Class Notes: Staying In the Flow

After painting every day for a week at the Colorado Mountain Plein Air Fest I came home pretty toasted but still had to teach classes on Tuesday night, Thursday Morning and again on Saturday morning.
I am grateful for my classes that always help me continue in the flow of painting - when my natural inclination is to take a week off and just nap.
These two 6"x 8"s at the top are from Tuesday evening and Thursday morning. The top one is self explanatory - the bottom one not so much.
Thursday the class drove out east of town to a beautiful ranch owned by a local couple - the Brandt's. In the center of an oasis like setting they have a beautiful Koi pond covered with lily pads, and at this time of year, surrounded by golden Cottonwood trees. I chose to abstract a very small view across a portion of the pond.
Saturday morning we went east up to Rock Creek, which is a riot of colored aspen right now.
The 6"x 8" format is not my favorite but I have found it to be a good discipline for working out simple shapes and good design. And sometimes it's about all I can finish in the time frame while also working with students. It was beautiful morning.

The Autumn Rush Is On

In a week of painting along the Arkansas River at the Colorado Mountain Plein Air Fest, we saw a lot of aspens - and even painted some. Susan McCullough, David Montgomery and myself painted together for several days and happily, we each won an award at the opening of the show in the Salida SteamPlant. My piece directly below, of the Arkansas River, won a cash business award. Yay!

We each could enter 3 paintings into the event competition - the award winner was my last minute addition. In an event like this we paint every day and sometimes it is hard to judge the validity of each piece until it goes home and sits with you awhile. Some pieces will be set aside for future reference, some will get tweeked a bit - and others will never see the light of day; beyond this blog. . . .
Cash awards aside, I think the real benefit of an event/competition like this is the chance to focus strictly on painting for several days in a row, with the added pressure of a deadline. The payoff is: more paintings, more reference material, more opportunities to be out in the landscape, and just more miles of canvas covered - in a relatively short period time.
For a novice painter - the discipline of painting "under the gun" every day for a week can produce results that rival a workshop experience.