Saturday, October 3, 2015

Rain, rain go away

I prepared for Fallfest in Chapel Hill, NC for a week - wrapping each piece of art to protect them during the 10 hour drive. Driving my 4 cyl, 1996 Toyota and hauling a 4x8 foot trailer took longer than usual; without cruse control my right leg muscles were locked in position.

Rain was off / on without any real heavy downpours, which always creates white-knuckle fun. During the trip my family called to inform me of the bad weather conditions I was driving into. The hurricane was a possible threat since they forecasters couldn't agree on when or if it would collide with the east coast.

All art and craft shows state that their event will take place rain or shine so vendors either show-up or donate the cost of their booth space. Regardless of weather conditions I was going to show up in order to protect my investment.

Rain and wind started to become an issue on Friday so I called the contact number for the event to see if they were going ahead or cancel. I was told they would make a determination later that afternoon. With time on my hands I drove into Southern Pines, NC to visit with my art mentor, Frank Pierce. I removed some of the art from the rear of the trailer to show Frank and receive the head nod and smile indicating his approval.

Without uttering an critical word, he pulled a 8 x 20 inch piece of mat board from the trash and proceeded to demonstrate how he paints trees and their adjoining limbs. He handed me the brush and said, "your turn", before walking away. Throughout the afternoon we took turns adding elements to painting until we ran out of room.

I asked his gallery manager, Nancy, if she would check the Fallfest website and as expected they cancelled the event. They would refund the cost of my booth space, but the expense of driving from Florida to NC and back again would fall on me - worst yet, I wouldn't sell a painting.

Since my agenda was freed-up, I asked if the art lesson Frank usually offers on Saturday mornings was still on the calendar. It was cancelled, but the event they were going to attend was also dropped so we agreed to meet around 11 am to paint together and work on abstract art. Why? Because most interior decorators are looking for this type of art with various color combinations which works well with any room color scheme.

I emphasized I didn't want to stray too far from landscapes, which are my passion and fuels my creativity. From his small library of art books he selected a couple artist who paint abstract landscapes, which helped me visually grip the concept, but my real challenge would be training my mind to transition from realism to abstract.

A 18x24 inch canvas was purchased on my way to the gallery and Nancy kindly offered me the use of her paints. From one of the art books I selected a piece I could connect with and started to lay it out on the canvas. I had started painting in the sky as I usually do until Frank removed the brush from my hand. He proceeded to demonstrate the technique for painting abstracts. After a dozen or more strokes with a heavily laden brush he handed the instrument back to me and said, "have fun and remember big strokes with lots of paint".

I finished my project and Nancy offered me several 16 x 20 canvases to practice on - Frank grabbed on and I watched as he went crazy with bold colors and swirling shapes that seemed to flow from his creative center. When he finished I took the challenge and decided to capture a section of a wave using thaloblue and green, a touch of yellow and white. As I worked I became less connected to my work and decided to wipe the canvas and start over. While removing the paint I began to like the image that remained. I began working on new found image when Frank stopped by and commented he like my start, then proceeded to pickup a pallet knife and demonstrate its use in doing abstract art. Handing me the knife I debated between plunging it into his heart or into the mound of paint piled high on the pallet.

I decided on painting, a wiser choice. We then turned our attention to using acrylics rather than oils, since the drying time for acrylics allows the artist freedom continue working on his picture.

I'll post my work after I download the images from my i-pad.


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