Tuesday, March 27, 2007

New Life Island Entrance

Last fall, I took a trip to New Life Island with the intention of painting some landscapes that will be auctioned off this coming fall to help the camp raise some much needed funds. I documented my daily NLI adventure on blogspot and also recorded the progress of each painting.

Because of weather and time, I had to leave the island with 3 completed and 3 incomplete paintings. At the beginning of this year, I began touching up the incomplete paintings so that they will be ready to display during the camp season this year.

Today I finished one of the paintings. This is the view from the entrance of the island. One of the boy's cabins can be seen on the left. The main road that runs the length of the island is followed closely by a fence whose posts we were hunting for in the woods after the first devastating flood.

Plein air painting (painting a landscape on location usually in one sitting) is very challenging, as there are many factors that change constantly while one is painting. The sun moves from one side of the sky to the other, changing light and shadow slowly sneakily before your very eyes. Clouds block the sun changing the intensity of your moving light and shadows, also changing the colors of the subject. And then there are the millions of blades of grass, twigs, leaves, and uncountable color and value changes that one cannot possibly record on canvas, but must fight ones own brain to simplify what one sees into paintable main shapes.

As difficult as it was to paint last fall on location, new challenges met me as I began to paint from poor reference photos in my studio. Much color is lost in a digital photograph, one is at the mercy of their printer to display a spectrum of color and light one can only take in with their own eyes.

Every challenge, however is an opportunity for growth. One more painting remains - the beautiful dining hall and the main piece of the collection. May my paintings reflect all that is good and meaningful about the camp.

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