Well, the Carmel Art Festival was a lot of fun, a lot of work, and a lot of stress in a little time. As I mentioned in my last post, the competition is a short-fire event. Essentially, you only have two days to work and if the weather goes south, or you have a painting turn into a train wreck, it can be hard to recover.
I had a few paintings crash and burn this week. (Ha!)
But here’s one that I ended up liking a lot:
“The Old Veteran, Holding Fast” Point Lobos, CA
24 x 20 inches | oil on canvas
The Old Veteran is an ancient cypress tree clinging to the edge of a cliff above a rocky cove in the middle of Point Lobos. If you want to find it look for the trail marked – you guessed it – “The Old Veteran Trail” It is seldom painted by artists due to its complexity. I want to go back and work it again.
24 x 20 inches is a big painting to execute en plein air. Or at least it is for me. I started it Thursday morning when the fog was hanging about making everything cold, soft and gray. Cold, soft, and gray can be a hard sell in California and I didn’t drive 700 miles south to paint what I already have at home, so I tried to wrap things up and move on to something else about noontime. But as I tore down the clouds released and light hit the grass behind the tree. Man, I really needed to move on but hey, what are you going to do when nature hands you something like that? So I painted it again on top of itself. I ended up working this puppy from 9:00 in the morning until almost 4:00 in the afternoon. Not a good idea when you are in the throes of a competition. But again, hey, what are you going to do. Walk away?
I thought it could be in the top three so I kept plugging away at it.
Or away poking at it. The finish turned out to be popular among my fellow artists, and the public. (That’s me receiving an Honorable Mention from Gil Dellinger
, the judge and president of PAPA. Gives you an idea of the size of my painting.) A Honorable Mention is okay. Last year I set the bar a little high for myself. (Ha!) You never know what the judge will pick so the best approach is to paint what you want to paint, then frame and hang it. Anything else will drive you crazy. I just need to remember that investing seven hours into a single painting during a two-day competition may not be the best strategy.
Besides, I can always come back and put more time into something if I feel the need.
As for the fun, there was the usual suspects in town.
My fellow competition buddies Larry Moore
, Don Segen, and my new plein air friends Laurie and Lynn, and even John Burton
, and Jesse Powell
came out to paint for the heck of it. We had a nice crew.
I love Carmel and its environs. The town itself grows a little more twee each year with all the Thomas Kinkade cottage-like architecture and hobbitty warrens, but it’s always fun to come back to. There is also the Jack London Pub when it is time for a drink. If you ever come to this festival, and it is after hours, and you want to find an artist, start there.
Sugar Beach, Carmel CA
12 x 16 inches | oil on canvas on panel
2 hour QuickDraw
Because I received a Honorable Mention on Saturday I qualified for the Sunday morning QuickDraw.
So early in the morning I grabbed a cup of coffee and drove down to the bottom of Ocean Avenue to scout some trees on the north side of the beach. A few yards away from where Paul Kratter
had also set up. Like minds, I guess. When he and I ran the quickdraw out we raced back to park for the silent auction. Along the way Paul and I agreed to swap our paintings if neither sold. Well, we didn’t have to worry about that. Both sold to the same buyer so Paul and I will be hanging next to each other instead. Nice, Paul. You had a lovely painting of Monterey pines. So did I. Happy both sold. But I still want one of your paintings. Deal?
Oh, I was stunned by my QuickDraw silent auction price. Usually folks who participate in silent auctions are looking for a deal. On the level of a spa treatment package or mixed wine basket. But not in Carmel. I received the highest ever bid for my QuickDraw effort. Apparently people are now paying attention down there. Maybe I shouldn’t invest an entire day in a single painting anymore. (grin)
Yesterday I drove home happy. Tired, but happy.
Into the rain again…
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!