It's March and I'm restless as a bear in it's den about now. I've been in my den, my studio, for way too long, attending to details and deadlines, but this past week I decided that it was time for me to leave the Madness of the studio behind and head outside for some fresh paintable air. I'm having a good time in the studio, albeit a restless one, painting a lot of paintings from the Cape Cod region right now for an exhibit that I will be a part of with my friend and compatriot, Frank Gardner of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Frank's work can be found on his blog and website by looking him up on the menu of Artists on the right of this blog page. We will be showing at Addison Art Gallery in Orleans, MA ( There is a link to the gallery on the right side of this blog page ), the opening will be on June 30, 2011. More to come about that in future posts. It should be a fun show, I for one am painting a bunch of nocturnes using that area as the subject. And again, I'll make a blog post once I have the bulk of the work painted.
Back to my resltess self... We had a good amount of snow late in February and it's still nicely blanketing the landscape, though quickly disappearing now. I decided that since I hadn't been out painting it much, not at all, I should do that while it's here. I was in Colorado last month and painted a couple of paintings... they're following these first paragraphs... but that's been it for my plein air work since about October! That's not good, I thrive on getting out and painting from life... I need that as much as I need anything in my art world.
With that in mind, this past Thursday I headed out to dust off the plein air gear and see what might happen if I put the brush to the linen. I painted 3 on Thursday and 2 on Friday, they follow the Colorado paintings below. I'm painting these to lube up the painting elbow, they're smaller sized pieces, all 6"x8" on oil primed linen boards. All I can say is Man did that feel GOOD! It felt so good that I'm going to keep this up for the next few weeks, until I have to depart for Scottsdale, AZ and the Scottsdale Artists' School to teach a workshop the first week of April. I'm making a side stop on the way down in Sedona, AZ to paint with some friends and to visit my gallery there, Wind Rush Gallery, and drop off some new paintings for them. From there I'll head on to Scottsdale to teach for a week, after which I'm heading to Red Rocks, Nevada (Las Vegas) for Plein Air Magazines 'Plein Air Convention' in mid April. That should make for some interesting blogging... I have no real idea what to expect other than something like 700+ other painters will be there and there will be demos, classes, etc.. I'll fill you in on that one later too.
That's what's happening here. Let me know what you think or any comments that you might have, they are always appreciated... Thank you.
'The First Time' oil 8x10 NFS
I had a chance to visit and meet some wonderful new friends in Colorado last month, it's a long list of great people who are also artists. As this title suggests... this was the first time that I painted the area, the second time is below.
Ani Espriella and Me
Me, Lamya Deeb and Jake Gaedtke
I want to thank a few of them, Ani Esperiella and Jake Gaedtke in particular. Ani, who is a fine painter, a wizard with the camera and also has an amazing background as a professional singer, was my host and did an amazing job of showing me more of the area around Boulder than I could ever have possibly found on my own. It was her photographs that I have been seeing on Facebook that caused me to want to go out there and spend some time looking and painting. I was not disappointed, Ani is an enthusiastic lover of that area and she took countless hours from her own busy family life and schedule to share her beloved Colorado with me. She arranged for my being able to sit in on their Friday Figure drawing session at Gaynor Cooke Nelson's studio, for which I am grateful to Gaynor for. Then she threw a dinner party for a bunch of painters in the area and me, and she took beautiful photos of the entire week. I can never repay her kindness to me during my stay.
Jake Gaedtke, a wonderful painter and gifted teacher, was generous enough to line me up with a very nice apartment for the week on the property where he lives. Jake can cook, big time, so we had a good couple of meals and time to talk 'art' quite a bit, but we needed more. I can't thank Jake enough for opening up his home to me and for allowing me to come and go as the schedules dictated. I can't wait to get back and visit both of these very special people and all of the others too.
'The Second Time' oil 8x10 NFS
Lamya Deeb, a wonderful pastel and oil painter, Ani Espriella, Jake Gaedtke and I painted on both of the days that I painted these pieces. I loved painting there, the sun warmed us up so nicely so that even with snow on the ground it was nearly T-shirt comfortable. Love, love painting in this area. I can't wait to get back and do it again.
Since I'm doing all of these little studies, I'm offering them for sale too. Not too much interest in the galleries I'm in for small winter paintings, so I'm offering them out of my own studio at what I think is a pretty fair price. They will come to you, if you are a collector and purchase one, unframed, packed well, insured and varnished. It may be a month or so before I get them shipped out to you if you purchase one, depending on the drying time of the paint. They are being sold with a PayPal 'BUY NOW' button that is linked "BELOW" each painting. Click that button and PayPal will guide you through the rest. Once you do that, I'll receive an email with your information on it and will get the paintings off to you ASAP after they're dry enough to wrap and ship.
How many of these and how often I paint them is not known... This is not going to be a project like my 2009 April Marathon or my 2010 September Nocturne Marathon. I have a very busy schedule right now and am not able to commit to the kind of endeavor that both of those projects required. I am hoping to paint 2 or 3 a day, hopefully daily, but won't be posting them each day. I'll post when I have a day or two's worth of sketches done.
They are all FOR SALE FOR $295.00, unframed. That includes shipping and insurance. MN residents, the appropriate sales tax will be added to this price.
Please enjoy them all. Thank you for looking and if you would like to own one, thank you for that as well.
All but one of these studies were painted in Wisconsin between Dresser and Osceola along a little out of the way marshy wetland that the Wisconsin DNR uses to raise trout fingerlings for later release into the many trout streams that are in the region. It's running water so at least part of it is almost always open in the winter. I've painted the area winter, spring, summer and fall, it's always a joy to behold.
SOLD 3/1/12 #1 'March Snow' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
The fresh, heavy March snow was covering most everything when I arrived to paint. By the time I left, and the next day, most of the snow had melted off of the logs and grass hummocks. The dark water was marvelous agains the stark white of the snow on this over cast day.
SOLD 3/1/12 #2 'Snagged' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Seems like the kind of place where a fishing line would definitely get snagged, hence my title.
SOLD 3/1/12 #3 'Evening Sliver' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonThis was one that I have been wanting to paint because of the subtle color temperature shift on the flat snow plane. I used two colors plus white to paint the snow. When I sensed a slightly warmer temperature, I used more alizarin crimson, when I sensed the temperature as slightly cooler I used more viridian. This was really subtle, the snow was mostly a flat color until I looked very hard at it and saw the differences.
3/2/12 #1 'Rat Huts' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
Friday morning found me out on the ice of Little Lake, north of Taylors Falls. The high bright overcast was so strong, so bright that I cold barely stand it out there without sunglasses on. I went ahead and painted this scene, simple but an exercise in my learning about the color of the sky against the snow value and how much warm or cool color is in each one. When I head out to do these kind of studies, they're learning tools for me. I'm investigating these sort of issues, trying to understand more about the very subtle differences. The big differences are easy to see, easier to paint... it's these times when everything in the landscape is so closely related that are the most challenging to paint in my opinion. I don't just want "a gray" for the sky or "a white" for the snow... I want 'THE WHITE' and 'THE GRAY' that is out there, in my paintings.
SOLD 3/2/12 #2 'Swan Slough' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
For the last painting on Friday I went back to the little slough in Wisconsin to paint. The snow was nearly gone, other than the ice shelf on the slower water, but the light was amazingly flat yet full of color. That was enough to paint in my mind. As I was painting the geese were there haggling over territory, and there was a pair of trumpeter swans who would circle every so often, trumpeting in that very low, melodic sound that sends me right back to primordial times. What a treat it is to see these magnificent creatures out there while painting. What a life it is.
3/5 and 3/6, 2012
I wrote this on Facebook yesterday after an amazingly nice day out in the field...
Beautiful, long day painting in the field today. Four observations done. I love being a visual chronicler of the change that happens through a day. The change that all of those people flying by on the road, and tossing sand and mud on the easel and me, miss. Painting all day outside slows the march of time and lets you savor the entire picture in slow motion, rather than wonder where it went. We painters are a lucky bunch.
All of these paintings were painted within about 3 or 4 miles of each other, or less. And they are all for sale for $295.00 unframed, including shipping and insurance. More details are above.
SOLD 3/5/12 #1 'Red House' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonMonday morning found me north of Taylors Falls again, out on one of my all time favorite circuits to travel and paint. I got a late start and had a dinner deadline, so I only managed two pieces. My interest in this one, on a rather flatly lit day, was the color that the red house brought to the view, and to balance with the red of the road. I love painting these views looking down, or up, the country roads in the area. This time of year it's a bit dicey, they're full of moisture so that any passing vehicle almost always gives you a good spraying of grit. Several of these paintings have the grit in them still.
SOLD 3/5/12 #2 'Old Gus' House' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
I don't know the actual name of the man who lived in this house, I could probably dig around and find out who he was. But I do know that he was very old before he passed yet every summer evening you could see him on his little John Deere riding mower out taking care of his yard. He could barely walk, but he had pride in his home, a home that may have been his or in his family for who knows how many generations? His house is on a corner that I turn on almost every day. I miss Old Gus.
3/6/12 #1 'Milk Barn' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
On Tuesday my first stop was at this farm that sits a ways off of the road, but which has such interesting buildings that it has drawn me to it several different times in the past. The light today was warm but filtered, making the color cast slightly ocherish. I was surprised at the slight difference between the snow and the white of the milk barn. I enjoy seeing those little changes and making note of them on the paintings.
SOLD 3/6/12 #2 'Pathways' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
There's another lovely milk farm on my favorite painting road that I have never painted until this one. I think I'll probably spend some more time here in the near future. I painted these livestock paths going to and from the barns because I liked the dark lines. You can see how they always take the same line on the way out, and on the way in. Kind of like me, always painting the same road.
SOLD 3/6/12 #3 'Crossroad' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
This was the time of day, about 4:00 pm on a warming winter day when the temps are in the high 40's to mid 50's, that I was waiting for. I love late winter, early spring when the melting snow fills the air with moisture and it becomes heavy and accepting of the color of the lowering sun as the day closes. Rich, saturated, but gray is what really gets me going as a painter. The palette of this painting is probably my favorite of anytime of the day or year.
SOLD 3/6/12 #4 'Beautiful End' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. Hanson
As long as it was a nice warm afternoon, and I had three paintings done, I decided to try the ending hour for the fourth one of the day. I wanted to be sure to get the snow for color, and the sky and treeline for contrast. It was hard to find a place to paint in a hurray that had those ingredients. Fortunately there is a development near where I painted the 'Crossroad' painting, a few miles away, that hasn't 'developed' yet. It's roads and empty lots. I pulled into there thinking that the empty lots would give me the fields of snow needed. Was not ideal, but I finally just said enough, stopped and painted what was happening. These sort of paintings are always fun to do, a challenge for sure.
3/10/12 and 3/11/12
With warming days our snow is all but gone now. On Saturday and Sunday I went out to try to find the remnants of a less than typical Minnesota winter. The winds were up but so were the temps, in the high 50's to mid 60's.
SOLD 3/10/12 #1 'ATV Trail' - oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonOn one of my regular painting hunting roads, one called Red Wing Ave, I stopped immediately upon seeing this scene. The line of the snow that was left, though on it's way to a good melt, marked by the ATV tracks was all it took. That combined with the geometry of the composition, pretty dramatic as the road disappears over the hill top, and the texture of all of the trees and shrubs lining the fence made it a real treat to paint. As I was working along, nearly finished, an ATV approaches me from behind, stops and I see a man and woman eagerly wanting to know what I was painting. As we talked, it turns out that the property is theirs, he cut the ATV trail recently and is very proud of how it looks. They told me it's an animal magnet, deer, turkey, fox, raccoons and more, all use it to get across the road that we were standing on, into the next field over. It's always a plus to have the landowners come by to see what you're doing, it makes them proud, makes me glad that they appreciate the art.
SOLD 3/10/ #2 'All That's Left' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonLater in the day, staying out of some of the strongest winds, I stopped at this farm that I pass all of the time but have never painted. I'm on the same road, a few miles south of the one above. In the summer and fall, these roads are hard to paint on because of the dust. They're so wet right now that there is no dust, nice to take advantage and paint some areas that I don't get to normally. I was attracted at first by the melt water in the plow furrows from the previous year. My surprise when setting up was to see all of the goodies around the farm yard that I could use to add some little touches of color to the painting.
SOLD 3/11/12 #1 'May Avenue Cedar' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonSunday was a little windier so I drove to a road, May Avenue, because I knew that I could find some shelter from it in some nice areas. One of the attractions that I like on this road are the small bodies of water that pepper it along the way. I stopped at one, but found my interest in this cedar tree that was on a hillside away from one of the ponds. I liked it for the warmth of the palette, balanced by the snow shadows.
3/11/12 #2 'Baby Browns' oil 6x8 ©2012 Marc R. HansonIn the afternoon the winds were really up and the light was flattening out. But in a nice little area along the St Croix, on a Wisconsin Rustic Road, I found this, part of the DNR Hatchery property. This is the area where they let the fingerlings learn the ropes, fingerling rearing area they call it. I can attest to it working. In the current were many nice little 8"-12" brown trout. At one point a guy showed up with spinning rod in hand to see if he could surprise a nice one. He told me that last year he caught and released a nice 17" brown. Guess what I'm doing this spring with my fly rod? I didn't know you could fish here, and I've been hanging around the area for nearly 6 years now!
3/16/12 and 3/17/12
I spent a few days in the studio last week, hence the break in postings. On Friday I couldn't resist it any longer, temps hitting the high 70's, even an 80 degree day! Friday was beautiful, calm and with skies that had some activity to them, making it more interesting to me than a flat blue sky day. On Saturday I was up early and down to the river to start the day, then the day slowly became more windy and cloudy so I made it a short day.
I loved this first part of Friday morning, humid, atmospheric and full of color. This piece is what I could see, just the shapes of the trees spotted around the field. I worked hard at not allowing myself to paint more than my impression of the subject, what I could see while squinting down on it.
Man was the sky and landscape rich and full of color by about 11:00 am! All of the heat and moisture in the ground resulted in some moisture rich air. When ever the air is that saturated, the color is amplified when looking at it with the sun at your back. Looking the opposite direction, into the light, the moisture has almost the opposite effect and lightens all of the shapes, creating nearly washed out color. This is why I love painting from life... you can't dream this up, even if you know and understand the principles, every single situation is different every single time.
Later in the afternoon the high overcast caused the already merging color, closely analogous, to become even harder to separate and distinguish. The title refers to that, the color being so flat and tough to find difference in. That's not a big deal, you paint what you see, but it is an exercise in being subtle.
Staying in the same spot as Dang Flat, I painted the sky to my right. A nice big could formation creating some drama was plenty to paint. All of this is a study of what is going on out there. While I'm not trying to 'copy' all of the specifics of what I am standing in front of, I am almost always trying to capture the color relationships as accurately as I see them. I do that because this is what is building my own visual library for future use. I don't want to make things like that up, I can change the land shapes, remove or add objects or their placement in the landscape. For my purposes, trying to replicate the color relationships is paramount, is my reason for wanting to be outside painting from life.
By now you are probably noticing that this was a good painting day for me. I was hoping to be able to box up 6 for the day, but with some driving time using up the #6 painting time. But 5 is a good day. This last one is a spot just about 1/2 a mile from my house, at the edge of town. Every time I drive past this on my way out of town, I look up this road and think "I should paint this sometime.". Well I finally did, it only took about 6 years. I had to work fast, this was about an hours' worth of painting time, light shifting fast, shadows expanding, leaving, coming back a different shape and color... Whew! But I managed and then went and had an ice cold beer and some dinner across the river. A satisfying day for sure.
Up and out early enough on Saturday morning to paint the sun coming up over the Wisconsin side of the river. It's mostly a color exercise, there's not much land mass to include. But what a beautiful morning it was!
It was looking to be a promising day so I took the drive north to Crex Meadow in Grantsburg, WI. Just as I arrived, the clouds moved in and the light left... such is landscape painting. I had already set up and was excited by what was in front of me before it all changed. With what I remembered and the occasional splash of sunlight, I managed to get this one painted. I've painted this spot in the spring, summer and early fall, all while the greens predominate, so it was fun to paint it at the end of winter when the tones of dormancy were still dominant. Lot's of birds all weekend, cranes, swans, geese and ducks. Also a lot of shorebirds arriving now.
By now the wind of the day was getting to be tiring. Being pelted by dirt, sand, and the dried grass chaff that was all airborne and getting in my eyes was making me think about calling it a painting day. From Crex Meadow I drove back south down to William O'Brien State Park in Marine on St Croix, MN. That's too much driving, but when looking to find a spot to make the best of the time you have outside, sometimes too much driving is the result. We've all been there. It became dark and neutral by the time I set up to paint. So I played with that contrast between the spotty bright light of the spaces inbetween the clouds and the tree masses along the river.