Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Painting in the Great Outdoors at the Missisinewa Reservor

Tim, a retired railroad breakman and conductor, heads up the soft pastel division of this two man team. Phil, on the otherhand, is a semi-retired art teacher still slogging into a few college classrooms each term on several regional campuses. Ge's there to inspire everyday folks ages 18-50 to appreciate art. It's not the work Idislike so much as the comments I get from my students. "The book is too large to read and do you expect us to take a test without our books?" So we both need to get away out into the natural unpopulated world to ply our respective art forms once or twice a week and taste ahhh... 'nirvana.' We have braved rain storms with potentially deadly lightning strikes inches from our shelter. Unbelieveable noise pollution in a small nearby town which boasts of the Honeywell Center and the occassional mosier/onlooker who drones on about a sundry neighbor or aunt who paints or at least he thinks she still does.

On this common artistic ground we drive off at nine in the morning headed today for the reservoir at Missisinewa. A now long water filled valley was damed up by the Army Corps of Engineers as their solution to flooding downstream ofseveral towns to the west. As it flows from the Little Miami to the Wabash and later into the Ohio the reservoir holds back these land eating rivers. As one can see much of the land is a recreational venue for boaters, skiers, and fisherman. Fishermen who by the droves on both sides of the spillway snag whatever they can. We have decided today to pull into a little parking lot which is close to the water, as we can get, as we will have to carry chairs and supplies downhill along with water and 'chair' easels and then back up again when we have finished our 'objets d'art.'

This time Tim's wife has decided to join us as she is a avid, no..., an addicted rock collector.Tim and I move down to the end which is least occupied. Only by a couple fishing for crappie and silver bass whom we hope not to disturb. Don't want to scare the fish. I find a nice rock to support myself not too hard on the butt and another to set my board on. I carry a pail of bottles of acrylic colors which also will be used after I dump out the bottles for water for cleaning my brushes. I usually have to sit for a while for my mind to stop and for the place to get a hold of me. Today the water and stones have gotten my attention along the edge. Tim has already set up and is skecthing on his pastel stock paper in pencil, a basic division of spaces on the paper's picture plane. He works as if he goes into a trance moving between his board and his box of soft pastels in the hundreds.

Me on the other hand use an assortment of hog brislte brushes from an 1/ 8" round to a 1/4 " filbert and some larger 1" flats. These brushes have seen lots of better days but I still find it a challenge to wrestle out a painting with these old soldiers. I use a rarified palette (a few colors) of turquiose,Cad. red med., and Cad yellow deep. It's not that I don't use other colors but for the time being I have been painting like a Fauve with errant color planes and brush drawing for defintion.

A considerably constant click, click, click becomes the backdrop of Tim's mosaic style rendering of the landscape, him stuck with his characteristic fisheye view of much of what he paints. His work is filled with hundreds of colors from warm greens ,magentas, purples, oranges and deep blue outlines rolled across the surface in a drawing style and filled with masses of these mosaic strokes running in one direction for most of the landscape. I also have been busy outlining general spatial divisions of my subject in burnt umber with a small brush which acts more like a 'drybrush.' Later, I begin laying in masses of colors mixed from puddles of color across and back again in the palette box running from purplish browns to acid yellow greens and cool slate violets. The challenge is to squeeze the maximum out of these few colors. White lately, never comes out of the color bucket.

I've failed to mention Carolyn's progress down the beach. She has filled three large cloth bags with some hefty stones and has a variety of piles sitting like dolmens around the end of the shore where the fishermen cast and reel like metronomes. After about and hour and a half, comes the critical time when stopping the art process is getting close. It's better to stop rather than killing the spontaneity of these non-thought out responses to the visual input we have been absorbing and interpreting. It's time to stop. Small weak strokes indicate that weve lost our purpose or focus and are nearing completion. We stop. Tim sprays his pastel with fixative while I wash brushes and dump my water out on the sand. I begin to load up the bottles of color acrylic and brushes drying each before banding them.

An initial "were going" is supposed to have Carolyn begin to 'circle-up' her piled stores of rocks and overfilled bags. We move back down the beach. She is still bending over finding just 'one more.' My only course of action is to warn her that if she doesn't start now heading up the hill with her ballast we'll be forced to leaver her. And not at all the next time. It is Tim and I who end up carrying the biggest load of stone to the car. As I'm going uphill I look back at Carolyn. "Do you know it's illegal to haul anything out of a state park without permission." A panic look shoots across her face. "I just hope a DNR ranger doesn't stop us before we leave the park."

Tim looks at me and smiles nodding his head. He knows how many rocks are sittin' in the yard, on the deck and in the living room, upstairs and strewn in neat piles around their seven acre gentleman's farm. We drive on home and sit in the sun critiquing each others work. We critique each as if it was our own and then we had to finish it. Just some suggestions perhaps each of us can take or leave. As I drive away Carolyn is dragging two large cloth bags of stone to the house towards the kitchen. Stone soup I wonder?

See you next outing in the Great Outdoors.

1 comment:

Phil and Tim Paint Outdoors said...

This is a refreshing blog to read. Can't wait for your next post. Xyz