Meeting Notes, August 13, 2015

At today's meeting Loretta, Dave, Tim, Jim, Carol, Judith, Erin, Vicki, Jeanne, Kristina, Mike, Charlie, Eunice, Kay, and me Celeste.

Today's suggested table topic: Strong abstract design that “underlies" your painting (as a foundation)... do you have experience with thinking/designing abstractly? What does this mean to you? 

Celeste: I think this question is a lot like other questions. It is similar to the question about Notan. I read recently something by James Gurney where he talked about when two values are very similar, but the overall shape runs together, you should consider doing something that he calls "shape welding". You consider the whole shape of what you not isolate objects. I brought in three paintings from from Hood River. I enjoyed doing them! We had a total blast in Hood River. I also brought in a figure that I did from a recent life session, it has problems, but it also has some positives.

Loretta: I believe that it is Kenn Backhaus who says that you should look at the world as if it is puzzle pieces and paint everything as if they are puzzle pieces. As you know,  I paint in an intuitive way. Sometimes I may start out representationally and wind up abstract or vice a versa. 

Dave: I often have put abstract components into a representational painting. I have done this often with figures. For example, I had a horse racing painting that was representational in the figures but abstract in the background and foreground. I like to play with abstract shapes. Nothing is really pre-planned when I do those types of things. Ideas come to me as I am painting. I brought in a painting that I did (plein air) recently in Colorado. It may seem that these colors are over-saturated, but they really looked this way! Colorado is very colorful. 

Tim: Every time I paint I block-in with large shapes. I generally pick a color to do this and it is often times the color of the thing that I plan to represent. I have designed a new easel. I have brought it today. It attachs to a tripod. All the information about this is on my blog. This is designed to hold a canvas up to 40 inches! I brought a recent plein air painting.

Jim: In order to understand abstract we must determine what is the definition of abstract. Sometimes abstract means to “take away” (remove from)…but, for me it has to do with shapes and relationships. I recently did some boat paintings. I used some of Ned Mueller's photo reference for these. Ned has let me borrow his photographs before. I feel confident that he won't mind. I really enjoyed doing all of these. I wanted to "push it" and paint very freely. I made sure that I liked the design before committing myself. I didn't want to just copy photographs... but to create art! It is exciting to try to make something beautiful. For me it always boils down to putting the right color next to the right shape. I also enjoy putting down big textured areas next to smooth areas. I think you can see here, all my big shapes…placed strategically to make things interesting.  I am working on this last one that is truly abstract-looking (simplified to the clearest shapes).  It is just the beginning, so I will do more to it. 

Diane: My first contact with the idea of “abstraction" was in Za Vue's plein air workshop. She showed us in black and white how she plans the big darks and lights. In Joanne Mehl's figure workshop she talked about something that she called “Armature". It made me envision a wire form beneath everything. We have to look for what is holding everything up and find a way to communicate that strength. When you find a color and find the correct shape it will all come together…. sort of like a quilt! Possibly the biggest thing to remember about big shapes is that you need to squint in order to see them. 

Judith:  I have to learn how to simplify. I'm aware that what I've been doing is drawing my paintings instead of painting my paintings. I ordered Richard Schmids book. In the book he describes what he calls “licking” (going over an area again and again creating problems). My goal is to become aware, so that I'll put the paint down once and leave it there. I am showing two paintings one a profile figure and one a copy of a contemporary master painting. 

Erin:  I enjoy large demanding shapes. It is what I am drawn to. I will ask myself what do I like about this scene. I have learned that it is hardest to plan out in the field (plein air).  I often put in details too soon. I watched a instructional DVD recently by M Catherine Hurley. It was great and on this very same subject. She looks at things upside down and backwards. She also uses a red filter. Many of her paintings are intersecting triangles. I enjoyed the Hood River paint out. I recently went to the beach and it was so overwhelming. (I brought three paintings, one of the beach, one the lavender and another based of Hurley’s instruction).  I am committed to learning to simplify outdoors. 

Vicki: This question confused me ….what is the difference between shapes and abstract? Well, I had a teacher a long time ago who showed us slides. She showed us objects that were upside down and out of focus. She was teaching that abstract is actually less recognizable as a subject, but that the rules are the same. I brought in two paintings that I did plein air. 

Jeanne: Abstract is the relationship of light and form (father than an objective view of things). The challenge is to keep those abstract qualities alive when the painting is being finished. I brought in three plein air paintings.

 Joanne:  I brought in a painting that did not go into the Hood River show. I'm sometimes too light with the block-in. I like this painting, how the big shapes are pleasing and how it draws you down the road. I know we are all in agreement, that big connected shapes are desireable! I enjoyed painting in Hood River very much.

Kay: Abstraction and big shapes has always been challenging for me. I think Tim Horn has been helpful for me…. getting me to put the shadow shapes in right off the bat. That is what he teaches... that you must look at things so simply, the light side and the shadow side. I brought in the very first painting I ever did! It is from a long time ago. It was from a class with Jerry Ross. In his class he explained that he was just going to have us work with "blobs of paint". I’m sure by referring to “blobs of paint” he was trying to make painting less daunting for the unintiated. I am bringing in the reference that I still have and the painting that shows that this method (ust thinking about “blobs”) can have a satisfactory result. I still like this painting. I also brought in a painting I did from the Medley tea shop. 

Kristina: You must think about big shapes if you're going to be a plein air painter…but If I had known Jim King was going to bring in so many boat paintings I wouldn't have brought mine! (Laughter)!* I did this painting of the Marina in Hood River.  I try to simplify the shapes every time I paint. *(Jim interjected here that Kristina’s Marina is perfectly great. We’re all glad she brought it)!

 Mike: This plein air painting that I am showing is from a recent session…I wrote about this day on Facebook. This was the time when a hummingbird came screaming right up to my face and suddenly stopping inches away...and the same day that a lady came up to me, not to talk about my painting, but to ask if my car was for sale (Laughter)! I also brought in paintings from Luscher Farms and Cooper Mountain. 

Charlie: I am taking a pass today 

Eunice: I am taking a pass today too. 


OSA is having their 200 for under 200 show. This is an open call to everyone not just OSA members. Carol Marine is going to be the Juror. 

Charlie tells us that Multnomah days is this weekend. It begins on Saturday at 10 AM with the parade to the Community Arts Center. The Kiwanas will have a breakfast. Links:

Several people are going to the Phyllis Trowbridge workshop. Thank you Jeanne Chamberlain for letting them know about it. 

Judith tells us that she visited the Kaiser Medical Center on 26 recently off of the Tannesborne exit. Marla Bagetta and several other Pacific Northwest artists are represented there in what seems to Judith to be a permanent collection. 

For all results from the Hood River competition and exhibition go to this link. Several Alla Prima Portland people won honors. 
Congratulations, all!

(The show is up until August 31).

Lots of photos of Pacific Northwest Plein Air (Hood River):

Plein Air at Washington County (October):

Create Eugene (August 21-23)

The friends of easels meets on Mondays in the Gorge. You can always just show up with them.

Susan Kuznitsky, Brenda Boylan, Anton Pavlenko and others giving demos and classes at OSA:

For more announcements/events/groups/paint outs: our facebook page:

That's all for today thank you for coming and sharing your ideas and your paintings! 

The Thursday Drawing Club meets at Village Coffee until repairs at Medley Tea are completed. (Medley Tea art exhibit is also put on “hold” until repairs complete. We will update when we know the new date).  

Next meeting Thursday, August 20 suggested table topic: BLUE! (revisiting a favorite topic). Tell us anything you want about blue….something specific (a favorite blue, something you learned, any blue-related information at all)!

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