Monday, June 13, 2011

Green Lake, Beloit and Pie Night (The value of Critique)

It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks as we have begun the Plein air competition season in Wisconsin in earnest. A new and delightful one day event (in spite of some rain) was held in charming Green Lake WI. A resort community about an hour and a half drive from boasts some unmatched scenery and a charming downtown area.  My hubby came with me much to my delight and read and played his guitar while I painted. I spotted the small Historical Society building and decided to further hone my architectural prowess (or lack thereof) with a small is my result:

 Historical Society, Green Lake
10x8 oil 

  Then it began to pour and so I tucked myself and my easel up under the porch of this building and painted the apple tree just behind. Time was pressing so I got out my trusty palette knife and went to work. I am very happy with the results:

Apple Tree at the Historical Society, Green Lake 
oil 12x12

For a short time yet both of these paintings can be seen at Margaret York's beautiful Gallery called Arts of Daycholah (

Then it was on to prepping for the Beloit plein air Competition called Edge of the Rock. Located an hour and a half drive southwest from me it is located along the Rock river and while the painting area is small and confined mostly to the renovated riverfront it was a great event! My friend Judith Reidy and I went together on Sunday just as mid August style heat set in! Wow...we went from 56 degrees when we left my house early in the morning to 99 and steamy on the way home as the sun went down. There was a new area inside the Beloit College that we were allowed to paint in so we headed there first and stayed most of the morning. I painted this:

Middle College
12x16 oil

After some lunch and some much needed cooling off at a great local coffee place we headed back to the riverfront/lagoon area. We were seeking a location to paint in the shade with a great view as the temperature was ramping up fast! I noted a spot with some irises and a bridge over to the small island but kept on looking when Judith pulled me back over  there and said I should paint that. She thought it looked like a good "Wendie" painting. So we set up there and I started. A mom and hers kids stopped to look and the daughter helped me name it ...Path to Turtle Island. I was very happy with the result of this piece and sold it to a wonderful couple at the opening a few days later!

Path to Turtle Island
12x12 oil SOLD

Judith and I went back again on Monday. The heat and the wind were so bad that all I produced was a "wiper" but Judith got a good start on a lovely painting!

Then last night Judith hosted her first "Pie Conversation Party" of the season when a group of mostly artists and musicians gathered to talk "shop".  Lively critique of work ensued.  Used to be I would be very intimidated by this activity...especially around a group of highly educated artists as I have no "formal" art education. However,  I have learned to really value the measured (even sometimes harsh) commentary of my peers as I listen to what they believe would make my work and others stronger. I take what they say and ask myself if that would fit into my personal aesthetic/style/message. I have learned to bring a "take what you like and leave the rest" attitude as wearing that kind of armor prevents me from being bruised and blooded past the point of return. I learn...and that is worth it!

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