was painting I used the "Complementary Color" technique where I paint the opposite color to what I see in the first stage. The spectators that dropped by while I was working this stage must have scratched their heads and asked themselves, "What kind of drug is this guy on?"

I chose an more intimate setting for my painting on Sunday morning. This 8x10" painting is a view across the field where the battle took place later that afternoon.

At the Hammocks Beach Living History program I portrayed a younger Claude Monet and gave a demo on plein air painting.
In 1863 Monet discovers Manet's painting and paints "en plein air" in the Fontainebleau forest for the first time. My age and impression are closer to Monet as seen in his self portrait painted in 1886 posted here.

The day was full of excitement!

I gave my finished painting to Charlie Wilton who commanded the artillery battery in above photo.
Two GREAT weekends spent with old and new friends, Olivia, and Christian, topped with plein air painting... PRIMO!

Koi at Maymont #395

Painted en Plein Air with (VPAP) Virginia Plein Air Painters, (OPA)Oil Painters of America sponsored Paint-out at Richmond's Maymont Park October 30, 2010.

(top) 24x30 on linen panel (largest to date) of the Japaneses gardens - the pond, of course full of spoiled Koi was perfect, because of my current Koi and Lilies series.

(bottom) 14x11 on linen - detail study

My location, under a small structure made it difficult to see my palette much less my canvas. I should have moved, but it was the best Koi viewing spot.....stuck with it vowing never to do it again!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Belmont - paintout #386

I started painting en Plein Air again with a fledgling Plein air group called Virginia Plein Air painters from Richmond, Va. My first paint-out was at the Gari Melchers (American painter - first part of 19th century)1790 Historical home and studio called Belmont located near Fredericksburg, Va.

It was a great day, well attended and I completed (2) panels both 8x10 - this one sold later to one of the members

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Daily Painting 1175 SOLD Beachcomber Tortoise Plein Air

SOLD I did this at the Inlet State Park its 8 x 10 inch oil. It was beautiful out, a perfect day.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Daily Painting 1174 Cottages at Edenlawn Plantation Plein Air Alla Prima

Its oil, 8 x 10 inches on masonite. I went to Edenlawn this morning and had a nice time, got pretty hot in the afternoon, around 87 degrees. Wore me out! $200.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Enchanted Morning, landscape with lilies and egret

"Enchanted Morning"

About This Painting:
This painting is from last week. This great egret kept posing for us at White City Park. I hope to do a few more paintings of him from the pictures I took. I think this is the most wonderful place I have ever worked at out on location!

Ready to frame.
Media: acrylic on canvas
Size: 8 in X 10 in (20.3 cm X 25.4 cm)
Price: $200 USD
To see more originals: click here to see my gallery page.

Daily Painting 1169 SOLD Ocean View Plein Air Alla Prima

SOLD I painted this today from life, sold it hot off the easel! :o) Its 5 x 7 inches on masonite.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Daily Painting 1168 Pads 'n Palms Plein Air Alla Prima

There is a little story about the palm trees, the two behind the egret. Used to be three, there is the horizontal stump right in back of the bird. I painted that tree, oh maybe seven years ago with the other two, then it was taken out by hurricane Jeanne or Frances. The reason they grew like that is because they had gotten knocked flat by a hurricane years ago, then grew back towards the sun. Its oil on masonite, $200.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Daily Painting 1166 Vista at White City Park Pink Water Lilies

Here is another plein air painting I did at White City Park. The tan thing in the middle top is my easel. The painting is 8 x 10 inches, oil on masonite. Its sold! :o)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Daily Painting 1165 Great American Egret at White City Park

I painted this from life at White City Park. The egret was very tame and posed for me. The painting is 5 x 7 oil on masonite. Its sold! :o)

Below see me and my paintings at the orchid show, I won second place! The top two next to me are mine.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Daily Painting 1164 Lovely Day at White City Park Plein Air Alla Prima

Went painting again in White City park, it was a wonderful day, lots of birds and squirrels.

The painting is oil, on masonite 8 x 10 inches, Its sold! :o)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

"At the Park"

About This Painting:
Had wonderful paint-out in Fort Peirce with Lori McNamara -- Everything was bright and colorful. It was my first time out in a few months. A cool breeze, warm sunshine, lilies blooming, and all kinds of birds posing right in front of me.... Got a lot of great pictures while I painted this scene. Totally enjoyed myself.
Thanks for looking!

Ready to frame.
Media: acrylic on canvas
Size: 8 in X 10 in (20.3 cm X 25.4 cm)
Price: $175 USD

To see more originals: click here to see my gallery page.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Daily Painting 1157 Water Lily Day Plein Air Alla Prima

I went out painting with fellow Daily Painter Fawn McNeil Barr today.
It was wonderful! Hundreds of water lilies, all shades of pink,
white and bright fuchsia,
they were growing all over.

...I did one painting, was going to do more but this big egret came walking by,
right in front of me,
he was catching blue dragonflies!

Then some ibis came along too,
I just sat and watched and took photos.
I figured I could paint from them.
I am thinking if I paint these things,
nobody will believe me,
big white birds and big pink waterlilies!
Not too hot or cold,
lovely breeze, just perfect.

The painting is oil 8 x 10 inches on gessoed plywood, I did it on site from life. $200.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tunnel Hill paint out

Cathy Cooksey working on a painting of historic downtown Tunnel Hill (GA).
Several members of the Art Alliance of North Georgia participated in a paint out during the annual "Battle of Tunnel Hill" Civil War reenactment. This painting sold the next day.
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