The Last Calm Day in May

Monday 2 weeks ago, Sue Mc and I went out to her ranch to paint for the morning. We haven't had a calm morning like it since.
Why is it that, often when I wake up in the middle of the night the air will be totally still; not enough wind to turn over a leaf?

Spring in the San Luis Valley

One word describes it: WIND.
The demon wind, the devil wind, the deadly wind. It rattles your teeth, sucks out your breath, your will to live and makes the house shriek and moan like a live thing in the throws of death, one rusty nail at a time. It's enough to make you mental, or worse, wax nostalgic about winter painting when the temps hardly got above 0 for weeks at a time.
May came in like a dove, but I was in Taos, then Durango, then Buena Vista and the last two weeks have been screamers. Now the kids are out of school and any sense of a work schedule went out with the Memorial Day weekend garbage. So it is a small consolation when I wake up to gale force wind and know - I probably couldn't go out anyway.


TAos Paint Out

I am a member of Plein Air Artists of Colorado (PAAC) and Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM). Once a year we join up for a combined paint out and in early May we gathered in TAOS to paint for several days. To see those postings about shrimp at Walt Gonske's, painting at the Gorge, a loose start by Kemper Coley, scroll down on the right and under LABLES, go to: Daily Painter Notes, Taos Paint Out.

In the end, these are the keepers. Three days, three paintings - I can't complain, and it was a great time. Sue Mc and I went together and just inhaled the beautiful country and the Springtime that was popping out everywhere in New Mexico. I have never been so ready from Spring.
Top to bottom: Sangre Sunset, 6"x8"
Taos Junction, 12"x16" and , Taos Gorge,12"x16", all in oil. Click on the image to see it enlarged.


Comments on Contemporary Plein Air

Some thoughts on the view and the end result.
When I look at works posted I really don't see the painting so much as feel the connection to the place, the day and how I felt. Obviously, I don't subscribe to a traditional view of landscape. All the things plein air painters say about "catching the light, capturing the moment" that is pretty-much right on as it refers to the painting itself, but if the painting is to be a success for me, I have to feel the day in it- not just get an indication of the light.
Which leads to the subject of design in a painting. This came up twice recently: Alec Cooke and I talked about it in the car driving to the Buena Vista Show and that evening during the Q&A time someone asked if, as plein air painters, we paint the scene as it appears in front of us, or rearrange elements for the sake of the design?
Good Question?
If documentation is the goal- go with a photo. In fact, I document most of the scenes I paint with a photo. I don't consider this photography - only documentation. The need to show the scene 'as it is/was', sort of negates the need for and artist. I think of it like - watching a ballgame on TV with no sound or friends around you, - as opposed to hearing the play-by-play over the radio with no visual around you. They don't call it 'color' commentating for nothing.