Meeting Notes, May 28, 2015

At today's meeting Loretta, Thomas, Tim, Charlie, Jerry, Kristina, Jim, Susan, Annie, Diane, Vicki, Stephanie, Tedd, Eunice, Kay, Za, and me Celeste. 

Today's suggested table topic: "Challenging subjects". What have you found "daunting" to paint?

Celeste: I remember years ago going to a villa with other plein air painters in particular Carolyn Rondthaler. I could see on her face how much she admired a certain complex scene... but I also saw on her face the exact moment that she decided NOT to paint it. (Laughter)! Another time I was painting with Jim King and I was "withering" over something that I knew I was going to have trouble with. He said "oh for God sakes, Celeste it's all just shapes"! (Laughter)! In the spirit of today's question I did some quick studies of things that I don't particularly like to paint. I painted some drapery, a white object, a copper tin, and my mineral spirits jar. I also brought in a black cat (that was a challenge). 

Eunice: I find flowers to be very challenging. Also, people. I find the whole Studio 30 thing to be quite a challenge! I brought in a painting from the coast. This is from the parking lot of the "Rave restaurant". 

Tedd: I don't like lavender! (Laughter)! I brought in a recent flower painting. 

Stephanie: I don't like buildings or bridges. I like just the landscape without man-made things in it. Recently, I painted at the Sandy River. Here you can see I put in a bridge. I also painted in another location and I realized I didn't have to be very specific about the architecture that I saw. I can just put in a brown shape that would be a good suggestion of the building. 

Vicki: I find the natural complexion tones and shadows on the face to be my biggest challenge. I am working on it! You can count on it... I will work on it this winter, I promise. In the meantime, I like painting outside. I was with Stephanie when we painted this scene in Lake Oswego.  I like seeing our paintings together side by side (the same scene with different interpretations). 

Diane: What I find the most difficult are commissioned paintings. I was asked to do a painting from a wedding. They asked for certain objects to be in the painting like the St. John's bridge. This was done from a small photograph.! I spent a lot of time considering this. I did a lot of drawings. I cut elements out of photocopies and moved them around. They wanted his gesture of his hand in the painting. I've spent some time working out the details and chose this tall vertical format for the painting. It's not quite finished yet...but I am pleased that I am seeing it through!

Annie: If I "lay off"..if I haven't painted for a while everything is hard! I had a dream once where I encountered a jellyfish. It was so beautiful and transparent. In my dream I knew that painting this jellyfish would be so easy! I knew exactly what to do. I knew which colors to select and precisely how to proceed... But then I woke up. (Laughter)! 

Kay: The thing that I find to be my biggest challenge are noses. I don't know if I'll ever get where I can feel supremely confident painting a nose. I am working on it! I haven't painted since the Jennifer Diehl urbanscape workshop. We were on Burnside and a lot of people came up to us and asked us questions. Ugh! But! I like when I stretch myself. I do enjoy learning new stuff and trying out new things. I brought in this pamphlet from Gallery Russia. This work on the cover reminds me so much of Hilarie Couture's paintings. I did have a sale of a painting recently!  (Applause)! 

Za: I like organic shapes. I am not as fond of buildings and bridges. I'll do it, but I don't necessarily like it. (Laughter)!  My mentor Yong tells me that when he is very excited about something his palms start to sweat. That is when he is chomping on the bit to paint a painting. I can say that I will never have my palms sweating over a building or a bridge! (Laughter)!  I brought in a painting of Mount Hood. I wanted to show you the new type of frame I'm using. It is a more contemporary look. When I painted this (I use water-soluble oils, you know) my bucket of water was freezing.... it was that cold! As I would place my painting brush on the canvas, it was freezing-- my paint was freezing on the brush! I had to paint this so fast. It made me realize that painting fast can be a good idea. You can feel the speed of the brushwork when you look at it!

Susan: I am truly truthfully not scared of painting anything. I say that, and yet I do realize there are some things that I steer away from. I certainly don't like painting in the cold. I don't care for winter. So, you likely will not see many plein air snow scenes from me! (Laughter)! I teach young students. I find it so interesting when I give them a stack of photos to look through to paint.  One child absolutely won't paint something (they are "afraid" of it) but the next child has absolutely no trouble with that very same image--maybe they even paint it with gusto. What accounts for that? Perhaps it is a matter of personality...! I brought in a painting I did of some calla lilies. I thought at first this was going to be a simple painting. But it turned out these were very difficult to describe. It was a challenge, a great deal more work than I thought it would be.

Jim: Several people have mentioned bridges and buildings and I want to join that crowd. (Laughter)! I took the Jennifer Diehl workshop. She wanted us to paint fast, but the people were moving and I was trying to do it well! (Laughter)! 
Of course, we all wanted our buildings to be precise and squared up. Jennifer pointed out that utmost precision is just not a requirement...I  have decided I want to practice downtown compositions with drawing. I'm going to take a stool and some pencils and go downtown to sketch scenes so that I can feel more comfortable painting them. I went to the Tilbury event and I took many pictures. I made sketches there and I did paintings from them in my own studio. That is what I'm showing today, two paintings from Tilbury and one from the urbanscape workshop. 

Kristina: I have found it next to impossible to paint my sister. I have had her come over and pose for me many times. I don't know what it is, I just can't seem to capture her. I brought in a painting that I did that is of value study of her. This is the best I've ever done of her. I'll keep trying. I also brought in another painting that I did with a palette knife.  

Jerry: Early in my painting career I went to the Steens Mountains. I painted plein air from my car. It was ideal. I used the  trunk lid of the car as my roof. What I determined during that trip was that distance and depth are hard! I am better now than I was,  but I still find it very challenging to make things look far away and to get that proper atmosphere. I brought in a painting where I seem to have done it! My wife insisted that we frame it.  (Laughter)! 

Charlie: I have come to the conclusion that people don't see things the way I see things. Most people don't understand what I am seeing. (Laughter)! For this reason I have at times tried conventional subject matter (that I thought they would "understand") (Laughter)!  I brought in a sketch from the Gorge. 

Tim: What I don't like to paint.... is the St. John's bridge! (Laughter)!  I brought in a painting that I recently did. I put it on Facebook and it sold! (Applause)! 

Thomas: For me, painting water is a challenge. Andrew Wyeth said "I'm after a moment, not a frozen moment, but a moment". That's the difficulty in painting water ---to make it look not frozen. How many times have you gone out to paint a waterfall only to come away with something that looks solid and stiff!  One thing I have learned is that there's a big difference between bodies of water moves. For example, the river and the ocean. Often a river will have some nice static rocks for consideration. Rocks don't move so you can count on them to give you some idea how to paint the water moving around them. The ocean is different because every single solitary wave is unique. I painted this on a trip when I was out with Paul Zegers. You may remember me telling you this story before... just in the last moment I threw this fish in l(Laughter)! I knew that things were jumping out there and then it dawned on me---put the fish in!  Well, I obviously couldn't examine a fish while they were jumping like that. I had to totally wing it.  It is one of my favorite paintings. 

Loretta: Everything is a challenge! (Laughter)!  Really for me it's metal, brass and copper. I did paint something once that was copper and I think I could do it again. I will attempt it, knowing full well I might not get it, but I will certainly try.. it's all an experiment. 


Lisa Caballero Life Drawing sessions (without instruction) on Fridays beginning at 3pm. Towne Storage. Check with her for space (email at bottom of this link):

The Lake Oswego plein air event starts tomorrow. Here is more information:

Za Vue, Eric Jacobsen, Eric Bowman, Oleg Ulitskiy, Paul Zegers, Scott Gellatly, Aimee Erickson, Sarah Sedwick, Mike Rangner and others in the Giustina Gallery "Every Day Taste of Plein Air" Reception June 10 6-9pm“en-plein-air”-celebrated-new-osu-exhibit
875 SW. 26th St. in Corvallis, OR 97331 Overall show dates: June 2-July 17

Thomas Kitts has a three day workshop in August. Find more information on his blog:

Clara Jane Stephens show at the Portland Art Museum in the Northwest Art section:;id=5838;type=701

Eduardo Fernandez and Jerry Sumpter classes July and August Portland Art Museum; 

Lavender festival call to Artists:

Broderick call to Artists:

Important! Our biggest news is that our Thursday meeting is moving to Friday! We are just moving next door from O'Connors in the O'Connors Annex. Next Friday will be our first Friday meeting (9am).  They can't serve us breakfast in the annex. If you want to have breakfast, please come and have breakfast "before" the regular meeting at 8 AM. Then we will move into the annex.  

There aren't any dues for Alla Prima Portland...But O'Connors is our meeting place! So we do hope that you will continue to support O'Connors by sometimes buying breakfast from them and/or lunch on our meeting day. Let's talk about it more on Friday! 

The Thursday Drawing Club met today....and the results are on the front page. The Thursday Drawing club now meets on Fridays too.

That is it for today, thank you for bringing your ideas and paintings!

Next meeting June Friday, June 5: suggested table topic: Your current favorite contemporary artist....who is it and what are the reasons that person is at the top of your list?

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