Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Today was one of those days when we felt like we were losing. Breakfast was egg and sausage burritos for me and a coffee. 

Tim had the O.j. and Bagel sausage doo-wabi. It was supposed to get hot today and we weren't disappointed at all. 

After driving down near the river and finding no places that seemed to inspire us we drove back into Peru to stop at a spot Gary Nichols had shot of a building with some pretty unique colorations. It was the old Baber's Auto part store. The building is in pretty bad shape and the fellow who has an office next door said if you're going to paint it you'd better hurry up it isn't going to be around much longer. So I got started and the temperature unknown to me started climbing. Tim sat across the parking lot working o the old jail house. I complained to him how bad the painting was going.I don't think I was inspired and the weather was drying my paint too fast to allow me to blend it on the canvas. 
     Today I felt like I had left painting behind me in the dust. I hated what I was doing and Tim said about the same thing. This ones (choice for the subject)  too hard with too many details in the and around the building. This is what I ended up with. Not too happy with it.
This allowed me to keep the sun off of my neck the rest of the day Charlie of Arabia?

We went back to Tim's house to try our hand at a painting after we rested up.The heat sapped us both so a short nap, me in the rocker and Tim on the futon was perfect. 20 minutes later we headed down to the pond. The morning had really dampened our spirits. However, Carolyn loved the building that I did so I gave it to her. It was still hot and muggy too so I stopped under some willows and Tim went to the other side of the pond to paint near the his flat boat pulled ashore. Things seemed to go a little better as I turned off the idea that I was making a painting I was here to enjoy myself. I tried to get into my head that I was at Giverny, France. Well  it worked as long as I kept the thinking part out of it and let the feeling part of me wield the brush. Here's how it turned out. Real impressionistic...Monet would be smiling.
Tim's was a success too. I think he was a little more inspired after the nap and the promise of a cold beer waiting for both of us when we finished. Carolyn bless her heart was like my grandmother and probably yours. She loves everything we do. 

"Oh that is so nice," she says. I don't know if she is being nice or she really likes it Nevertheless it's 'pa..raise' and we'll take it.  Here's Tim' pastel of the lake looking east.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Black Flies, A Two-Fer, and A Longneck

Hi, you ravenous art lovers. It's the twosome again...painting our way across northern Indiana. Wow, what a day, tops was 84 degrees with a breeze comparable to Cancun. Okay, how about Calhoun, IN. Tim had the reigns today so he had to pick our painting spot today. Did I tell you he likes to drive around? No matter we see a lot of country and we are always amazed the the D.N.R. hasn't passed a mandate that an "artist-pull-off "shouldn't be maintained every six or seven miles. We spot some great scenery but hell it's a half mile to trek back to the spot with chairs, paints, canvases and water jugs. So we finally find a spot on the river which a few days ago was underwater. The rocks are slippery with mud and the tree routes exposed. A cool spot under  maples and sycamores was where we set up for the next hour. I selected the general direction of the bridge at Lewisburg while Tim moved downstream and really honed in on the bridge structure. I have to say he nailed it today. Mine was satisfactory but that damn water color..greenish-grey-tanny-brown. I had about five or six colors mixed up, squinting, trying to pinpoint the exact color of the Wabash full of mud and field run-off. While we were painting some guy drove to the middle of the bridge and dropped a bucket on a rope line. Dipped and filled it and pulled it back up. He did this again and we could only guess he was looking for a spot to start a 'mountain-fresh' bottled water company. How about Sunnies H2O or Aqueduct Blue?
We finished up and still it was only 11AM. We decided to try one more. Tim opted for an ice cream but I was still belching my Sausage Egg Mc'Fluf'fun. I wonder how that stuff starts it's life out? Sausage from the Rhinleand, Eggs from China., and muffins made in jolly olde England. A slab of chemo-cheese from Wisconsin, North Dakota.

Packed up we head for town,Circus Town that is.By the way the Circus is over and the only remaining residue is the grease drenched sidewalks from the Elephant Ears. A person of unknown name  told us that she was just going downtown for a Lion's Club tenderloin and an Elephant Ear,... everyday? I thought. That's a whole story in itself as I worked in one of those wagons along time ago as a pinch hitter 'til the guy returned. You have to get the grease super hot. Crisco or Corn oil or some other high engine temperature oil, I prefer Quakerstate 10W40.
Once this is reached the batter, a secret for every Elephant Ear wagoner...yeah it's just an old Indian Fry Bread recipe: 1 cup flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp baking soda, 1 Tbs sugar, and a little water or milk as needed. Throw this in a blender. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Ready to pour the batter in that hot grease swirling it as you pour.

 Remove a few minutes later after it puffs up and sprinkle liberally with powdered sugar or granular sugar and cinnamon. MMMM-Good. ....Burp! 
We set up behind the old Kuepper Favor Co. since Tim wants to paint something 'industrial.'  Okay this is not strictly industrial as they make paper party napkins and spin wheels for birthday parties but the buildings are old manufacturing and grocer warehouses from the late 40's. Now that you've been in our head for the last ten minutes here's the art we promised.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Overhang Ninety Four

Today the thermometer looked promising. However, we live in Indiana and it's Circus Days. Ever since I moved to this Midwestern twin Circus Days meant the seven hottest day of the year. After breakfast I was doing the driving and I knew exactly where we were going to paint today. By water that is the Wabash. Near the old coon hunters lodge, my gosh what a name. The river drops from the dam and there is an overlook that's positively historic. The overlook is the Seven Pillars overlook.

Tim edged out onto a ledge where the layered limestone is broken loose from the parent rock. He sets up looking like he'll go over should the rock let go. I'm a little more careful setting up back a ways from the edge but can still see east down the river. This is a great view. I'm not in the sun yet, but about twenty minutes later it's bearing down on me. Little did I know I was getting dehydrated. I finished up by an hour and a half. Tim was still working with his singsong tone " you win some you lose some."

I close up, load the car and walk out on the ledge to see how Tim is doing. He is putting in a few last strokes and called it quits. Let me get a picture, let me see your pastel. Tim held it up and it looked good just needed a little tweaking is all. I think the heat was getting to us. I felt sick to my stomach and Tim was ready to go some place cooler. We drove on back to the farm. He had stacked a bunch of boards against a tree that his wife had painted. Damn that's really cool. Reminds me of an artists work I had seen at the IMA several years ago. Well that's a wrap. I'm going home and try to cool off. How about Monday. Sure Monday's fine you drive. I'll buy. Let's try somewhere else I'm getting tired of quiche.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Cafe du Cirque, Circus Wagons, Half Pint of Ice Cream and Rotting Mussels

It's Circus Week next week and that's why this wagon is here. Tim and I started this sultry day with a good breakfast at the Cafe du Cirque. Tim asked where we could paint and then he thought that he had seen these old circus wagons by the circus headquarters in Peru. The wagon master as I called him was in charge of getting these vintage wagons lined up for the premiere show tonight. An old friend saw us painting and stopped just after we had finished our art work on these two wagons. He took this picture. I had set up under a large sumac and Tim about five feet behind me. Just about five minutes into the painting the sun starts creeping through a branch here and there. The temperature started to climb when earlier it had been fairly nice out. Eventually, it climbed to 92 degrees by late afternoon. When  we finished these two
                                                                                                              pieces we decided on ice cream.

We couldn't decide where until to get it so  Isuggested we go to the store and each get a half pint since a scoop in town was about the same price. That sounded like a good idea to the both of us. We sat outside the store under an awning and ate our ice cream talkin' to all the locals like two old retired guys which we are. Life is great. After the ice cream break I suggested we go down the river on the southside and Tim said that's what he was thinking too. Well that was settled. He drove about a quarter mile before I said "there,  pull over there." I could see the river was low and a small bridge we had just passed over was over Little Pipe Creek that emptied into the Wabash.
After we set up the deer flies started chewing on us. Nevertheless, we are hard headed plein air painters and we ain't gonna let some damn flies run us off. We were able to get two pieces almost done before Tim wanted to call it quits for the day. I think it was the 'fish' smell from all the mussels rotting that live in the Wabash. Such good runoff from the fileds around there from the pig manure fertilizer. Mussels just eat that up.  Here's the two we did.Mine topside
That's the Little Pipe Creek bridge (Tim's pastel). He nailed it.
Two art works each, a half pint of ice cream (vanilla and Cherry Garcia) plus a possible nap waiting for each of us this afternoon. Tim dropped me off.  How about Monday?  No, I have a Dr's appointment and new glasses to be fitted that about blows the morning and part of the afternoon was my reply. Oh yeah, I have an appointment too. Wednesday I suggested. Wednesday, then! We figured by Wednesday we'd be rested up enough to go another round of ice cream and a sit on the bench outside the store. Oh yeah, we'll get a picture or two done in the process. After all we aren't called  'philandtimpaintoutdoors' for nothin'.

Monday, July 12, 2010

R-U Guys Painting tomorrow?

Larry, you remember him from a few times ago? He called and asked if Tim and I were painitng. Sure, we'll meet at Cafe Cirque at 8. Great I'll meet you there. At eight I pull up at the Cafe Cirque run bt a Chris Arrick son of a few friends on mine from the old days...St.Charles. Anyway they fix a mean ham cheese and potatoe quiche and good coffee. Sorry Tracks End my liver and vena cava was starting to look like a milkshake coated test tube. I know that's pretty gross for breakfast time but I wanted you to know where I'm coming from. We all arrive about the same time. Tim first and then Larry. Yup, Chris it's quiche all around Larry's turn next time...and no lobster thermidor. No, they don't have that on the menu. Larry is filling us in on what's going on in Mathews with the kids and his wife. They have one coming in August. I think Larry wants to hang out before the big date. Dana is a saint. They both are a great couple with the baseball team of youngsters. That's something you only hear from the old days. I was from a family of six kids. My cousins about the same number. Anyway we gobble down the quiche and a liter of coffee each and finish up just before nine. Since I'm driving I call the spot and I've got a 'beaut' today. They baled some hay just outside of town in small field surrounded by pines and the sky is a melacholy gray with white clouds. The temperature is pretty nice too. I've been studying Milton Avery on and off for some time and a woman artist I met in Santa Fe, Gigi Mills, when my wife and I took our very cool vacation. I really like her work. So I have three canvases today and Tim I think is set up for two pastels. Larry bless his soul is settin' up one of those English watercolor thigamabobs that you put your paper on and a tray holds the paint and brushes. Travel light Larry. Anyway he's setting this thing up and I think it reminds me of when Captain Nemo comes out of the sub and starts jabbing a harpoon into the giant squid. I know I'll catch some flack for saying all of this.... but Larry is really a good painter and a serious one. I just can't help my 'orneryness.' We paint for a few hours and then I have to leave for an appointment in town and since our router went out I have to work on my classes for Tuesday so I can't paint anymore today. Tim and Larry continue afer Tim also has a meeting in town and later I get a call from them...."We are eating ice ceam in Wabash and we did some more paintings, you should have stayed." Sorry guys I have these two college classes each week and it takes some planning to cover them especially when I can't use the computer the last two days. Okay enjoy your ice cream. I think they wanted me to know they stayed with it and got ice cream. Hmmmm. I'm going to post the paintings we did just after this so the first is Larry's then Tim's and then my three small morning ones. Hey, it was fun. Larry after the baby comes in August I'm going to eat ice cream for a whole week and think of you wrestling the kids into the car or the tub or wherever. Anyway come on along next time when philandtimpaintoutdoors. Maybe, we'll stop for ice cream.

Saturday, July 10, 2010


The day looks like rain in the west and it is muggy. Tim calls and is on the way. We head for the Tracks End. But folks, its on to Cafe Cirque on Monday. We have to watch our cholesterol intake. We finish and the windshield is dotted with small spit drops of rain. This reminds me, a small yellow finch, a female is in love with her reflection in my Scion's side mirror. This is day four she has been looking at the mirror and then flies right into the closed window, BAM. The side door is covered with bird droppings. I think it knocks the scat right out of her. We get in and Tim drives into town so that I can drop off a piece of equipment...He drives around a little and heads for the R.R. bridge facing Broadway. The sky is dark in the south and the rain is spitting. Tim says his pastel paper is spotting. Let's stick it out...I reply. So we set up and I lay down a layer of white gesso over a skech of myself on the cnavas 11"x14"...never finished beyond the acylic line drawing.

The humidity is 100% as I lay in colors over a drawing into the wet gesso. The colors blend into the white and are pastel like a watercolor. I learned watercolor first as a painting medium when I was in college. It wants to come out of me and take over the canvas. I decide why not it's too wet too build any strong color today. The threat of rain is still very real. As I paint the sun breaks through adding to the humidity which is now hovering around 115%. Tim is quiet today. I think he is in the zone. The time goes fast. How you coming, Tim asks. I'm just about done maybe 5 minutes. I smell the fixative. He's finishing. I am outlining a few shapes with a pthalo blue and sienna...yes it looks more like a watercolor. It also flattens out into a pattern as this is more of what I see in front of me.Tim on the otherhand grew up in Peru. His pastel looks like a long perspective down Broadway. Great job you guys. Time to head for home and open a few cold Dark Ambers. I also bought some chicharones that you pop in the microwave. "Chicharones?" What else, hot pork rinds and beer. Well we'll start tomorrow on that cholesterol watch. Okay? K.