Terry Miura • Studio Notes

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sonoma Plein Air - Day 2

Early Delivery, 11 x 14

During the event, I stayed with a host family arranged by Sonoma Plein Air. The generosity and hospitality of the patrons who open up their homes for us artists is incredible. It reminds me that, despite all the crap going on in the world these days, there are lots and lots very nice people!

The house I'm staying at is located at the top of a mountain, and is nothing short of spectacular. The kind of house you'd expect to see on the cover of a magazine - complete with a view of the entire valley and beyond, a pool, and a bocce ball court. I am staying in the pool house, which is a fully furnished apartment unto itself. It's so comfortable that I don't feel like leaving it to go to work.

But go to work I must, so I got up around 6am and headed toward town. Before I get painting, I must stop at the Basque Cafe and have one of their custard danishes. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but they have the best custard in the world!  It's one of the reasons why I look forward to this event every year :-)

My friend Darrell Hill was having his breakfast at the Basque, so I joined him and took my time savoring my danish and coffee. I was procrastinating, to be honest, because I didn't have a plan of attack for the day.

When I find myself in that situation, I generally set up my easel where my car's parked, and just paint what's in front of me - I give myself the challenge of making something interesting out of an ordinary, sometimes dreadfully boring, scene.

My view.


Well this wasn't all that boring, but still a challenge. I was looking right into the sun so after a while my eyes hurt, and I had a hard time judging values - not to mention color. And as expected at this hour, the light changed very quickly. Still, I was able to finish the painting in a few hours and it didn't look too bad.

There was a lunch gathering planned for the artists but I still had over an hour till then. Not enough time to do another painting, so I sat around and drew in my sketchbook, thinking about what I might do that afternoon. Drawing always helps me focus, and in by lunch time, I had some ideas I wanted to try.

Lunch was awesome - Chef Terri Wicks never disappoints, and hanging out with friends over a good meal is always fun. We caught up on what everyone was doing – some had a sluggish time getting into the groove, while others were crankin' 'em out. I wasn't in the crankin' camp, but hey, it's still Day 2.

Andante, 9 x 12

After lunch, I went back to the town square and parked right on the busy street, and set up my easel in the street, protected by my parked vehicle. I set up my easel facing the sun, and proceeded to paint cars and people - all moving targets. This was the idea I wanted to try. Since endless supply of cars come and go, all stopping at the same spot, I figured it wouldn't be too difficult to just make a composite of sorts. And pedestrians were plentiful, too.  Walking people are sort of my schtick, you know. So this was well within my comfort zone. But composite cars + walking people + backlighting... now this was something I haven't tried en plein air, so I was excited to give it a go, and was very pleased that it came out really nicely.

So pleased was I, that I decided to try it again for the Quickdraw event which was to take place later that afternoon. Knowing ahead of the time that I could pull this off in the limited time allotted gave me a peace of mind. I did anticipate that the sun was going to be much lower, so it would pretty much be in my eyes. But see, I did that this morning, so I was ready for the glare and all.

My view.

This is my quickdraw. To Get To The Other Side, 9 x 12.

As you can see, small changes, but very similar, overall. I felt I had a better understanding of the structure of this type of setup so I finished it in about an hour, satisfied. I think I will try this again, a little bigger next time. There are a couple of hue variations and local-color manipulations that I'd like to try, so I hope I get the chance to do it in the next coupla days.

My Quickdraw painting sold right away, for which I was very happy. That means I won't be skunked out. It's kind of a relief.

Later a bunch of us went to dinner and had a few beers, comparing notes and talking shop. I went back to the house exhausted and went right to sleep.

1 comment:

  1. So that's how you do it....per our conversation the other night - - - STEAL. Yeah right, I doubt I could do the same scene as well but I may just give it a shot on my own. It helps to see the areas you simplified and treated as a mass.

    It was really nice to meet you in Sonoma, I hope we get to hang out again soon.