Monday, April 23, 2012

At the Rickenbach's

Painting at the Rickenbach's was great for all of us. Like so many of the homes on St. Croix, theirs is gorgeous, unique, full of things that reflect their love of the island and their life here, and offering so so many things to inspire a painting. Whenever we go to a private home I'm always faced with the same decisions: Do I stick to my plein air "roots" and paint the view, the flowers, the pool, something in the house, some architectural feature of the house, the house itself, or one of the pets that I see, or do I stray from that, Possibly hurt the feeling of my host/hostess, and ignore what I am there to see and paint something in my head or even something I've already been working on that I want to finish? I spend a lot of valuable painting time before starting my painting, walking around and sometimes back again, to determine what I want to paint. I usually find something (sometimes too many things) that catches my eye. As I walk around, I spend a lot of time thinking! If I'm outside, I think about the sun: where is it right now? Where will it be in an hour? Will I have enough time in the shade to finish my painting? I think about the light: Is there enough light on my subject for me to see it clearly enough to paint it? I look at the sky and think about the weather: Are those clouds heading my way? What was the weather prediction for this morning? If we get a sudden downpour, will I be able to get my palette and painting under cover before they get damaged by the rain? Then I think about the wind: Will I have to worry about my painting or palette being blown over by some sudden gusts? If I'm inside, I think about the light in another way: Where is it coming from and is there enough of it for me to see what I'm doing? I think about my location: Am I going to have to keep moving my stuff because I'm set up in the "line of traffic?" Since I paint in oils, I also think about what I'm standing on: If I suddenly dropped a paint-filled brush or had a spill of one of my solvents, what would I be damaging? Could I easily clean it up? If I'm painting an animal, I think about how long it's going to stay in that position for me to capture it on my canvas. Whoa! Lots to think about, eh? When you think about all that thinking, it's a wonder I ever have time to start my painting! Ah, then there are more decisons: Composition, values, colors... When you look at the following pictures, keep all these thinking processes in mind and be amazed, as I always am, at the wonderful art that our group produces!

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