I think this year I'll stay with 11x14 or 12x12 for these trips. Standardizing the size should help me reduce the size of the image on the canvas. I tend to make the main image too large sometimes.. I'm also limiting my palette to 2 reds, 2 yellows, and 2 blues+burnt sienna and white.
Practice good art!
I don't suppose some of you are bothered by 29 degree weather, but in the SF bay area we are...Tues went by without any plein air painting. I did paint indoors but I don't believe any of our group went out today.We are having Chicago weather for the next several days, I guess.
will tell you more as the exhibition moves along.
I did find a nice Mabef backpack easel on eBay, so at least I've got the gear when I can get the time!
The setup your group has sounds really nice!
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Three years ago, my wife and I made a long weekend trip to photograph Death Valley. I particularly wanted to shoot the sand dunes at dawn and we made a special effort to be out in the dunes when dawn's first light came. When we finished that morning, I made numerous notes about my impressions of that morning and recently decided to incorporate them into a prose poem. It was a special morning and I include another poem written that day and one of the photos.
. The black sky was interrupted by several points of light as I left the motel room at Furnace Creek in that pre-dawn hour. Death Valley was obscured by the absence of a moon. Fifteen minutes later, a sign;” 100 ft below sea level”. Another 15 minutes and I’m at sea level, the altitude of our ancestors in their journey toward land. Then, the slate colored sky opens the mysterious valley a little more and I arrive at shimmering sand dunes. Everywhere, the tracks of men, reptiles, mice and more.
As I make my way out through hummocks of mesquite and dirt, up the sides and downs of small dunes, the larger dunes in the distance move away as if to say “not me, no climbing thru my skin” The size of the dune and the navigational difficulty are proportionate and yet there are tributaries of sand almost at the same elevation where one can walk for a mile without the problem of climbing and slipping down any side. Wide rivers of sand with graceful curves caused by wind, rippled surfaces come to life as the sun rises higher in the sky and crests the mountain range. Scalloped edges from wind and rain –tiny prints and wavy tail trails running across the dune’s surface.
Small yellow flowers float alone in the middle of a half-acre dune. As the sun finishes its ascent above the mountain, the shadows are defined even deeper. The landscape appears black and white, not beige and dark brown. Miles of curves open up as the lee side of one silica wave abuts the windward side of another. Across the valley, to the distant range, one wave overlaps the other. The oceans of sand roll on and on. Humans weren’t designed to ascend sand dunes. But, all those millennia ago, we were not designed to leave the water, either.
There is a gentle moment at dawn
when things seem to wait.
The sun pauses
before cresting the hill,
the birds go silent
watching for the sun.
The branches cease to tremble
waiting for the birds.
The wind is slack,
lost in the trees,
and I’m motionless
before it all.