Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Paint Out on Sauvie Island

I can't believe it's been close to a year since I last posted here! Funny how work gets in the way of blogging. I just finished up storyboarding on the first season of Jake's Never Land Pirates coming soon to a television set near you from Disney TV Animation.

Back in June and July I took some vacation time and went up to Washington and Oregon to participate in some Plein Air painting workshops with Mitch Baird (www.mitchbaird.com.) The one in June was conducted at Beacon Rock on the Washington side of the Columbia River. The one in July was held on Sauvie Island near Portland. I'll post some photos from the Beacon Rock workshop as soon as I find them. Meanwhile, here's some pics from the Sauvie Island workshop.

July 17, 2010. After a two-hour demonstration by Mitch Baird we all spread out on this farm to set up and get to work. Mitch talked primarily about composition, shapes and values in painting. Those are a few of the important things I'd completely forgotten about. This is why I took the workshop - to re-learn what I'd forgotten. This is where I set up. I liked the sense of scale, the size of that tree next to the huge barn, the foreground elements in contrast to the distant background elements, the isolation.

Behind me was this great open farmland. Don't know what the crop was. We were all grateful to the owner for allowing us to go out onto his land and paint. We were careful not to spill anything.

July 18, 2010. Mitch leads the other five painters in our group of six to a new location on a different farm. Another two hour demonstration and then we each moved to a spot we liked.

A nice panoramic shot of the general location we were at. Great muted color, thanks to the overcast day.

This is where I set up, down the road a little and in the shade of a big tree. I liked the colors, the shadows, the path leading into the picture.

Sauvie Island is accessible by a single road over a single bridge. There's a burger joint close to that bridge, with a convenience store inside. The only other store of any kind on the island is next to that barn in the first picture. They sell farm-fresh vegetables, fruit and honey, all very locally produced. Essentially, the entire island in one big collection of farms owned by families who've been there for generations.

We didn't do any finished paintings in these workshops. We only had about 4 or 5 hours to work. Our focus was on applying the principles Mitch demonstrated to our own preliminary paintings. He wanted us to focus on composition, shapes and values. I could see some definite improvement in my work right away but I've yet to find the time to get down to working on a finished painting. Funny how a job always gets in the way of doing what you'd rather be doing. But it sure felt great to be outdoors, on a farm, painting again. Nothing like my gray cubicle at work.

Hey, look! I just found the painting I did from the above spot. This represents about an hour of work. It's on a 9" x 12" canvas panel and my scanner trimmed off about 1/2" on all sides, but it's enough to give you the idea.


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