Well, it’s back to the office again…er, I mean back to painting outdoors. The 2012 Plein Air Season is starting up and just like last year, my first event is down in Carmel, California.
“Ghosts in the Morning” | oil on panel | sold
2011 First Place and Mayor’s Choice
The Carmel Art Festival is the longest running plein air competition I know of, and I think it is now in its nineteenth year. But this festival is unique as compared to other festivals out there. Especially since the actual paint-time we artists are given to work our magic is quite restricted. Next Wednesday, we will have our canvases stamped at 6:00 pm, in front of the Carmel Art Association. Then we are expected to return on Friday by 8:00 pm with at least two paintings framed and wired, ready to hang by Friday — for the Saturday morning judging and possible cash awards, and the silent auction. (In truth, we all paint much more than two paintings.)
This means if you paint during the Carmel Art Festival you’ve got maybe 18 hours of daylight to work with, and that ain’t much if you also subtract the driving around and the walk-in and set up time. Oh, I forgot, and the eating, drinking, and sleeping time. (Sheesh! Who sleeps at these things?)
Let’s see, for glorious subjects to work with, you’ve got 17 Mile Drive, where I painted last year’s winning painting (above), and you’ve got Point Lobos, which was made famous by many of the Northern California Impressionists back in the ’20s. And you’ve got Carmel Valley, or the historic and Carmel Mission. There’s also the wind-blown cliffs of Garrapata down to the south, and monumental Big Sur a few more miles further along the coast. But all of this must be doable within that 18 hour working time.
Kinda frustrating, considering all the beautiful choices out there. But hey, that’s the way the festival is. I don’t make the rules, I just paint by them.
The Monterey Peninsula, and those other areas I mentioned contain some of the most awesome and inspiring places to paint, but you have to do it at a flat-out, non-stop dead-run. Flat out. The Carmel Art Festival is an event which rewards — perhaps even favors — the decisive painter.
Nothing like adding a little extra stress in the office, eh?
Still, I can’t wait to get down there and start pushing some paint around!
If you would like to know about my August Essential Plein Air Techniques workshop, being offered for its third year, click here.
Artists are already registering so don’t delay if you want to join the fun! Learn to paint en plein air with a knowledgeable and respectful teacher. Make new friends while you do it. Painting en plein air may not be as difficult as rocket science or brain surgery, but there are some things you should know if you want to excel at it!
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