'Starts' are intentionally unfinished paintings that will be finished later perhaps indoors or even much later during winter months
These views were beside of each other and painting during a misty rainfall under trees.
Westeremden, The Netherlands
When an artist friend came over t visit from the US, I showed her the coffee table book of a Dutch artist, whose countrymen voted him as their second favorite artist under Rembrandt in 2006. She was so impressed, she asked if we could visit him and his studio. It's a little country and I speak Dutch so within a short time we were packed and on the road toward Groningen, where the classical painters are trained and hang out so to speak. It would be four hour drive to get there so we booked a B&B his wife suggested. This way maybe we could squeeze in some plein air time. It was a phenomenal experience. The museum was having a retrospective of his work--the most I have ever seen in one place. The studio visit turned out to be an invitation to see his whole house where many fo the amazing objects used in his paintings are just a normal part of the interior. We were very inspired and chattered the rest of the day about the works we would start and objects we would be anxious to add ot our studio props.The plein air images shown above were done in one sitting of three hours in Westeremdem, both being 6'' x 8'' , a standard size I keep in my pochade. The weather conditions posed nimbus clouded skies over us. Eventually it started to rain, but passed quickly. Because of conditons I stayed in the same spot and squeezed in a second painting by turning my view about 40 degrees and changing the composition to a vertical. Since oil paint repels water, it was not a real problem. to finish and pack up before heading to our appointment.
This is a quaint village with local traffic and very picturesque trajectories. I thought it would be a great place to introduce my artist friend to her first plein air experience. I set up at a fork on the street with the view shown above before me. Things went fine until later in the day when locals started to come home. It seems I had chosen the exact spot they need to make a three-point turnaround in the narrow cobblestoned street. Little cars with manual stick shift revved their engines and screeched their gears as drivers and I exchanged scary and funny glances to one another for about an hour. They got really close to my set up but we all managed to come out unscathed. Who could have known this would turn into such a distracting point of view? Some people definitely can't drive a stick shift. It was funny occurance as well as scary!
Amsterdam, The Netherlands (The Spui/Student Quarter)
|After indoor studio touches|
The bridge was so wide that the restaurant clientele spilled onto it. Due to the terrace filling up, a sizeable audience was amused to see a cross between Mrs. Bean and a female Charlie Chaplin contort to every angle possible while trying to get one stubborn retractable leg on my easel to cooperate. Patiently, I held back all the expletives that made up my entire vocabulary for about 15 minutes, working out of the dilemna and took a well deserved bow to the applause of the terrace 'audience' on my departure. As for the finishing touches later in the convenience of my studio, I employed creative license with the trees and gave them more compliments to the blue boat to create more vibration, corrected a few verticals, punched up the sky and neatened up the boat. Amsterdam is a beautiful city and this is a great memory of the student quarter or 'The Spui' . Painting done I headed for the Zeezicht corner café for the most generous, cut of deep dish hot apple pie I've ever had before heading over to the Rembrandt House.
JOAN OF ARC MONUMENT Paris, France
the start and after finishing touches
VILLERS LA VILLE
BELGIUM, SOUTH OF BRUSSELS
This ruined abbey is a well kept secret. Ensconced in a forest about half hour from Brussels center, it is a remnant of one of the largest cistern abbeys that existed in Europe in its time. It is amazing--again as one of these places which has so many painting trajects, it will give you Stendahl Syndrome just choosing where to paint. I set up on second level opening to a courtyard beneath with a lot of botanical growth typical to the whole ruin.. .One can always depend on solitude upon entering this history-drenched alcove of Belgium. Worth a google if not able to visit there in person. I am a lucky artist, but it is great place to practice zooming in and simplifying a composition. There's a lot of information for paintings in nature thus the plein air artist constantly has to select what gets included and what is left to another work.
Monet's House and GardensGIVERNY, FRANCE / and easy Paris day trip
|with details added back in the studio|
|Photo detail © TBH|