Tag Archives: Nuremberg

Europe trip – plein air impressions

kalchreuth views, web Nurnberg impressions Operahouse Regensburg sketch, web

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..

Adventures in plein air painting Part III

Jacobsplatz, 2012 by frankeber       painting in Avignon

Last post dealt with comments from passers-by when painting on location. It seemed well received as I got a lot of hits and very nice comments. Thank you, Everyone!

This time around, I’d like to share a bit of the process i.e. equipment, set-up, etc. I use while painting outside. I have changed things over the years and I am still not completely happy with it, but it works well and is very light-weight. It is absolutely imperative to keep the weight down! At the same time, it is the hardest thing to do!

We do need water, we have to bring the whole palette, the paper, the brushes and the painting surface. I built a portfolio out of two pieces of coroplast I bought at the home depot (total price: $10). Not only is it a portfolio to store the paper, it also serves as the painting surface at the same time. No need to bring a third piece, like a gater board or foam board (it’s all bulk you have to lug around) I just duct taped them together and attached a sling for easy carrying. Very light!
Once I am ready to paint, I tape the paper right on top, clip the whole portfolio to the easel and, voilá, it is now a painting surface!

         

My biggest gripe is that you cannot find an easel with a drawer that pulls out on the side as oppose to the front where it prevents you from getting close to your work. I am currently having an easel built to solve this problem once and for all! There is one out there, it’s called the Joe Miller field easel which comes close. But I have heard there are problems with the legs and it still does not completely resolve the second thing that really bugs me about all the field easels out there:

There is no way you can put your water and palette on the side drawers without having access issues once you pull up your painting surface at an angle. I don’t know if I am explaining this well but you basically have to look around ( the corner)/ your work everytime you pick up pigment or water with your brush. The only way to solve this is to have a drawer that not only pulls out to the side (first) but also to the front (second). Kind of like a drawer with a pull-out flat surface at an angle. That way it’s basically next to you as oppose to hidden behind the painting surface!

Like I said, the biggest issue is weight so it has to have aluminum legs! Most prochade painting boxes are way too heavy and cumbersome!

    

While painting in Europe the entire last month, I discovered that the duffel bag has to go as well! After a few kilometers of Euro streets,walking here and there, up and down and around, it started hurting my shoulder quite a bit. And I thought my set-up is light… well, it is but not light enough! I’d say it has to be less than 20 lbs total – meaning paint tubes, water, brushes, everything!
15 lbs would be ideal and like a backpack on your back. That way you have your hands free to snap pictures while looking around.

Painting size for plein air is usually 1/4 sheet or less. Half sheet works, but is tricky since light condition change quickly and drying time can create a lot of problems when working larger sizes. My goal is to finish in an hour, or hour and a half the most. The light won’t change too much during that timeframe and it is possible to capture the atmosphere of the place.

I’ll let you know once my easel is done

Adventures in plein air painting, Part 2

Prague_pleinair1, by frank eber 2012 Prague_pleinair2, by frank eber 2012 Prague_pleinair3, by frankeber2012

In the last two weeks, I have painted on location in Prague, Dresden and Nuremberg.

This blog post is about comments that you get while painting outside. I don’t know what the motivation is for someone to comment on what an artist is doing, but I find it quite fascinating. I think this morning, I had one of the best ones yet–therefore it is time to put them down in writing!

While painting in Prague: (no particular order)

“Excuse me, do you know where the post office is?”
“I am looking for a pub where they serve ‘black beer’, do you know it?”

While painting in Dresden:

“Can we auction this off once you’re done?”
“Are you from here?”

While painting in Nuremberg:

“Do you think I can park here?” (The guy even made me take my ear buds out.)

and the best one yet:
“Did you paint this from a photograph?” (Remember, this is on location, looking at the subject matter right in front of us.)

Random Comments (Can’t remember the location.)(Not everyone is a moron, right?)

“This is lovely.”
“Did you paint this?” (I am still working on it.)
“I can only paint by numbers.”
“I stopped doing watercolors, now I do mixed media.”
“Did you make this paper yourself?”

And lastly, my favorite by elderly Germans, after looking at the piece and watching me for a while:

“Hmmmpf.”

Let’s see what happens in France…

Traveling and sketching on location

 

I have been on the road quite a bit lately, painting in three different countries. Can you guess which ones? All these are done on location, in less than 40 minutes, and with only one paintbrush. They are pretty small, approximately 5″ x 8″.

I had a few interesting interruptions while painting:

An armored bank vehicle blocked my way about halfway into one painting. He actually moved the thing when I asked him, which was very nice, considering the gravity of his job. The same thing happened again later that day, this time with a delivery truck. I just decided to relocate. In a way those are great learning experiences and it teaches me to be extremely flexible and to stay calm no matter what happens.

Painting in Venice was a great experience. There were so many artists, I was always close to another painter.

Painting on location is by far the most rewarding, and a lot of times those small paintings have  more life in them than any of the studied studio pieces done from reference materials. The least I like to do is a color sketch if I plan a bigger piece later at home. It always seems to come out better. Sometimes I still like the sketch better afterwards! Maybe it’s because there’s no time to think and I am forced to get it done quickly, thereby creating a more spontaneous looking painting? I’ve no idea…

More to come from Venice and Amsterdam!