Thursday, September 30, 2010

September 29, 2010 ... The End of the September Nocturnes.

My nocturne painting adventure ended two nights short and with more adrenaline coursing through my body than I needed! Im fine, no injuries to anything other than a deer and my truck.

Last night I was on my way from Stillwater up to Marine on the St. Croix to set up for some nice painting in the quaint little village of Marine. About 4 miles north of Stillwater I was intercepted by a young 7 or 8 point whitetail deer buck who came at an angle from my back left side and made a direct line for the front of my truck. I know not to try to miss them, that leads to ditches or worse, like a serious encounter with oncoming traffic. So I hit the brakes and kept it on a straight track, couldn't stop in time and caught the buck's hind quarters with my front right quarter.

The impact was so loud that a nearby resident came down on an ATV to see if there had been a head on collision. He said he was in his front yard on a nearby hill and it sounded like an explosion! Unfortunately the deer was seriously wounded and the on the scene state trooper and sheriff deputy had to dispatch the deer. Some people from the area stopped, to see if there was the possibility of free deer meat I'm sure, and asked if they could tag the meat. I said sure, the trooper gave me the appropriate DNR Car Kill Possession slip needed, and the people loaded the animal up and were off. So despite it all, some good came of this because I think that they probably get a lot of their meat this way and need it. Not for me, but good for them.

This ends my nocturnes for the month. I have a rental car for now and I AM NOT TAKING IT OUT ON THE ROADS ANYWHERE NEAR DUSK, DARK OR DAWN!!! :)

But... Here's my plan... I'm going to be painting in Provincetown, MA for about 8 or 9 days coming up shortly. I plan to paint some more 5"x7" nocturnes there, and some daylight pieces that are the same size and am going to keep posting here and on eBay if I can take some decent photos of them.

Same plan in terms of the eBay details. If you're interested in following any of those, stay tuned to the blog in the upcoming couple of weeks.

Tonight I'm going to get caught up on some bookwork, equipment preparing for the trip and that sort of thing.

Then I'm going to open a good bottle of red wine and enjoy a nice peaceful dinner and evening without the drama of last evening in thought.

I'm also going to try to catch up on blog replies. A HUGE Thank YOU to all of you who've followed my progress this month, and to all of you who purchased the paintings from the September Nocturne Marathon. I'll write up some thoughts on it soon.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September 28, 2010

Only one painting tonight. I drove too much trying to find a subject to paint. It's very dark, inky, until the moon is up and that happens too late now. I painted this location for my April Marathon too. So it's a revisit to CJ's...

4/22/2009-2 'CJ's Bar and Grill'

Click Here to Bid.
9/28 'CJ's'
I still haven't had a burger at CJ's! I'm always busy painting it. CJ's is on Hwy 95 north of Taylors Falls, almost to Almelund on the way to North Branch. I hear that the burgers are good. Some more orange light, can't get away from it. A quaint place to paint, I enjoyed the time in their parking lot.

September 27, 2010

Busy... Just never quite had the time to get these up yesterday!!!

The first one is 'legal' by my definition, but it sure was bright out even after the sun was down below the horizon. So I'm fudging a little bit by calling this a nocturne, it's not by color scheme, but is by my guidelines for this project. The next project might be titled "Twilight Marathon"! That's the time to paint, the magical short 30 minutes when the subtleties in the color explode with their softness. Soft but powerful!

The moon is rising so late now that for me it's not an option to wait for it. I need to be finished up around 10 p.m. or my truck turns into a gallon can of Turpentine and I'm stuck 'till morning! Besides, that makes for a full enough day as it is.

My objective has been to not be driving all over the country side during this project, and with a few exceptions, I've stuck pretty close to home. I will admit to approaching "local subject matter" burn out. The moon was great while it was up and around. But I'm getting tired of painting white buildings orange, because of these street lights we have now. In fact, I'm tempted to lobby, someone, to either turn them off or get some cooler kind of bulbs!!! They are not artistically inspiring to me anymore. I wonder if I wore some blue shades things would balance out? Hmmmm...

Click Here to Bid.
9/27-1 'Twilight Palette'
Well... Saw it and like it! I'm beginning to become starved for light value color... that isn't yellow or orange. I've already talked a lot about how nice it is to paint at this time of the day, so I won't bore you with more of that. While painting this one there were pheasant roosters ( I grew up with roots in South Dakota and it's hard for me not to call the roosters 'cocks' because that is what they were Always called when hunting them ) were cackling and making short flights all around me and in this marsh area that is just barely shown in the painting. I am tempted to see if the property owner hunts this or allows anyone to do that. I can see it as a great place to hone my archery skills on pheasants in flight. In case anyone thinks that's cruel, believe me the cedar arrow Flu-Flus launched out of my long bow at a flushing 'rooster' pheasant out number the roosters bagged by about 25 to 1 in my case. Sure is fun though!

Click Here to Bid.
9/27-2 'Fuel Stop'
No moon, and this is about the most interesting structure on the main drag in Taylors Falls, with lights on past 8:30 p.m. that I hadn't painted yet. There is the Drive-In, which I would love to paint but it closes right at dark, shutting down the lighted root beer mug and car hop area, a church which doesn't light up very often (services every other week), several very nice little homes from the 19th century too but nearly always dark by the time I'm ready to paint them. So tonight I painted the gas station that has recently been remodled into something called a 'Adium'??? Strange word... I always want to say 'StAdium'. I know I'm ready for some daylight because the last two paintings of this type of subject matter have really taken me a long time, comparatively speaking, to finish. And I'm running out of orange, red and yellow!!! ;)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Nocturnes back on eBay!!!

I had a very good experience in talking to a customer service rep at eBay today and my limit to selling is now increased to the point where there shouldn't be anymore interruptions in the listing process.

There are 3 new nocturnes now listed with the "Click Here to Bid" buttons active again.

Thanks for your patience.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

September 26, 2010

A good night. For the artists out there, I just had to change batteries in the Might Bright LED book light tonight, the first time since beginning this project 26 days ago! The light still wasn't out, but was dimming. That's pretty impressive. Twenty six sessions of about 2.5 hours...65 hours of light!!! That's amazing to me because the other light I used with the color balanced fluorescent bulb would use 4 batteries about every 2 or 3 hours.

I was in the Interstate Park for the first one. I have a question... Is there a school out there that teaches the two questions that almost everyone who walks up behind me asks?

1- "Are you an artist, are you painting?"... Easel is up, brushes in my hand, paint all over the palette, paint brush with paint is on the canvas...
2-Remember, they're behind me looking at my painting and what I'm painting... "What are you painting?"

Tonight the last people in the park, besides me, were rock climbers. A young lady clinging and clanging from all of the climbing gear hanging from her body came up and asked me both questions. To answer her first one I said "Yes...Are you a climber?" She stretches out a big grin and says "Why yes I am!".

To answer the second question, I just pointed out in front of me.
Either I'm not doing a very good job, one that she can recognize, or she took the course... I just don't know!!!

Just to let you know how this is affecting me... I see nothing odd anymore about sitting outside in my plastic Adirondack chair with a beverage in hand, in the pitch black, no fire in the pit, frost or very cold moisture on the chair, with about 4 layers of clothes and a pair of gloves on... and watching life go by my back yard as if it were 3:00 in the afternoon on a nice warm Saturday in July!!!

9/26-1 'Twilight In The Park'
There was some beautiful color happening in that canyon last night when the sun finally went below the western horizon. The canyon gets dark early, but then it bounces color around for quite a while after sunset. The palette tonight was gorgeous with magentas, ceruleans, mossy greens, and grayer versions of all of that. What a treat!

9/26-2 'Moon Beam'
I walked across to the north side of Hwy 8, across the road from the park, and set up to paint the moon rising over the hills of the Wisconsin side of the St Croix. This view is looking up towards the St Croix Falls power dam that I painte earlier in September. The orange/red glow to the left center are the lights from the dam. I checked the charts and knew that the moon would be rising about 8:18. What I didn't think about is that down in the river canyon the rise wouldn't pop over the top of the bluffs then, not until about 9:10 did it show up. Well it was worth the wait. Nice calm, fairly warm night to sit and watch stars until it was time to paint.

September 25, 2010... Again!

Just dawned on me (seriously, no pun intended) that the nocturne I did last night made 3 for Saturday the 25th! Now I feel better about not painting a second one last night.

I did get up at 4 am again this morning to try to get another one in but the moon light wasn't very good, pretty dull in fact as was the sunrise. I saw it, said "That's boring"... I mean don't get me wrong, I'm glad I saw another... but it was cloudless and a litttle flat. This of course is all in relation to my having to go out and stand in the temps that are now approaching the 30's. You need some inspiration to do that in September!!!

9/25-3 'Harvest Moonrise'
I was out in the country side waiting for dark, what a strange life I lead, when it got DARK! I check the tables so I knew that the moon was to rise at 7:38 or there about. I'm sitting on tailgate with the easel ready to go, looking at where the moon would come up. Nothing... then a glance 30º to the north, behind me, and holy moly... it's on it's way up, just starting to peak over the rise out in that direction! I grabbed the tripod and brushes and ran to the front of my truck and started painting. It rose fast but I zeroed in on it when about 3/4's of it was about the land in front of me. I decided to make it all about the moon, not much detail and in fact it was so bright that it obliterated everything with in my field of vision in front of me. It was very cool.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September 25, 2010

NOTE TO EBAY FOLLOWERS... I RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM THEM SAYING THAT AS A "NEW SELLER" I HAVE REACHED MY MONTHLY LIMIT!!! I can call them to discuss this, but not until Monday during business hours. I do not get this one. I thought the idea was to be there selling??? They seem to want to limit your success at doing that.
So I will post these and hopefully get this worked out Monday and will then list them all at once...I guess?

As sort of promised, I got up this morning at 4:00am to go paint nocturnes! I'm not going to lie, that wasn't easy to do. I went out to dinner and did some socializing, a 'not to frequent' activity this month being a student of the night! According to our extremely accurate weather forecasts, it didn't rain like they said it would, either last night or this morning. Good thing they were wrong about this morning.

Cold this morning too... 43ºF. Gloves required for the first time since last winter's painting season.

9/25-1 'By The Light Of The Silvery Moon'
I'll tell you what... As of this morning, I get that old song's title now! It was so 'silvery' that there was almost no color, well subtle grays, but only the slightest hints of warm and cool grays. This one was painted at Little Lake, a 'little' lake five miles or so from me. What I didn't know was that there is a very healthy population of big beavers on Little Lake. I found that out because they swam up behind me while I was painting ( it was dark ), intending to come ashore I guess, and slapped their tails on the water in some sort of aggressive act!!! I acted, jumped out of my shorts in fact! They wouldn't go away, kept circling 10 yds off the lake edge, slapping tails and basically making me worried that they thought my still, concentrating legs might be tender saplings. I took out my flashlight and shined it on them, they're big! There were also about 3 or 4 muskrats swimming around. So much for concentration.

9/2502 'Before 7:00 AM'
I left Little Lake, the beavers and muskrats needed some 'Muskrat Love' time alone. I intended to start the next painting just as the horizon began to lighten up, about a half an hour before Civil Twilight, about 6:00 am this morning, and stop just before Actual Sunrise to be 'legal'. This is what greeted me!!! And more... If I've learned and hang onto one thing from this project so far, it is to get out at Twilight on both ends of the day, morning and night. That's where the magic is happening! I always new that, I'm a hunter and fisherman after all, but life's schedules seemed to have always prevented that in my normal course of plein air painting in the past. Getting kids up for school, to school, to games, activities in the evenings after school... those kind of things. My time to paint was usually more mid-day when the other family obligations weren't there. That is what was supposed to be done then, of course. Now they're on their own. Funny how long it takes us to 're-schedule' our psyche after having done it one way for so long. Whew... I see it happening now, finally!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Nocturnes Friday & Saturday...

I want to let you know that if you're following this, the nocturnes for tonight and tomorrow night might be painted in the wee hours of the morning, before sunrise, for a change of pace and to try to "out smart" the rain and wind! Wish me luck with that one.

I've been thinking about doing this for awhile now, to paint early in the morning rather than right after dark. With the full moon (if we can see it), the light should be amazingly bright again. I'm looking forward to that. So instead of catching the last light and then dark, I'll be trying to catch dark and the first light. Fun...

Posting may wait until later in the day... A few people have indicated that they're using these posts to start things off each day. Sorry to interrupt that again, but it's all fluid.

Here's one from a few years ago for fun...

'Wild Mountain Nocturne' 6x8

September 23, 2010

It rained and rained and rained. Tonight had me limited to either in the car, the coffee shop didn't work out, the car didn't work out either. So when the rain let up for a little bit I set up under the awning of the Chisago House Restaurant and painted the corner of the street where the Bakery is... in the rain!

Only one painting in the bag for tonight. I started one in the car and ended up wiping it due to not being able to see well enough with the heavy rain. Just didn't work out...

Click Here to Bid.
9/23 'Corner of Bench and First St'
In the rain this was a beautiful corner of TF to paint tonight. I even had the assistance of lights from under the awning on the Chisago House until the owner left at 9pm. My little light did the job for the next half hour though and I'm pretty satisfied with the outcome of this one. It feels wet, it was wet.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 22, 2010

With the possibility of a very rainy couple of days I got right to it tonight. Three pieces resulted, two right after sunset as the incredible color of the more northern sky was intercepted by the storm from that was moving in from the SW. Some Great color to paint!!! PS... there are times when I wish these weren't so small.

Click Here to Bid.
9/22-1 'Raining To The South'
Wow... sunset is now 6:57, a half an hour earlier than just a week or so ago! I'm taking advantage of that. The sky is so amazing foiled against the darkened landscape, car lights and trees silhouetted in a deep, warm shroud of color. I love the contrasts that are happening in that period I keep mentioning, between Actual Sunset and Civil Twilight. This one, and the second of the night, were painted in a wide spot on County Rd 37 about two miles from my house.

9/22-2 'Scarlet'
I simply turned about 30º left to paint this one. The slash of light was awe inspiring! This kind of color, in a painting and in life, has to be seen and be afforded time spent looking at it, to get the full impact. Such fun!!! Is this legal?

Click Here to Bid.
9/22-3 'Fast Food Alley'
From the 'sublime' to the 'ridiculous... but 'good to paint'! No moon means that the sky was dark once things settled into the night. I made my way up the hill above St Croix Falls to the parking lot of the Cinema and TSC (Tractor Supply Company) store. I did not need my light to paint up here tonight. That was nice for a change! So my target was Subway, the Mickey 'D' sign and the intersection of the road leading to the two. A real mix of warm and cool street light affected color, the little spots of white, tangerine, yellow, red, green and some other truly unworldly reds that I could only approximate in oils. And in case I got hungry, finished up at 10pm, I was right where I needed to be.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 21, 2010

I'm not sure that I've painted two of these in one night that are quite so different in color yet painted within an hour of each other. The first piece was painted about a half hour after sunset, the second one started about an hour and a half later when the moon was really bright.

Click Here to Bid.
9/21-1 'Isaak's Moon'
For my first nocturne tonight I painted north of Taylors Falls at the Isaak Walton League park and boat launch. I thought it might be fun to get the moon's reflection on the water. Didn't work as planned because the river is too narrow to give the space for the reflection to drop down. There is another park and boat launch on the Wisconsin side of the river, that's what the bright orange light is. Leaves are warming enough now so that even as it's getting darker, their color seems to illuminate the hills. I don't understand all of this, like the greening of the sky (probably due to the complimentary contrast of the reds and oranges in the trees on the hillside), but I paint it as I see it out there. I think that being honest and not trying to 'sway' the color towards your own preconceived ideas is an exciting way to paint. I've talked about it before, but to me, this is what makes plein air painting so exciting and worthwhile doing. I can never dream this stuff up, and it's right out there for the taking.

Click Here to Bid.
9/21-2 'Lit Up'
That's all I can think of after painting the second one, how bright it was last night. I tried to paint without the auxiliary light and almost made it. It's just not quite bright enough... yet. Now we're expecting a couple of days of rain, right through the fullest phase of the moon! That is disappointing, I'll see what happens.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September 20, 2010

Duty called today and took me away from the computer so the post for last night's paintings is just getting up...

What a night! Temps near 70ºF at 9pm!!! The winds were out of the SE at about 11kts gusting to 15kts. The temperatures will be warming as the night matures. The moon is at 95% illumination.

My basic approach is to find a pull off on one of the gravel (county) roads near me and get set up just before sunset. The last few nights I've been sitting on the tailgate of my truck. Tonight I painted the moon rising at Twilight, and then again about an hour past Twilight so that the full illumination of the light of the moon was in play. Between the early painting and the later painting I sit in the brightening dark (that's an odd thing to see happen) and listen to the sounds of the quiet, waiting for the land around me to brighten up as the moon takes over the show. It's interesting to do that. As soon as it gets dark, critters start moving around you. Last night a skunk passed by, that was obvious, and other 'things' that aren't identifiable by sight are heard to be moving about in my area. I just sit quietly with lights off and try to feel a part of it all. It's spectacular!

9/20-1 '95% Moon'
This painting was so interesting to paint because the last light of the day, the sun, was still throwing some warmth from the western horizon ( to the right on the painting ) onto the scene. At the same time the moon on it's way up, the darkness advancing, created a beautiful gray quality to the land. The wind and warmth was accompanied by a lot of moisture in the air. This affects the color, even the color that is very close. Tonight's sky was a very grayed color, the trees green was very grayed, the flatness of the land and grasses also very grayed. All of this is what made the brilliance of the moon itself stand out and dominate the scene.

9/20-2 'Warm Southern Wind'
I can tell you that I am a lucky guy to be doing this, but I can't share that feeling as well as I'd like to. My hope is that you will feel my own joy at being here, doing this in the paintings. Tonight was one of the best.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

September 19, 2010

The moon tonight is at 91% of full! Tonight I could almost paint without auxiliary light!!! No kidding, it was so bright that I painted a lot of this one without the book light on. By the time this moon is full I'm sure that I won't need the book light. It was beautiful out tonight.

9/19 'Calm and Quiet Night'
It was just perfect tonight. No wind, bright light, a dead end road with a farm at it's end. I sat on the tail gate of my truck for about an hour waiting for the light to the West to turn to dark. A skunk was poking around near my truck, that smell is unmistakeable, and as the light to the west faded, the light on my panel and palette became brighter and brighter. Almost bright enough to paint without the lights on. I used a palette of Viridian, Alizarin Crimson, Black, White and Yellow ochre for this one.

September 18, 2010

First day of my workshop in Zumbrota, MN and it was kind of chilly, wet and just not much fun until after lunch time! Then it warmed up a little and made our day a little bit nicer. Following class I made the drive north, made a stop in Stillwater for some homemade chicken soup (thanks Kami :), and then drove into William O'Brien State Park, just north of Marine on St. Croix, and painted this piece. Only one tonight. I'll admit to being tired by 9:30 at night, after getting on the road at 6:30 am, teaching all day and a lot of driving.

9/18 'Moon Over O'Brien'
Almost a full moon, 5 days or so to go. I had it going, bright moon and painting away, then the clouds rolled in and that was it for me, too dark to make it interesting. I'm anxious to paint the next week when the moon is moving into it's full phase.

Friday, September 17, 2010

September 17, 2010

If you see a painting here this morning, I'm surprised! I painted one nocturne last night but wasn't sure if I'd have time this morning to post it.

I teach a 2 day workshop this weekend in Zumbrota, MN about an hour and a half from me. What I think will end up happening is this... I'm still painting nocturnes, but the posting may have to wait until Sunday or Monday morning. I'm not quite sure how else to do it. I finish up late, leave before 6:30 am to make the drive to the workshop. That doesn't leave much time to shoot, edit, post on the blog, eBay, website and Facebook.

9/17-1 'Tangled in Blue'
This is a local dining establishment on the main drag here in Taylors Falls. On site, I could not seem to get the cool violets and blues I was seeing in the scene. Turns out that the reason was, once again, the orange street lamps. Once I was home I saw that the colors I thought I was mixing were there. This says a lot for trusting yourself when painting these things.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September 16, 2010

I feel gooo-ood! (James Brown impersonation) Back at it tonight. Looking for the half moon but the cloud cover foiled that idea. I painted the canyon walls inside the Interstate Park right at sunset for the first one, then went into down town Taylors Falls and painted the our US Post Office building.

9/16-1 'Canyon Sunset'
The color was inspiring as the clouds just broke a enough after the sun was down to reveal the warmth of the end of the day sky!

9/16-2 'US Post Office-Taylors Falls, MN'
This is our stalwart little post office. I just liked the light on the building front. I spend so much time there that it was good to see it from this point of view.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September 15 Nocturnes... Here's the 'Method and Materials' scoop!

I'm sitting here wishing I felt well enough to go out to paint tonight... just kidding... severe thunderstorms, heavy rain, lightening and hail, tornado warnings near by! Never mind!

So while I'm sitting here, and instead of wasting time, I thought that I'd post some info about what I use to paint, and what my approach to painting nocturnes is in order to answer a number of questions that I'm getting about this.

The Methods and Materials are really just about the same as I use during the day. Painting is painting and painting a nocturne calls for the same sensibilities to Drawing, Value, Color, Composition... Edges, Temperature and most important... Concept!

Observation is key, and painting what you see... not what you know... is essential. This is certainly true during the daylight situations also. But at night you really don't have a choice because much of what you 'think' you know about an object or situation is no longer valid. The darkness obliterates details, artificial lights can obliterate form, and the combination will leave you wondering just what it is that you're looking at. Don't worry about it, you don't need to know, if you're paying attention to putting down the correct relationships of the shapes, values and colors (with the accompanying attention to edges and the qualities of the colors... hue, intensity, value and temperature) that are before you. If you do that with a Concept in mind, you'll have a great time at this.

There is something freeing about painting at night. I suppose that in part it's because you can't see everything that is happening in the subject, or on your painting. The lights I use are great, but they're still limited and this is not like painting in good studio or north light! Even with the 'better' illumination with the LED lights, they're not perfectly color balanced. Your color mixtures will look pretty good, but they will still surprise you a little when you take the paintings inside and view them under good studio light. Painting a nocturne is always an adventure into the unknown.

All of these obstacles make painting nocturnes both a challenge and a thrill to do. And once it's dark, the light doesn't change unless the neighbor, whose house you may be painting, turns off the lights and goes to bed!

I prefer smoother surfaced panels at night so that the glare from the darker colors isn't as bad. That glare makes them hard to photograph for one, but also hard to see the painting once it's varnished.

Usually I tone the panel first with either a warm tone or a dark neutral like some black with blue and a little red mixed in. It's best to let that dry a day or so before painting on it. More and more I prefer the gray vs the warm tone.

I don't switch up my palette, though I may not use as much of the lighter value colors as I would in daylight. I tend to use more of the darker value colors like Transparent Oxide Brown or Red, Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue Deep and Viridian. I do add a few colors for catching the intensity of lights at night, like red, blue and green neon. I add some Pthalo colors... blue, green, turqouise. I also like a Quinacridone red or rose for the glowing pinks of some lights.

Here's the palette-
Titanium White
Cad Lemon Yellow
Cad Yellow Deep
Yellow Ochre light
Cad Orange
Cad Scarlet
Cad Red
Quinacridone Red or Rose
Alizarin Crimson
Transparent Oxide Brown or Red
Ultramarine Blue
Night add ons-
Pthalo Blue, Green, Turquoise

I use the 10x12 EasyL box.

This is the Mighty Bright LED Book light.

That's the scoop! Thanks.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

9/14 and 9/15 Nocturnes...

For those of you who follow this, I jumped the gun on 'thinking' I was out of the woods with this viral thing going around. I'm not. So I'm sorry but I am going to spend the next two days and kick it for good! I know I'm not painting tonight the 14th, and will see about tomorrow night.

You have no idea how much this ticks me off! I remember a year ago in April when I made it through the entire month without one measurable interruption, except for a pre-planned 3 day workshop. Looking back, that was an amazing thing to me. There's always something going on and this month seems to have it's share.

See you in a night or two. One good thing is that the moon will be about half full on the 15th.

Monday, September 13, 2010

September 13, 2010

Another gorgeous evening into night again! I'm really glad that the moon is making a presence again. The light it ads to the subject is so welcome. A friend mentioned that the northern lights should have been visible tonight, and maybe they will be later. I found this new crescent moon to be irresistible tonight. I drove over to Lindstrom tonight and painted on South Lindstrom Lake. Lindstrom is a very Swedish town as you might have guessed by the name. The sign across main street says "Valkommen till Lindstrom"... I don't know how to make the little dots over the 'o' or the 'a'.

The mosquitoes came out with a vengeance tonight. For the first painting I was almost inhaling mosquito spray there was so much in 'my' air. Did no good, they were swarming the face tonight! After the first one I scrambled out of there and came back to my house and caught the carriage house behind me with the crescent moon hovering over head.

9/13-1 'Lake Lights'
As I mentioned, I'm really liking painting right at sunset. Especially on the lakes around here. The lake surfaces take on so much subtle color, grayed pinks, blues, violets, and greens. All very close in value and intensity and all darker and cooler than the sky. I was talking to someone about how I think that I'm going to spend more time working at this time of the day, right at the end. Only problem is that to do that you can't work large, or you can and just come back many times. To me it makes more sense to get comfortable working around 8x10 or 9x12 and limit it to that. These kind of studies make great reference, along with some digital images, back in the studio. Right now these 5x7's are plenty large to get that information down in time.

9/13-2 'Crescent Over the Carriage House'
I drove home to try to paint the moon over the top of the hill behind my house. Problem was that it wasn't there, it was further east and over the carriage house, in between the trees. The light from my back porch added a second light source that functioned as a fill light to add a little dimension to the scene. So that's what I painted.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September 12, 2010

After a couple of days fighting off some sort of annoyance, and many, many well wishes... I want to thank you for that!!! It's a pretty nice thing, this digital community we have going.

I was ready to go tonight after being stuck inside for two days. We had a beautiful day and the end of it's run did not disappoint. There was a richness to the light that comes at this time of the year that we look forward to as painters.

Tonight I painted three paintings, one before sunset, and two following that, on the Stillwater waterfront. There was a lot of activity, tourists, bikers, music, fishing, walkers, you name it, people were out enjoying the great day. I'll post all three, just the two nocturnes will be up on the eBay auction.

'Long Shadows' oil- 8x10
This was about a 35-40 minute painting. I was at the waterfront a little too early for sunset, and as it turned out, barely there long enough to get the light which disappeared behind the surrounding hills very fast. But I got a sketch of the nature of the area, the bandstand being slammed by the warm light and the many little indications of the people milling about.

9/12-1 P.D.Pappy's
This was one crowded, biker infested bar and grill tonight. Live music and a lot of fun lighting to tempt the nearest nocturne painter in sight. The road in front was loaded with Harley's, all just silhouettes, but with lot's of bouncing reflections.

9/12-2 Crescent Moon
Finally! Some moon... I barely had time to paint it before it was back behind the hills. But it was good to see it again.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

September 10, 2010

No nocturnes for Friday the 10th.
The 'Nocturne-ist' is under the weather with a, hopefully brief, bug of some kind.
... Marc

Thursday, September 9, 2010

September 9, 2010

What a beautiful day it was today. I know that because I spent most of it driving an hour from my house into the Twin Cities to return a light at National Camera... and then home... and then back to National Camera... and then home again! I saw the beauty out the window, all afternoon. This is what happens when you start using a new wallet that looks just like your old wallet, which you grab in a rush as you're heading out the door to the Twin Cities. Opening that wallet at the 'Customer Service' counter, I was surprised to see that there wasn't a driver's license, credit card, dollar bill or anything in it that would facilitate returning the light I drove all that way to return.

The store clerk said "Is there someone at home who you could call and they could read off the credit card numbers that you used?"... me... "No, the cat can't talk."... him... "Hmmmm..."... me... "But I'll work on that one."

Tonight I drove to Balsam Lake, WI about twenty minutes from here. It's a nice, clear typical Wisconsin lake with little bays full of pontoon boats, lily pads and homes spread around the banks. I had a plan to paint light from the houses and boat docks reflecting onto the water's surface.

A side note... If you think that painting lights on houses at night is easy, have you ever thought that those same lights are controlled by the people inside who might be going to bed long before you are? The things I'm learning by doing this nocturne painting event are numerous. Just as in the day time, light changes, but at night it's not due to the earth's rotation, it's due to businesses closing or house residents calling it a day.

Back on Balsam Lake... the other thing that I didn't think about is that on Wednesday night, in September, many of the people who turn on the lights of the cabins lining the lakeshore are not there! They're in Minneapolis or St. Paul and probably won't be there until the weekend!!! I learn something new every day that I had not thought of the day before.

9/9-1 'Returning Fisherman'
Maybe not a nocturne of the 'dark' variety, but painted 30 minutes past actual sunset, civil twilight, and very dark though the sky was still light. I blocked in the land mass, reflections and lily pad masses and was waiting for a little bit for things to darken. The sky just stayed light for a long time, so I painted it in. Just as I was about to wonder where the focal point was going to be, there were some warm lights on the distant shoreline that could have been used for that, a little Lund fishing boat came around the corner of the point (similar to the Taylors Falls Queen last week) and became the perfect focal point with it's warm light on the stern and the green light on the bow. The guys in it pulled up and out of the water and walked over to me and said "If you don't mind me asking, why are you painting at night?" I didn't know what to say at first and mumbled something incoherent that they'd probably expect and artist to sound like. Then I said "Well I paint a lot in the day time too..." I don't know, I just can't explain everything!

9/9-2 'Balsam Lake-You Are Here'
The second painting was to be my legitimate nocturne for the night. I waited for "real" dark, and just as I was getting excited about the lake scene in front of me, the nuclear powered street light ignites and the entire lake environment vanishes behind a veil of airborne particles, bugs and moisture lit by the mercury vapor beast on the pole behind me. The idea to paint the reflections on the water are over at this point, I can't see them. So I turned left and see my +270,000 mile Ford Explorer Sport Trac parked next to the topographical map for Balsam Lake and I decide to paint that... because it's all I can see.

September 8, 2010

It's a late start today because I bought a diffuser photo light yesterday at the photo store, to see if I could eliminate the glare issue on the photos of these wet paintings. NOT! So after messing with it, it went back in the box and I took pics the old fashioned way. All the messing around has delayed my post for today. So in brief, here they are...

9/8-1 'Firepit at Sunset'
It's a little 'fall like', the skies were clear and it seemed like a nice night for a fire in the pit. But I'd have to be here to do that, so why not do that and then paint it? These were a fun exercise in movement and using 'hot' color. I started the first one right at sunset because I didn't know if I'd even be able to get the wood to burn, it's been sitting in the pit through the rain of the last few days. Well it went up like a torch!!! Problem was that there wasn't that much wood, so I had to paint fast before it was gone. I wanted flames, not burning embers.

9/8-2 'Firepit at 9pm'
For the second painting of the night I thought it would be fun to back off a little bit from where I painted the first one, and paint the fire pit in total darkness. Only problem was, as I mentioned above, the wood supply was gone. So I jumped into my truck and ran down to the gas station and had to 'buy' a stack of oak to burn for the second painting. It was worth it, I was toasty and had a blast painting the flames.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

September 7, 2010

If one more grey fox walks up behind me while I'm painting in my own yard and snorts or barks or chortles or whatever it is you call the weird noise that they make, I'm going to get a large stuffed coyote to stand next to me! They should know that if the coyotes show up, they're goners. My anxiety aside, I love having the little guys running all over my yard at night and stopping a few feet from my easel to look at me like I don't belong. I stayed in the yard tonight to paint to avoid the wind and to avoid driving around too much.

That's all I'm saying...

I decided I had more to say!

Observation is key in painting, I don't think that could be argued, not in representational painting anyway. In the dark...

You can't paint from what you know, you have to paint what you see!

Previous knowledge is almost useless because everything that you thought you knew about a tree, for instance, changes in the dark. So you have to be an even more careful and keen observer at night than you may be in the day time. I know I'm guilty of, and have to constantly remind myself, 'not' to paint things, but to paint relationships... value, color and edges... at ALL times. It's easy to let your previous knowledge slip into a painting, but at night that knowledge isn't there in all cases, so you have to rely on observation.

Now that's all...

9/7-1 'Porch Pot' ( Sorry for the glare. I could not find a way to shoot this and not have some?)
I planted this shrub rose last August. If it lives until next August I'll consider myself lucky. I liked it's profile against the lighter colored siding of the house.

9/7-2 'Norway Spruce'
I have these two gorgeous old Norway Spruce adorning my front yard. And of course the obligatory orange street light. I'm beginning to hate whoever came up with these lights that are all orange. It's a strange color to paint in any situation other than Halloween.

Monday, September 6, 2010

September 6, 2010

I've made an impact! I'm now known as the 'eBay guy', locally anyway. Tonight as I was painting, in the rain, a very nice lady walked across the street from Romayne's Bar and Grill, my subject in the first painting. She initially wanted to know what a guy with lights was doing hanging out on the sidewalk in the dark on a stormy night when all of the summer traffic was gone... NO ONE was in town any longer. When she walked up she said "Are you the guy who's on eBay, painting a couple paintings a day?" Well blow me down with a wisp of air! That took me by surprise to say the least. Evidently she searches for Taylors Falls items on eBay and when she did a search the other day, I came up and she saved my painting to follow along. I gave her a card with my blog address on it so that she could follow the whole kit and kaboodle. I was very proud that in my own town there are people who I don't even know who might be paying attention to what I'm doing in this marathon. I want to thank her here for making the trip across the street tonight to tell me that.

A little side rambling... I can amuse myself with very little, and I'm doing it again. As humans we are so conditioned to act and feel based on similar events in our past. How many of us have eaten something when we were very young, gotten sick on it because we had the flu, mumps, or some reason for it to make us sick other than the food, and to this day we can't stand to eat that food!!!??? For me it's carmel apples (I know, it makes me sick that I can't eat them) and the mumps... haven't eaten one since I was about 8 or 9 years old when because of having the mumps a carmel apple made me very sick.

Conditioning... During my April Painting 'Marathon' 2009, every single day I walked out the door it was nasty, some less than others, but still not all that pleasant and I wasn't all that anxious always to face it. It left an impression.

So here I am in another 'Marathon' and I'm cracking up because every night when I head out I put on long johns, three shirts and a fleece! By the time I get a few blocks away to paint, I'm hot and taking those extra items off. The only reason I can think of that I do this is because I'm 'pre-conditioned' from the 2009 Marathon and I'm doing another Marathon now... So...

To my pleasant surprise each night out, it's actually pretty warm! Once I'm on location I get kind of excited to be painting a Marathon that doesn't require gloves and a ski hat!!!

Like I said... a little side ramble!

9/6-1 'Golden Light'
This is a painting of the courtyard of a local eating and drinking establishment called Romayne's here in Taylors Falls. I found the dark of the foreground tables sans the umbrellas for the night, played against the lit wall and the 'Golden Light' sign a good subject.

I was pretty excited to just camp on the, now quiet, streets of Taylors Falls tonight and paint. My plan was to stay in one spot and get my work done. Well as usual, Mother Nature had different plans. It was raining when I left the house tonight so I placed myself under an awning so that I could paint in the rain. What I didn't do was take my anti- lightening strike pills. As I was working on this one the skies became evil incarnate! With one strike, I saw at least 6 or 7 veins of lightening careening over the top of the hills in front of me, and my ears were about blown out, it was so loud and near by. That did it... I finished up and came home out of harms way. I don't mind rain, even tolerate wind... but lightening is a force that I just don't mess with.

9/6-2 'Oscar the Grouch'
I have two pets, Sargent who I painted last night, and my fish Oscar. Oscar started life as a 1-1/2" Walmart resident. I rescued him and he's now about 7" or 8" inches long, the size of a large, really large bluegill. He has that grouchy look that has earned him the nickname 'Oscar the Grouch'. Getting chased inside tonight I thought it would be fun to paint Oscar in his 40 gallon aquarium. He's a beautiful specimen... but he doesn't hold still any longer than his companion Sargent. Animals that aren't on film or a memory card are hard to paint! I'm hoping for good weather so that I can stick to the buildings, trees and other subjects that don't move... ever.

Link to the nocturnes on my website.

Click here to go to the 2010 September Nocturnes from Life collection on my website. If you prefer visuals without the writing and commentary this should do it. Thanks.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

September 5, 2010

One things for sure, every day it gets dark. I lived in Norway when I was young and there were a couple of days that broke that rule, it never gets dark on the Midnight Summer's Eve and Night. The other thing that you can count on is never being able to please everyone. I had an email from someone who was complimentary about my work, but who feels that I'm talking too much on these posts... "Here I go again!" I can appreciate someone's opinion that they'd rather just see the art, not hear the artist ramble on. I almost want to apologize for treating this blog and project as a daily journal... but I'm not going to! (I don't really want to apologize, just feel that it would be polite to.) This is my blog, my work and my thought. I hope you like what I'm doing, but it's not a requirement. Thank you.

Okay, rambling along... Tonight was my night back from not being able to paint last night because I wanted to have fun at the wedding. I did...

Click Here to Bid.
9/5-1 Sunset Rain
I set up a little early because I saw on weather radar and reports, that we were expecting some rain. The first painting was begun before dark, but right at sunset. We had a low overcast which held a lot of light for some time tonight. One of the things that I am discovering as I paint outside more and more, is that I'm as interested in what the atmospheric conditions cause to happen as I am in the subject. As it turned out the rain proved to be a very nice factor that influenced this painting.

Click Here to Bid.
9/5-2 Sargent Watching Bugs
Then my CAT... Sargent ... Back up at my house inbetween rain showers I decided to paint Sargent, my cat, because he ALWAYS sits on the window ledge of the screened back porch. Unless you are set on painting him there!!! With some trickery, some treats and a lot of clicks, whistles, squeeking and calling to him I managed about 1 minute of getting him to "model". Still, I feel I caught his attitude and am happy with the results.

Back on track for tonight...

Okay... wedding successful and a surprise morning balloon ride is over so now back to business! I mentioned that I had come up with a way to get the book light above my line of vision, greatly improving my ability to see the subject and the lit painting without loosing too much night vision. Here's a picture of the set up. I'm using a piece of screen door moulding but would suggest a piece of 1/4"x1" flat pine trim moulding (or something like that). The photo was taken with the iPhone at night, kind of grainy.

Have to share some photos of the balloon trip this morning. :-)
Spectacular, amazing, pillowy soft, magical...FUN!

MVFR... Marginal Visual Flight Rules... Meaning that it's legal to fly, but use caution and judgement before doing so. The weather around the area was checked at a number of airports and it was decided by the pilot in command that this was a patchy ground fog and it would be breaking up and not be a hazard to our flight... so we went! :)

The St Croix River Valley at about 7AM, looking north of Stillwater, MN.

Our pilot, Scott Aamodt, brought us down to the surface of the lake...

We actually skimmed the surface of the water, just kissed it enough to wet the underside of the basket...

And then he set it down in less than a football sized parking lot!