9x12 inches - pastel on Strathmore
Today I went out with the Four Corners Plein Air Painters group, as a guest of Jan Goldman, one of the group's few pastelists. Location was another private residence located in the Animas river valley, but to the east of the river. The stand-out features of this property were the amazing landscaped gardens with this lush, perfectly manicured green lawn.
I absolutely loved the boulders and flagstone steps leading up to an upper tier of the yard, so that became the focal point. Hollyhocks, daylilies, Russian sage, daisies, yarrow, hosta, purple coneflowers...this garden had it all.
This originally started out as a 12x12, and while no one suggested it at the critique session, I brought it home and Wayne thought there was too much lawn...and there was, as you can see in the photo below. A good reminder about how just a simple crop can improve the composition significantly. They had other very good suggestions (like sky too dark, same value as lawn) that I was grateful for, and when I got home, I finished the piece up and made those changes. It was tempting to try and add some of the billowing cumulus clouds forming to the north over the distal mountains, but with all the busy detail from the garden, I felt it might be too distracting.
I feel very fortunate to have met artists in both the Four Corners group as well as the local Friday painters - all are so friendly and it's just nice to go out with a bunch of artists to socialize and get helpful critiques.
Here are some photos from the critique session, along with a couple from the gardens:
We all loved the vignetted look of this unfinished [oil] painting
A beautiful watercolor of orange daylilies and hosta, my painting, and a close-up of daisies, yellow lilies and the fence, done in acrylic glazes - the photo doesn't begin to do those paintings justice
More oil paintings of different garden perspectives, and a more distal view of the mountains
Mary Ellen is the group's abstract and palette knife painter, and this was a small piece by her standards - isn't it fabulous? It is an old barn down the road a bit.
Two more oil paintings and part of Jan's pastel to the left
Lori was painting right behind me and we both were really into the dark tree shadows behind the pink hollyhocks. Her view is standing and mine was seated...after a night of insomnia, I wasn't feeling up to standing for 3 hrs. In fact, I was pleased that this painting turned out worthwhile; it did take a lot longer to complete than usual.
Daylilies and Russian sage
Purple coneflowers (Echinacea) and yarrow
I am so delighted to see coneflowers growing in gardens here - they were one of
my favorite garden flowers when I lived in CT