Time to Pony Up - to Cheyenne '09

It is that time again and I am heading to Cheyenne for the Wyoming Plein Air Event'09. These are 2 paintings done last year en plein air. To the right is a view looking down over Cheyenne as the sun sets and below is a storm brewing over the Hereford Ranch.

Myself, Sue McCullough and artists from all over the country are converging on Cheyenne to paint the Wyoming landscape and everything will culminate on Saturday, August 15th with a Quick Draw at Depot Plaza followed by an auction of work created that morning.
In the afternoon at 4pm the Link Gallery and Deselms Gallery will simultaneously host opening receptions to show off the best work created en plein air from the previous 2 weeks. Hope to see you there.

Tuesday Morning in Santa Maria - WOW!

Congratulations to Peggy Morgan Stenmark for a stellar show that opened in Creede at the Repertory Theater last Monday.
Susan McCullough and I took in Peggy's show of lively and gem like watercolors, and enjoyed the beautiful evening in Creede. Peggy's show will continue thru Sept. 11th, and very worth going to Creede for.
As usual, Sue and I were about the last to leave the party (happily, filling up with red dots) and from there headed to Santa Maria where Sue's family has a small fishing place on the lake.
A big moon shown on my bed all night; beautiful but not restful, so we were out before dawn to catch one amazing view after another. It is so hard to settle on something to paint when there is SO much good stuff. Whine, Whine. . .
We have a new mantra tho': What is it about?

Tuesday Evening - Paint Out in Alamosa

I barely got home from Santa Maria on Tuesday before taking off again to meet Dave Roepke and Richard Luckemeier for a paint out at the Alamosa City Ranch - an open space preserved for the use of residents. We were anticipating a full moon rising but the evening light unfolded in such a beautiful display that the moon was all but forgotten.
I never get tired of watching the clouds rise up to catch the evening light from a sun long set.
By the time dark really set in I was on the wane and ready to hit it home. From before dawn to well after sunset - it was a great day.


So, What's It ABOUT?

This question has been plaguing me recently and, I in turn, have tortured my students with it: What is the painting ABOUT? This piece at the right, I did at the class paint out last week in Alamosa and I hope will still hold up after you read my thoughts:
A few weeks back at the PAAC Show (Plein Air Artists of Colorado) in Denver (great show by the way), Sue McCullough and I had the chance to talk at length with Karen Vance about how she judged the show. She told us her first criteria was that very thing: What is the painting about? - brushwork, imagery, color. . .
A week later, at the SPACe Gallery in LaVeta, I spoke with Tim Deiber who judged the Paint Colorado show and our conversation about the work focused on that same topic.

Now, this is not rocket science, if you have painted for any length of time the idea is not a foreign one. We have been schooled to have a "center of attention" at least, but why is the concept so elusive or more to the point - how do so many accomplished artists seem to miss it. Those of us who should know better?
I would site a wonderful example of this idea, as it emerged in a painting demo done by Eldon Warren showing the choices that must be made, to make the point oh-so-clear - THIS is what it is ABOUT.
Click on Eldon's name to see his BLOG and when you get there scroll down a bit to - "Why Did the People Cross the Road?".
This seemingly innocuous demo of a beautiful landscape just hit me over the head. Why? Because it illustrates (we artists need pictures) so well, what happens to almost all of us, at some point. Eldon is a friend and master painter - and I don't think it happens to him as often, as the blog will show.
I encourage you to check it out - and if you are scratching your head - ask yourself this: what is the painting ABOUT? - this, that, what?
In the end I hope it is clear "Why The People Crossed the Road".
Thanks Eldon.