Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Door County Plein Air Festival

Back from Door County with many great memories of painting and new friends. I'm posting some of the work from the week and will photograph a few more tomorrow that need reshooting. Some of these pics were shot on the run and the paintings are gone so I am posting the best image that I can without having the paintings in hand.

I'll write more tomorrow when I post the new paintings. Please forgive any typos or grammatical fumbles... I'm tired and rushing to get this up. :)

'Evening Being Cast' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Painted this on Sunday night the day we arrived. We found a location with great bales that we wanted to paint but didn't know if we should ask the property owner about stopping on the land. We did ask and the most generous man let us park in his driveway and gave us free reign of his entire property. It was good to get out and try to shake off a little rust.

'Longview Arrangement' oil 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '09
The road along this group of farm buildings is called Longview Rd, to explain the title. First morning of Door County PA Fest. Just anxious to get to work painting and inspired by the depth of the reddish blue-gray sky color against the warm color of the wheat field.

'A Good View' oil 8x10 © Marc R. Hanson '09
On Monday night there was an artist reception at the Peninsula Players Theater, an incredible open air theater complex in Fish Creek. Many of us painted before the festivities began. I attempted this one but there was a lot of talking and visiting involved so the result wasn't quite what I had in mind.

'Wilson's' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
I didn't know when I set up to paint this ice cream parlor that it is world famous. It didn't take long before everyone who stopped by let me know that. This was in Ephraim, a gorgeous little town. Kami and I painted a few yards from each other in the middle of a lot of tourists. She painted 'The Chef's Hat' a great little restaurant that quickly became our lunch time eating establishment. They served very natural and delicious sandwiches and salads. Yummmm!

'Fish Boil' oil 12x16 © Marc R. Hanson '09
A pretty hard day this one. We were bushed by the end of it. Our last stop was at Peninsula State Park in Fish Creek. The light was really good but quickly became flat and overcast with a sprinkling of rain too. As I was painting this one everyonce in awhile a puff of smoke would lift out of the trees across the bay. This happened about five or six times before someone in the park was walking by and made a comment that that was the fish boil at a some restaurant that was creating the smoke. I thought that it was pretty cool as a note and had already painted it into the composition. Now I had a title for the painting too. The gulls in the air and the one on the rock must have been coming out of my bird painting past? They helped add a little interest to the scene.

'Crane's Calling' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Wednesday morning started very moody, misty and Wonderful for painting. It didn't last long but while it was both of us produced what we would probably say were two of our best of the week. Sun is nice, but for my money there is nothing like a good heavy atmosphere to provide the fodder for the possibility to produce some very evocative work. As we were painting, a pair of cranes flew over not 40 yards above ground level. As they approached another pair about 60 yards away began to sound off, either telling the airborne pair to 'get the heck away', or 'please land'? I don't speak crane so I don't know but it was impressive as it broke the still quiet of the morning air. Seemed like as good a title as any for this one.

'Overgrown' oil 10x8 © Marc R. Hanson '09
Each painter was to pick a couple of 'demo days' during the week so that people who were following you could come by and watch you paint. It kept us from hiding in the forest to do that. Kami and I picked a Pottery studio to paint and we anxiously set up here at Clay Bay Pottery and started to work on some marvelous landscape. We also signed up for a lunch delivery for each of these two days. It was funny that the two of us were the only ones who showed though it was raining earlier. None the less, at least 5 other painters should have been there and that should have given us a clue. About 1pm we were really getting hungry so I called the school and inquired about our lunches? Our very nice and friendly 'artist container' person asked me where we were, I told her and she said that the reason we didn't have our lunches is because we were in the wrong place!!! We were supposed to be at the 'other' clay studio. Give artists choices and you're asking for trouble.

'She's A Beauty!' oil 10x8 © Marc R. Hanson '09
On Wednesday night the artists all participated in a sunset paint out in Ephraim. We started earlier than the actual sunset (which disappeared behind the clouds and didn't set at all) in order to get it in. I just painted this beautiful sloop that was moored along the Anderson Dock.

'Pump House' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
On Thursday morning we were scheduled along with about 7 other painters to do a demo painting at Edgewood Orchard Gallery in Fish Creek. During the four hours or so that we were scheduled to be there trolley's brought around people who signed up to come out and watch us paint. I met many very nice people, one of whom ended up purchasing this painting later in the week.

'Moonlight Bay' oil 11x14 © Marc R. Hanson '09
This was the last painting of the trip aside from the following painting from the quick paint day. We didn't spend much time on the 'quiet side', the Lake Michigan side, of the lake until this afternoon. Frankly, following the demo session earlier in the day I didn't have much juice left so following this one, a nice restaurant and a bottle of wine was the crowning event of the day and week's work. A good week, a good day and a good wine... not bad.

'Blue Shade' oil 9x12 © Marc R. Hanson '09
On Saturday morning we all participated in the 'Quick Paint in the Park' event. Two hours to paint followed by an auction. About a third of the auction was put on a rain delay and was continued that evening at the public opening of the show of the week's work back at the gallery at the Peninsula Art School. I painted the patio of this restaurant, liking the warmth of the umbrellas against the cool colored shaded side of the building. In the end, the gentleman in the painting with the silver hair and his wife ended up purchasing the painting at the auction! Very cool.


Robin Roberts said...


All very nice work. I bet that it is a blast being able to paint all week but also very tiring. What is it about a scene, or possibly time, that makes you decide between the different size panels that you work on?

Thanks again for sharing your work.


Leslie Saeta said...

What an amazing collection of paintings. The light in each one is exquisite and I really do love every one of them. You really are on your game these days! Wow ...

B. Clyde Beck said...


Very nice painting style. I like the blog idea with written descriptions of the work. I think I may re-think my website to get more description per painting.

(I do watercolors and photography, when I am not doing architecture.)

Tim said...

Hey there! Ive been following your blog quite intently and love your updates, they inspire me to my own pleine air bloggings and keeping up the pace! I particularly enjoyed your shots and info of how you did your panels in the "120 paintings in a month" blog, but I cant for the life of me find that post anymore!

Do you mind telling us a little about the substrates you use for your larger pleine airs? I myself am experimenting with different grounds and sealers. I just ordered some W&N oil primer, do you have any experience with that?

ProjectHope7 said...

Marc, thank you so much for sharing your work with us! I particularly wish your "She's a Beauty" were hanging on my wall!... looking forward to networking.

Eugene said...

Yay an update!

I was beginning to think you had abandoned us. ;-)

michael clark fine art said...

Great Paintings Marc, Looking at the high res images are you using the yarka linen on some of these? I heard they changed texture or priming on it. I still have a roll I bought a few years ago and really like it for plein air work.

José Carrilho (Go Detail) said...

Hi Marc,

It's quite evident that you know about colour relation and your works show a range of values that make the subjects quite eyecatching.
The chosen palette contributes to a well balanced and unified work and I must say that getting natural greens is not something easy.

Kind regards,


Tony Hilscher said...

You have really captured the late afternoon light in "Evening Being Cast". Whether the bale was in the composition as you found it, or you placed it there, it makes a great focal in front of the darker spruce trees. All wonderful paintings.
I've been an avid follower of your blog ever since your April "Painting Marathon. Your dedication to painting is an inspiration!!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Robin. It is definitely a blast! As for sizes... I am just now becoming comfortable with anything much larger than a 5x7! This trip was my 'break through' back to larger pieces following the month of little ones... back to normal. In fact, I just finished making an 18x24 paintbox with a palette in it for my next move in painting. That is to take much larger panels outside, hopefully working my way up to the 24x30 range and larger. This is something that I've been gently moving towards for some time now. I am all set with a Beauport easel (the Gloucester style knock off of the Take It easel), the big palette and box waiting to be filled with large brushes and large tubes of paint.
I'm just getting to the point that I don't feel like I can put enough into the smaller pieces. So I'm more likely to choose the 11x14 or 12x16 over the 8x10's or smaller sizes. I am amazed how long it's taken me to up the size since the little ones. They really did a number on my sense of scale.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Leslie. I and a number of other painters, mostly from the Midwest, seemed so subtle in our use of color compared to the painters from the west, south and east. I think that we might start to be known as the 'Subtle-ists'.
But that's our nature, or how we tend to see things we paint, in a way that is more sensitive to textures, edges, value and color subtleties. I'm conjecturing that for me anyway, Schmid has had such an influence in this area that it's showing the work. Not that it looks like, or for God's sake is anywhere as accomplished, but that sort of sensitivity is rubbing off.
So yes, I felt good about what I was painting. I would say that 'flash' ( in stylistic terms ) gathers more attention than 'quiet' does however!!! Personally it's easier to live with 'quiet' than 'riot'. ;-)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks B. Clyde! Man, architecture, photography and watercolor!!! You're busy.

Robin Roberts said...


I just moved up to a 12 x 16 box myself to start going a little bigger. Of course, I just buy the ready made kind as I don't have the energy or knowhow to build my own. But then, I don't build boats either.


Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Tim and thanks, happy to have you along.
Well... you've asked the Achilles' heal question that most drastically affects my bank account!!!
I am addicted to different surfaces for different reasons. And I'm not even sure that I could ever settle on just one and be happy with it. There have been changes over the last few years that have affected my choices, primarily the banning of, or manufacturers choice to discontinue, lead priming in Europe and here in the US. Claessens and Frederix 'Carleton and RIX' were all wonderful linens to use when they were lead primed. Now they're using zinc and titanium and we are having to relearn how to paint on them. (see lecture ensuing?:)
For now I'm using about 3 or 4 different surfaces that I like. Many of these were painted on Yarka's Extra Fine oil primed linen. Don't try to find that one, it's been discontinued and no longer being imported... I know I searched like a pig looking for a truffle a week ago and all I found was some of it primed with acrylic, one roll. So another good one down the tubes!
Otherwise I'm using Claessens' C12 DP and am very happy with that for plein air work.
In the studio where I can layer and over paint I am using Claessens' AC166 an acrylic primed version of C66, medium rough. I like that one a lot and am just accepting that I'm going to have to get used to that slippery stuff they call 'oil priming' or the acrylic priming. Lead is available but it's extremely expensive and I assume that it's going to be outlawed even as a primer some day in my life and probably very soon.
I also like the occasional board primed with acrylic primer and pumice and have used the primers that W/N, Daniel Smith, Gamblin and others make. So far I've found them to be too slippery but have recently talked to a painter who's using Utrecht's oil primer and says that it's pretty absorbent as they go. So I might give that one a shot too.
In the end it's all so personal. My painting style may fight one primer that becomes your life long fav. I say experiment until you find the one that you are most compatible with. Once you do, hock the house to buy enough to last a lifetime because rest assured that if you don't, it will change or disappear.

Either that or don't become as picky as me! ;-)

Marc R. Hanson said...

ProjectHope7... Thank you for your nice words. It's appreciated.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Eugene... Where are you? Eugene...??? You there? ;-)

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi MIchael... Thanks.
They may have changed it but it doesn't matter now because they're not exporting it any more, damn it! I just found this out a week or so ago as I was trying to find a roll again. And once again, it's vanishing. I found one small roll on Amazon of the acrylic primed version, that's it. All the sellers, Blick, Utrecht, and so on have discontinued it on their sites.
So on to something else again. Happens every time I like something.

Marc R. Hanson said...

Thanks Jose'. Thanks...

Marc R. Hanson said...

Hi Tony and thank YOU very much. I tried to roll that bale in closer. Did you know that they weigh about 800lbs?! So it stayed and i moved the ground with the brush a little bit. That bale was the compositional idea however, a counter weight to the dark mass on the left. It wouldn't have worked as well if the sun had not poked through and lit the end of it up either. I was hoping that would happen. And of course it didn't happen like it's shown, I used the idea of what was happening to make my picture work.
Man painting is fun!

Marc R. Hanson said...

Robin I'm laughing at that one! I seriously think that doing things like building boats and large paint boxes are therapy for me. Those projects keep my need to be busy going when I'm trying to understand what the art wants next. I guess I could read a book, knit something warm or even just make money. But I like the hand work of building things. And most of that building is out of necessity. I wanted to purchase a larger box, couldn't find one and so building was my only option. My problem is that I can't just nail some scraps together and be happy. I'll take pics of this one, it's perty darn nice I must say. I made it entirely out of oak so that it would be as heavy as possible, and it is. That's needed to add stability to the Beauport as it sits on the horizontal cross bar that connects the back leg to the two front legs. I should be good through all but a tornado.

Christopher O'Handley said...

All good work, but to me "Crane's Calling" is on a completely different level. Tremendous atmosphere and color harmony...and that expansive foreground is terrific (and daring). Evocative indeed and worthy of much study for those of us hoping to be able to paint like this someday.

Lynda Evans said...

Hello Marc,

I just found your site through Judith D'Agostino's Facebook page and I love, love your work. Thanks for posting these wonderful paintings and best of luck "sizing up" to bigger ones. I want to see more!

Lynda Evans

Jack said...

I like the sky color..its sounds good....i love blue color..lol..

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