Despite the crazy weather, I am trying to paint every day. Today was particularly adventurous as I had to pack it in during a heavy rain shower. I had the foresight to place myself under a tree, but still had to scramble to put my painting away before the rain got on it. To make matters worse, I did not bring my umbrella. Why? Because I was lazy and didn’t want to carry the extra weight. Maybe I should have…
I am currently in Regensburg, a Unesco world heritage site. It is situated at the Danube river and quite a sight. Hard to believe, but Regensburg was first settled by the Romans under the Emperor Marcus Aurelius in 179 A.D. and by Bavarian tribes even before then. 179 A.D. and earlier???
In any case, wish me luck with the weather - It’s awful and I am really sick of it! Time for a change..
Horses are not easy to draw and paint. When on location (plein air), I am using my little point and shoot to capture certain positions. Yes, I am cheating!
There are two reasons for me that convinced me to do it that way: The first one is time. I am always in a terrible hurry when I paint outside, so the last thing I want to do is spend 45 Minutes on my preliminary drawing to get it right with the light constantly changing on me. I’d rather just paint after 10 or 15. The second reason is accuracy. Without a still picture, it is very hard to get the proportions right in a few minutes, so instead of painting I would spend too much time drawing. Now, if I just go there to draw, it’d be a different story! Drawing for drawings sake. I guess in the end, it all comes down to time.
Horses, cars, cows, buildings…treat it all the same! They are just shapes and objects. The key is to do them with as little work as artistically possible. It all hinges on the shapes. If you get those right, it will look right! If the shapes are off, well, then no matter how pretty your wash and colors are, it just won’t look right.
Last week I got up at the crack of dawn to visit Clockers’s corner at the Santa Anita Race track in Arcadia.
From 5am to 10am every morning, the trainers take their horses out on the track for an early morning workout routine. I was teaching in the area and my hotel was literally right across from it.
I managed to get up at 5:30am (with great difficulty, I might add!) and met a few fellow artists for a bit of early morning sketching of horses. While I am not exactly a horse race fan, I tried to stay open minded and see what this outing brings. I do love horses, so that was reason enough to go!
It is quite the spectacle to see them come out! Santa Anita is a very picturesque race track, with swaying palm trees and the San Gabriel mountains serving as the perfect backdrop in the rising sun. So we all tried to capture some rider and horse positions with more or less success. Well, they don’t pose much, let’s just say…
I couldn’t help but be impressed. The jockeys are tiny people, but they are kings when on horseback! It is absolutely amazing what they can do! Since it was Saturday, we went on the tram to do the barn/ stable tour as well. That was when I got really excited! For me, there was just something magical to see the goings-on behind the scenes! The horse handlers, the stable buildings in the rising sun, the magnificient race horses and the enormous logistical machine with hundreds of people hard at work. There is simply no better subject matter!
The only problem is: you can’t paint there! There is absolutely no way to get into the stables, other than the official tram ride. Authorized personnel only. I was quite disappointed at first, but come to think of it: there are horses in there that may be worth a few million dollars, so they can’t just have anybody walking freely about!
I was content to take loads of pictures and work from those for now. One of my artist’s friends knows someone who works in there, so we might have a shot at plein air painting when the season starts again this fall. What a treat that would be!!
Subject for this painting are the ‘hot walkers’. These are the guys and gals who walk the horse around in a circle after a morning workout. The horse needs to cool down and they walk it for about twice the time of the actual run. I saw some horses close up right after a run and it was absolutely dripping with sweat and panting heavily, so this is an important job!
I was teaching a workshop last week at the wonderful Waterloo Watercolor group in Austin, TX. After the workshop was done at the end of the week, I was lucky enough to have had the chance to paint in this great city.
I was joined by a few artist colleges and we headed out to paint scenes by the lake and downtown. Naturally, after the weather was sunny all week the day we went outside turned out to be a bit dull and drab. Earlier in the morning the light was much better and my scene with a rower and downtown Austin in the background turned out pretty nice.
Austin is a great city and everyone at the WWC group did their best to make me feel welcome. I’d like to especially thank Michele and Marshal Missner, Eileen Pestorius, Kim and Gerry Hoerster, Anne and Barbara and Chuck Wallace for taking care of me in the best possible way. You all rock!
I am happy to say that my work has made it into the following societies Annual National/ International exhibitions:
The International Exhibition at the American Watercolor Society in New York City is about to start. http://www.americanwatercolorsociety.org/a_exhibitors.php?year=2013
I have submitted my work at the Louisiana Watercolor Society again, this is the second year in a row that I am part of the exhibition in this wonderful city
I am especially proud to be part of the Transparent Watercolor Society of America and I am planning on attending this year’s opening festivities as I will be a new signature member!
This exhibition is in the Pacific Northwest in Washington
If you are residing in any of these areas, please come see these shows! These are all high profile shows where you can see the best work that watercolor has to offer! I am deeply humbled yet proud to be in the company of such highly established artists.