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Visual Noise


Sergio Lopez aka The Main Loop
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Emile EISMAN-SEMENOWSKY

Emile EISMAN-SEMENOWSKY

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Abram Arkhipov

Abram Arkhipov

(Source: Awesome... Abram Arkhipov http)

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Shizhong Yan

Shizhong Yan

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JC Leyendecker
JC Leyendecker
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Hey everyone, I had a great time not only in Telluride, Colorado but on my way there and back. I feel like I ought to break my recap up into a few segments, otherwise it’s going to be way too long and who wants to sit there and read that. Don’t worry, plenty of paintings and pictures to see in each part.

It took me way less time to get through Nevada this year than last year, on account of me driving through the night instead of the middle of the day and over-heating my car. I was familiar with the territory, so I knew I wasn’t missing much by driving Northern Nevada at night.

One nice thing about driving at night is when the sun comes out, desert sunrises are hard to beat. Future painting? Who knows.
It wasn’t much longer until I made it to SLC. During my stop in Salt Lake City, I checked out Illume Gallery downtown. It’s a gallery I’ve known about for a while, and I was happy to see the artists in there. Lots of California artists, but also a nice who’s-who of plein air painters in there, like Matt Smith, Lori Putnam, and others. Kathryn Stats’ paintings are amazing in person, photos of the paintings online don’t do them any justice.
Entrance to the Illume Gallery.
Salt Lake City is nice, but it was time to get moving to the places I’d been wanting to paint at since last year. Between Provo and Price is a really beautiful stretch of mountains and hills that I consider to be very underrated. I think if the rest of Utah wasn’t even more beautiful, this area would be much better known to the rest of the US. The greens and reds of the mountains make a beautiful interplay of color that are a treat to paint.
"Spanish Fork" 3.25x5.25 in. oil on linen board.
"Price Canyon" 6x12 in. oil on linen board. Price, UT.
I made it to Green River that night. After last year’s lack-luster bout with hotels around Green River last year, I thought there would be no way to plunge even further down in quality when it comes to rooms. Boy was I wrong. Read my review of “Budget Inn” and have a laugh at the expense of my misery: My Yelp review of Budget Inn in Green River, UT.

Canyonlands

The next day I drove down to glorious Moab, UT. It’s one of those towns that’s hard to believe can exist in such perfect proximity to amazing national parks. This was one of the parts of the trip that I’d been looking forward to the most. Canyonlands was the surprise gem of the trip. I didn’t know anything about it going in, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It’s like a mini-Grand Canyon, but with way less people. Amazing vistas in abundance. I didn’t paint a lot here because I just wanted to explore it. Here is the one painting I did at the Grand View Point.
"Canyonlands" 6.25x10.25" oil on linen board. Moab, UT.

Arches

Now to Arches. I definitely didn’t spend enough time here. It’s a gorgeous, weird place with all sorts of fantastic rock formations, mesas, and canyons. You know what I didn’t see a ton of, though? Actual arches. I maybe saw four of them. I thought I was going to see them all over the place… but that’s a small gripe. There are plenty of weird rocks to see that don’t have holes in them.

I painted this near the trail that leads up to the famous Delicate Arch. This painting looks unfinished? It pretty much is. I didn’t realize it, but I set up next to a nest of biting ants. I was halfway into it but then I started getting creep-crawlies up my leg, and even got bit a few times. I tried to tough it out as long as I could, but it just got to be too much. I packed it in after a while.
I went up to Devil’s Garden, which is one of the most dramatic parts of Arches, and where I understand a majority of the iconic arches of the park are. I didn’t have time to explore the area much, I only had time to paint this one in the evening light. I definitely want to come back and spend some time here.
This is a crop of Courthouse Tower. The evening light is long in the park, so it gave me about a half an hour or so to do this quick painting of this awesome rock structure.
"Courthouse Tower" 9x11 in. oil on linen board.
These parks are both amazing, and actually on the cheap side for a day pass as far as national parks go. I wish I could have spent more time at each, because they definitely deserve more than a half-day of time each.

One for the crazy-coincidences department: I ran into my friend Carla in the town of Moab after being in the parks all day. Not only did she and her boyfriend spend the day in Arches at the same time, but we randomly happened to be at the same pizza parlor in town at the same time! Small world alert. 
My day in Utah was done, so it was time to get ready to make my way to Telluride!

Coming next: Part 2 - Telluride Plein Air 2014!

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Kent Williams

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Soey Milk

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Matt Linz

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David Santillanes

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detailsofpaintings:

Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Spring (details)

1894

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Fernand Khnopff, The Veil

Fernand Khnopff, The Veil

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Edwin Dickinson

Edwin Dickinson

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It’s always a risk with traveling to plein air events. Is the time effort and money worth it? Are there side benefits that coincide with the main event that would make it worth it regardless of the outcome of the event? Tough questions to answer, but crucial to your success and overall enjoyment of the event.
A nice salve for some of the wallet-sting when it comes to travel would be the availability of hosting. A nice benefit to social media is the ability to make real-life friends. That way you can reach out to those who are eager to help you in some way. I made friends with Liz Steinworth and she let me stay in her lovely home. Super lovely and gracious of her! Not too far away from San Clemente so I didn’t have to travel too much to and fro. This is critical.
Ok that’s enough preamble, let’s travel to San Clemente!

Day One

On Wednesday I arrived in San Clemente at around 4 o’clock, after about an 8 hour drive. If you can avoid painting after an 8 hour drive in the summer heat, do it. I tried to get a groove going with this warm-up painting, but a fatigue headache started to come in and I threw in the towel after about 45 minutes. The sun was setting beautifully by this time, but I didn’t have the energy to do anything else this day so I packed it in and went to get rest for the next day.
5x7 inches.
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 The Sorolla Exhibit in San Diego

One of the main things that motivated me to participate in the event was the close proximity that I would be to San Diego, and therefore, the Sorolla exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. It had been a really long time since I’d been to San Diego. The Prado section of the city is an extremely beautiful interpretation of a Spanish city, so it made a perfect setting for a Sorolla show.
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I wish we were able to take photos of the exhibition. Do I even need to tell you to go if you can?? It’s Sorolla, for God’s sake. I will say that there were a lot more paintings than I was expecting there to be. Such a great show. The only small grumble I have was that some of his portraits were comparatively mediocre when looked at in comparison to his overall body of work. His strong suit was definitely his understanding of shadows in sunlight. Such brilliance!

As a small consolation, here is a photo of an uncharacteristically moody Monet… Looks more like a Daubigny, doesn’t it?

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This painting was done near the pier in San Clemente. I was influenced by the light in Sorolla’s paintings, and his way of creating volume with confident brushwork instead of underdrawing. I think the feeling of late afternoon light reads well here, but I wish I had started with a thumbnail drawing beforehand. The composition kind of sucks. The main focus points are close to dead-center and stacked on top of each other. I can probably crop a little off the left side, and it will improve it some.

11x14 inches.
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 Day 3

When I’m in Orange County, I enjoy going to the Irvine Museum to get some extra landscape inspiration. I picked up two books, one on Hanson Puthuff and one on Percy Gray. Now, off to paint.
I’d been wanting to paint a scene like this for a while, looking downwards on to the Spanish-style rooftops. I didn’t do a whole lot of underdrawing in this one either, which explains why the building is dead-center again, for some reason it’s not as bothersome though. There are a variety of shapes on both sides of the center piece to make sure the composition is still dynamic.
"The Perfect Climate" 12x16 in. oil on linen board.
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This painting took 2 days to complete, about 3 hours. It was a pretty narrow sliver of time that I had to work on this painting. The quality of light in San Clemente is interesting. The sun is intense so the light blazes through, yet the haze of the coastal mist scatters the light, washing everything in a gold, then orange, then pink and mauve. It’s a challenge to capture this time of day, but very satisfying when it works.

"Tonight’s Last Stop" 11x14 inch oil on linen board.
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Dana Point

Between turning in our paintings and the opening gala, there was time to do some painting in between. I did 3 quick studies at Doheny State Beach in Dana Point.
Dana Point Study #1. 4x6 inches.
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I gotta say, I’m really happy with this one. It has a few shortcomings but I think the overall mood and effect is pretty spot on. As far as these go, this is one of the more successful studies I’ve done in recent memory.

Dana Point Study #2. 6x8 inches.
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One of the hardest things to paint is the ocean, especially waves. I think you have to pick a part of the wave and “freeze” it in your memory in order to capture it convincingly. I painted this on an old panel that I experimented with adding flake white into the ground to prime the canvas. I ended up giving this painting away to my hosts as a thank you gift.

Dana Point Study #3. 6x5 inches.
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The Exhibition

The opening gala was a fun time. They gave us good food, a couple of free drinks, and the ability to converse with patrons and fellow artists. We all wanted to see who won what.  There were about 8 honorable mention awards, a 3rd place award, a 2nd place award, and Matthew Larson won the grand prize award and $5000 dollars.
Here is a small selection of award winners and other paintings I liked.
Leon Okun
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Mark Kerckhoff
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Ben Young
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Rita Pacheco
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Toni Williams
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Grand Prize Winner: Matthew Larson
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Erich Neubert
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Joli Beal
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Bonus: Here is a photo of a painting I did that I won a 4th place award for back in 2010. I’m glad that the painting still holds up, and I might like it more than the paintings I did this year.

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So this year I went home prize-free. Hey, it happens. I guess I was getting too used to winning awards lately :P

The Bob Peak Exhibition at Pepperdine

It was very much worth the detour out to Pepperdine University to see the Bob Peak exhibition. It was a nice little overview of his career. His early work was highly innovative with his use of collage and extreme shape-oriented design. Here is an example of one piece.
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They had a couple of iconic pieces, the most being his poster for Apocalypse Now. Stunning!
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There were also some amazing charcoals, obviously inspired by Fechin.

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It’s free, so there’s no excuse not to go if you’re nearby!

Heading Back Home

I like to make a stop in Santa Barbara when I have the time. I love the area, and the Waterhouse Gallery downtown always has quality work.
This was my first time painting in El Capitan State Beach. I would like to explore this park some more, if people have good suggestions on where to go, let me know.
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Another favorite spot to paint is Pismo Beach. This was the one I spent the least time on probably, but might be my favorite of the week. Maybe it’s because I was the most warmed-up by then? Not sure, but I was the most relaxed, comfortable and didn’t over-think it.

8x6 inches.
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Final Thoughts

So, no awards this time, no sales either. Was it worth it? For certain things yes. I enjoyed going to the museum shows. I got some reference for paintings I plan on doing in the studio. I met some lovely people and had a great time staying with them. I think what happened this time was that I ended up spending a lot of time driving around and not enough time to get into a good painting groove. I would have ended up with better paintings if I gave myself more time to settle in. I think next time I do an open event like this, I will allot myself an extra day more than what I think I need. I will end up with better paintings at the end of the event.
Here is a shot of me painting at Dana Point:
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The two paintings I submit to the show are on display right now at the San Clemente Art Gallery. The paintings will be up until August 1st. Be sure to check them out if you make your way over to San Clemente.

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Philip de Laszlo

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Henry Scott Tuke

Henry Scott Tuke

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