Meeting Notes, April 20, 2017

At today's meeting Loretta, Tim, Tedd, Dave, Jim, Stephanie, Thomas K, Tom D, Vicki, Geri, Annie, Mike, Eunice, Ward, Tom K, Vicki, Elo, Stephanie, and me Celeste.

Today's suggested table topic: Products or ideas that make painting "easier" for you.

Celeste: I had some trouble trying to decide on what to say. Recently I toned some canvases with Joanne and I think that toning canvases makes it easier to see values, especially in figure painting. I am showing a painting I did recently plein air and I (uncharacteristically) used a palette knife for part of it. The texture improved the painting.  I'm also showing other recent paintings.

Dave: I started doing a checklist because I kept forgetting things. (Laughter)! I would go out there and not have my brushes! (Laughter)! So I gave myself a checklist and followed it every time and now I never forget anything anymore. I have also switched to acrylics and I find that easier. I have three paint bags; one for cool, one for warm and one for neutral-- it makes it easier to find the paints. I'm also showing my wet canvas carrier --this is a big help! I am showing a painting from my archives.

Tedd: There is nothing that makes painting easier! (Laughter)! I have been doing a lot of drawing lately. This one (charcoal only) is painted on top of a mylar surface. This one (with color) is painted on the reverse side of the mylar. 

Eunice: I pass on this topic

Mike: This is a red filter that I use all the time. I use this to see values. I had it made at Tap plastics. Red filters work the best! You can go ahead and use the "value finder" app on your smart phone ---but that is a lot of trouble compared to simply using a red filter!

Annie: I have three new things to report about me. Number one is that I'm looking for studio space in Portland. Let me know if you know about anything. The second thing is I am writing a book. I have wanted to do this for a long time and it is underway. The subject is about a cicada that lives underground. I have written it, and now I have to illustrate it. I have been working with textures and I am showing you how I put texture on glass and then photocopied it. This is going to be part of my process for the illustrations. I'm also showing a painting that I did for an assignment in my class at PCC with Mark Andres. I had to photograph people waiting in line-- and then I painted it onto this glass. 

Geri: One thing I always do if I get a little stuck... I go to an art museum. I take art museums for granted, but then when I go I always come out of there having a new feeling for inspiration--it makes me want to get to work. I presume that many of you know about a store called Scrap. It is a nonprofit store and it is useful for finding cheap and fun items. I'm showing you a Cotmans watercolor kit that I got some time ago. This makes any in-real-time painting very is so complete and portable. I am showing two recent drawings/paintings that I did from the sktchy app.

Vicki: I like to use parchment paper as a disposable palette. I'm also showing you Murphy's wood soap. It is invaluable for cleaning brushes. I am showing a painting that I did recently. As a sidenote I want to say I'm grateful for these meetings. I looked at one of my paintings recently and realized that it would've benefited from the 60/40 principle that I that we talked about one meeting ago. "Oh...that's what it needs" (Laughter)! These meetings help me evaluate my paintings.

Elo: I like an app called Procreate. It allows you to paint over a photo of your painting. You can make endless changes to the painting digitally. Then you can decide whether not you want to make those changes to your actual painting.

Dotty: I find that just taking a photograph with your iPhone is so helpful because things will jump out at you from the photo. You'll see things that you didn't see before. I went to the Brenda Boylan demonstration and I learned there that she use the viewfinder that has a grid. She marks the canvas to match the marks of the grid on her viewfinder. That is a great idea! I am going to try that. Also she uses a small plastic T-square on location when she's painting things like architecture. I'm anxious to try that. I brought in the California Art Club oil painting 106th Exhibition catalog. I'm in it! (Applause, Applause!) I did this pastel recently at Cannon Beach.

Stephanie: I like Gamblin's solvent free gel. I like it because you can use it one day and the next day it is still doesn't dry up on your palette. I like to use disposable palettes and I use the gray ones. I am showing a recent cloud study. This was painted in honor of spring time! I am also showing another painting that I did of Mt. Hood from the opposite side.

Ward: This topic reminds me of a book that I read called "Zen Guitar". In the book there was a passage about how Dizzy Gillespie got a new horn. A young person said to him "I bet that one blows easy" and Gillespie replied: "ehhhh, none of 'em blows easy"! (Laughter)! 
I'm working on a full sheet painting.  I realized I was painting so closely to it when I stood back from at all the trees were slanted in one direction! I didn't want to be that way! (Laughter)!   I ultimately took an X-Acto knife to it and fixed it. Yes, a knife! My point is I don't think you should ever despair. Be brave, it's fixable.

Tom D. I do use a viewfinder to frame up the scenery. I think that my main tool is my brain! (Laughter)! I have had to work a lot recently (unrelated to art). What has sustained me is the idea of painting. When I get through all of this I'm going to paint!  I think about when I'm looking at something --how would I paint that?! What colors would I use to achieve that color? I'm showing you a plein air that I did near Marine Drive and 33rd. This is part of a slough.  I am also showing a second plein air.

Tom Kane: I have a new thing I'm interested in doing. I'm interested in finishing a painting! (Laughter)! I am showing you a painting that I do consider complete. I planned a portion of the painting to stop the viewer from going out of the picture. I took a trip to Maine many years ago. I had knowledge that Andrew (Andy) Wyeth lived in the area. This is where he did the painting of Christina's World.  I found some children at a barn. I talked to them -- did they know Wyeth? Yes, our father is the caretaker.  One boy said... do you want to see something really cool? and I said of course. He took me into a barn and there was a coffin there-- a coffin! It had the initials A.W. on it. (The caretaker had been asked to make it). If all this wasn't remarkable enough when I left I ran into Betsy Wyeth (Andrew's wife). I knew it was her. She was driving a Bronco. We sat in our respective cars looking at one another. She shook her head no..and signaled me with a wag of her index finger --do not to go any further. I understood. I put one finger up to let her know .....yes I understand...and I drove away. (Laughter---Applause)!

Tim: I am a sucker for new gadgets. I bought these double ended brushes. Wow, I thought, that's fabulous. But actually --nothing trips me out more than something like a double ended brush!  How are you supposed to use these??? I've never used them! (laughter)! I'm keeping them only for the novelty of them! (Laughter)! The one day it didn't rain all day, I painted this. I made it out to the dog park. I painted this at Skamania Landing.  This final small painting... I call it "little squirt" (laughter)!

Jim: I have been doing a remodel at my house. And so it has been interesting for me to try to also be in the daily painting challenge. I have to keep switching my brain from the left side to the right side (laughter)! I have always set up my palette so that cool colors are one side and warm colors are at the top. That makes things easier for me. I never change it. I have been focusing on values and edges. I am showing recent daily paintings. 

Loretta: I endorse this soap that is called "Master's Soap". Once I got Ultramarine Blue in my carpet and this soap got it completely out!

Thomas Kitts: What makes things easier for me my eyeballs! (Laughter)!  I recently met someone who wanted to meet new artists here in this area. He came over and I showed him a retrospective of work from 1984 to now. It was enlightening for me. A long time ago I was very conscious of edges in a realist way. That has changed.  Now I might put a soft edge where you might expect a sharp edge. Now I push warms... I push cools.  I'm less interested in literal interpretation than I once was. 
I have discovered two helpful apps. One is called Scenes Scout the other is called Map a Pick. I understand filmmakers use these apps. These apps help you keep track of scenery that you like. This is very helpful especially in a plein air event. You can't waste all your time driving around and around. It is a super decision-making tool. 
I am just back from Olmstead-- It is so wonderful that Aimee Erickson won the grand prize!  And she was blown away --she was really surprised! Also Shelby Keefe won three prizes for one painting. We had nothing but weather problems in Omstead-- there were two tornadoes. We had to paint inside. I had to paint mannikins. (However they were really really life like looking mannikins)! I painted a "widow" and two soldiers, knowing all the while that it would be so doubtful that anybody would buy them-- I painted them anyway. I don't regret it! I learned a lot from each painting. I did pick up a ribbon (for the Park prize) (Applause)!

Thanks to Ward Stroud for the song played on the Hang today. Video on our Facebook page: Link to history of the instrument:


Oregon Art Beat will be hosting a screening party that has to do with the segment they did on Scott Gellatly and Aimee Erickson in the plein air event last year (stay tuned for more information on this you may want to attend the screening party).

Tedd Chilless went to the Monet exhibit in SF at the Legion of Honor --he said if you can get there--- do it!

Olmsted Competition
Congratulations Aimee Erickson Best of Show, Judge's Choice and Best PaintQuick
Congratulations Thomas Kitts Best of Linear Park
winners list here:

Max Ginsberg demonstration and lecture April 23 Sunday 1 to 4pm, $50

Clothed model sessions are 1 to 4 on Fridays (this Friday model Liz) at OSA

Classes with Ward, Brenda, Susan, Joanne, Michael Orwick, Steve and others:

 Art Extravaganza with Susan Kuznitsky and Ward Stroud Saturday April 22

 Susan Kuznitsky will be teaching a class called Plein Air in the Garden July 21-23 

 Jeanne Chamberlain is having her first solo show at the Multnomah Arts center you are all cordially invited to her reception-- it is on Cinco de Mayo day. May 5, 7-9pm

Brenda Boylan is a speaker/presenter at the Plein Air Convention (PACE 2017). Several Alla Prima people will be attending the convention--they will bring us news from the front!

 Mike Porter makes fabulous wood-turned brush holders and /or coffee scoops –he donates the proceeds to charity.  Contact Mike Porter <>

Elizabeth Ganji is At Art on the Boulevard

Next meeting Thursday, April 27 suggested table topic: Playfulness in painting (or drawing)! Have you done any paintings that were playful?! --or would "playfulness" be out of character ?  Bring your examples (or paint something for fun if you don't have something from your archives)! Let's talk about what it is to "play" and why it might be an important thing to consider.

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