Friday, October 24, 2008

Roadside quick study

I stopped this afternoon because of a spectacular overcast light punctuated by little breaks that allowed the sun to penetrate and light up small portions of the landscape. This little clump of birch and willows were glowing like the Everyready Bunny itself had plugged it in... like a fall Christmas tree. The painters out there know that the most beautiful light shows in nature usually disappear right about the time you tear off a paper towel and lift up the first brush full of paint, ready to go. NO exception here. Having all the gear out I painted what was less than the inspiring sight that made me stop. Knowing that we are only going to get colder as each day goes by, I painted. Still good to be out painting. The title refers to a sign that was right in front of me out of the picture plane. Geese were coming in to the fields in the distance and a couple of ringed-neck roosters flew from behind me and right across my field of view. That made staying to paint worth it even more.


"NO HUNTING" - 8x10 - oil - © Marc R. Hanson 08

14 comments:

redredpres said...

Isn't that just the way it always seems to go. Sounds like you had a great experience anyway and a nice little painting to boot.

Anonymous said...

a burning bush!

Donna T said...

Really nice, Marc. I wish I had the confidence to just stop when I find this kind of scene. I'm too afraid to set-up and paint on my own, especially in rural areas. I'm glad the sign didn't say "No Painting".

Peggy Montano & Paintings said...

A beautiful painting. Like Donna, I have often wanted to stop the car,climb a fence and set up the easel.:-)

Theresa Rankin said...

Wonderful plein air...and the side show truly sounds great. Bravo for following your instincts!

redredpres said...

As a beginner plein air guy, I think it is great to hear you say that you were driving along and saw something and got out to paint it. I have a question for you that may be giving away trade secrets, and if so, feel free to ignore this. What do you carry with you at all times to make it possible to stop and paint on a whim? Do you carry a different set-up for every-day driving around or is it your complete set-up?

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Robin. Still enjoying the time I had in your neighborhood last month.

Donna, peggy, theresa... and robin...To talk to your points...and thank you-

It's true that any time painting is at it's core...great! That's despite the frustrations that are inherent in it. Someone mentioned just stopping, guess that's sort of how I put it across. But, I stopped because of an amazing situation that just didn't last long enough to paint. This is not an unfamiliar road to me. I roller ski in season daily on it and drive it almost once a day to get somewhere. The easement is almost two car widths wide, safe, and it's not isolated in the real sense. I recognize many of the cars, runners, bikers and pedestrians that come by while I'm painting. Those safety concerns are real and I keep them in mind always. Since moving up here where I live now, I would guess that I've probably painted 50 or so paintings along the eight miles of road that runs between me and the next town to the west. What is amazing to me, always, is that each and every day is so different that I don't see an end to the possibilities off of this one road. I have rolled along it on roller blades, Firestone tires, bike tires and my own two feet while walking or running over the last three years and never before has this little clump appeared to be interesting to me! Every day brings something new.

Robin your question is a good one, especially since I am not a painter with 'trade secrets' and am willing to tell you anything that I know enough about to be confident that it won't steer you in the wrong direction.

I almost always have my plein air gear in the car. That consists of a backpack, panel boxes with panels, a tripod and an EasyL umbrella and a Bogen articulated arm for clamping the umbrella. I find this one to be stronger in wind than the clamp that comes with the EasyL and have used the set up for about 2 years now with good results. That's all you'll see if you looked in my back seat. Below is what's inside the bag.

Inside the back pack is a lot of stuff. Either an EasyL or OpenboxM panel holder which both mount on the tripod. My brushes in a folding brush wallet, paints, thinner containers (MSR fuel bottles, one for clean OMS/one for dirty OMS, a small funnel for pouring the stuff), a brushwasher with spill proof lid (Holbein), paper towels, plastic bags, water, bug spray, sun block, Leatherman tool, various small sketch books and drawing supplies, and the clothing appropriate for the season. Besides the digital cam, that's about it. Hope that helps.

I think the biggest hurdle to being able to do this, stop on a moments notice, or to be out painting at all, is not being prepared, AND practiced with your gear. I know it is, and it's a mental hurdle, because it took me time to conquer this myself some time back. Once you can set up without thinking about your stuff at all, you'll start thinking more about what it is you're about to paint instead and that will put you miles ahead of where you were before.
Good luck.

Marc R. Hanson said...

I should clarify about the Bogen arm and EasyL umbrella. I've used white, black, black golf (one of my favorites, it's big), silver with black lining, and even a Russian canvas with blue lining on a 6 foot tall post...umbrellas over the years.
The bogen arm came with my small packable umbrella the 'collapsible umbrella' available commercially for painters. It's too small though and a little frail for windy conditions.
In my opinion black is better than white..IF... it's up high enough to allow some ambient light into your workspace. Otherwise black makes it too dark to see well enough to work in certain situations.
I'm not that tall, just under 6', but tall enough to have to crouch under the most of the umbrellas I've tried including the large Yarka.
Then I ended up with the Bogen arm, a fully articulated clamping system. It will hold an umbrella in wind in one position long after the umbrella reverses itself and the easel blows into the drink.
Then along came the EasyL a couple of years ago. It is wonderful. It has wind vents, is silver on the outside to refract the sun light and black on the inside to block light from coming through and creating 'hotspots' on the painting's shiny surface. It's large too for good coverage. It has three extending/ locking sections and can be raised more than high enough for taller painters to not have to crouch to be under. It's clever quality is a sliding shaft on the umbrella itself, designed to relieve the stress of the wind and preventing the wind from pulling over the easel. The umbrella moves first, not the easel. There is a little elastic cord that ties to the extension pole and the umbrella so that you don't loose it. And you will if it's not tied down...they fly very well. In fact it moves away from your easel very fast and we all remember Newton...For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. I'd adjust that to read "double action reaction!" because that thing can come flying back and take you out if you don't duck...I've seen it and experienced it personally. I digress...
The only thing that I'm not crazy about is the clamp that attaches the set up to your easel. I've found it is likely to let the umbrella fall in a wind, it's too weak. That's why I use the Bogen with this umbrella. It really holds.
However you can't clamp the pole of the EasyL into the Bogen tight or you will crush it, it's hollow aluminum. It sits on a post as designed so I first clamp a piece of 3/4" wood dowel into the Bogen and then set the EasyL extension pole onto that.
There's a "secret" let out of the bag! This is a great system to use.

redredpres said...

Thanks Marc. BTW - nice pumpkins.

Dianne Mize said...

We're all doing the same thing, this time of year, aren't we--chasing light. This is a lovely piece, by the way. You caught the light just right, almost in suspended animation of a sort.

Jennifer McChristian said...

ahhhhhh... such a beautiful and poetic rendition of Autumn at it's best....

Marc R. Hanson said...

Dianne...Thank you. Yes, chasing light and 'warmth' before it's gone!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hey Jennifer! How are you? I'm curious about the show in Monrovia...how did that all turn out? Hope it went well.
Thanks for your comments. I Really appreciate you stopping by. :)

Jim Pollock said...

Nice work Marc. My preferred media is watercolor because it is less messy when traveling. I do have an easel but many times I just use my little red stool and carry my WC paper and materials in a small bag. I can be set up and painting in minutes. Great stuff you do.