Monday, April 27, 2015

Sunday in the Park with Frederick

"The beauty of the park... should be the beauty of the fields, the meadow, the prairie, the green pastures, and the still waters. What we want to gain is tranquility and rest to the mind." - Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., landscape architect and designer of parks

Inaugural Olmsted Plein Air
Sign at Olmsted Linear Park in Atlanta Georgia
Site of the Inaugural Olmsted Plein Air Invitational
Held April 22-26, 2015 

"Sign up for the Quick Draw," my artist friend, Patricia Fabian said. "Sure, after all, how many people know about either this event or Olmsted Linear Park?", I replied.

Turns out, a lot.

People in Olmsted Linear Park Atlanta, GA

Everybody came out after Atlanta's rainy spell for the Quick Draw event on Sunday, April 26. We had two hours to pick a spot, set up, and complete a painting. So much to choose from. Tick-tock, time, time, time. I set up in the shade. Although it's April, it was h-o-t (80°) in the sun. From there, I could see trees, paths, the event tents, dogs, dogs, and more dogs. Dogs love art events. They'd paint except for that opposable thumb thing. 

I had never heard of Olmsted Linear Park before. Turns out its designer, Frederick Law Olmsted, Sr., also designed another little city park... Central Park in New York City. Heard of it? 

Olmsted Linear Park is narrow and stretches lengthwise over 45 acres

He did a great job with Atlanta's Linear Park, which is called that because it is a narrow park that stretches lengthwise over 45 acres.

As you may recall, I am practicing my palette knife technique, so I went cold turkey and left all my brushes at home. Turns out it's a pretty clean way to paint outdoors. I also used water-soluble oil paints. (No, really, such a thing exists.) I think Frederick would have approved since he was an original "go green" type of guy.

After the judging, everyone was invited to view and buy the art. The "Sold" signs were going up on the easels pretty quickly and a very nice person bought my little jewel. Here's a photo of it and it's titled Spring in Olmsted. A much better title than "My Goodness, Who Put All That Green Out There", don't you think?

Joan Terrell artist oil painting

Our day ended at a nearby country club where we saluted the organizers of the event with champagne. Such a hard life, but someone's got to live it.

Until Olmsted Plein Air 2016, keep painting!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Happy Birthday, Joan Miró (2015)

"I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music." - Joan Miró, artist

A spoof of famous paintings by Joan Miro by Joan Terrell

Happy Birthday, Joan Miró (2015)  by Joan Terrell
Original palette knife oil painting
6" x 6" museum quality gessobord™ panel
© Joan Terrell
Back story & art tips at  
Hope it makes you smile!

April 20, 1893

Dear Joan,

Please forgive my tardiness in wishing you a happy birthday, but I've been out on the farm. Viewing the tilled fields reminded me to bake you this multi-layered cake. Hope you like peanut butter.

Hope you've been well and that people have stopped pronouncing your name as JoAnn, which is a small irritation that I, myself have endured. I must confess, my dear, that when I first saw your name, I thought I had found my mirror image, but then alas. 

Maybe I can see your sketch of the head of this peasant sometime soon and am sure you have expressed my likeness exactly. The next time you visit, I will serenade you with a birthday song, if not too much of a melancholic singer.

Now this farmer's wife must return to tending her horse, Red, and making sure her husband's pipe doesn't burn down the barn. 

Remember, dearest friend, you are welcome to drop by any time and I'll keep an eye out for you. 

Fondant forever,

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Room with a View

"I was raised on a song there, I done right I done wrong there, and it's true I belong there, and it's true it's my home" - from Piney Wood Hills by Buffy Sainte-Marie, singer, songwriter, artist

colorful original palette knife oil painting by Joan Terrell artist Joan Terrill artist
Room With A View by Joan Terrell
Original palette knife oil painting
6" x 6" museum quality gessobord™ panel
© 2015 Joan Terrell
Prefer a print? Click here and explore all the options (See the Classical Baroque framing option.)

It's raining in Georgia... still. Since Sunday. Raining through the coming weekend. Raining. 
little yellow rubber duckie

So what's a plein air painter supposed to do? Some brave the elements and create paintings of the rain, in the rain. Yours truly is not that intrepid, so I sent myself back to school. Back to basics.

Artists have their strengths and weaknesses. My weakness is values (or tonality). I tend to end up doing the backstroke in the mid tones. One of the best lessons in values came from artist Mike Rooney. I kept the black and white values chart he had each of us make. It sure has come in handy. The lightest value is white (a 1) and goes to the darkest at a 6. 

So while a symphony of rain played on, I put a photo and a blank 6x6" panel up on the easel, determined to conquer this values thing. You can see my handwritten sticky note analysis below: Clouds (1 to 2), Sky top (3), Sky bottom (2), Back mountain (3-blue), Mid mountain (3 green), Foreground mountain (5), Foreground bushes/trees (4 with 3 highlights and 5 shadows)

Joan Terrell artist Joan Terrill artist

First, I determined the values of the oils straight out of the tubes: Cad Yellow Medium (4), Alizarin Crimson (5), Thalo Green/yellow (5), Sap Green (6), Ultramarine Blue (6), Titanium White (1). Then I mixed some colors according to my sticky note analysis and wrote their value numbers beside them on the palette liner paper.

Joan Terrell artist palette Joan Terrill artist palette

My eyes get so confused that when I look at colors, my brain blocks on their tonal values, so I turned the color photo to B&W. H-mmm, pretty close. It's starting to make sense now. Mental note, always take photos and turn them B&W, especially when painting outdoors.

 Joan Terrell artist palette Joan Terrill artist palette

At the same time, I'm trying to hone my palette knife skills and am enjoying letting texture help color with the heavy lifting. Here are some closeups.

Joan Terrell artist closeup Joan Terrill artist closeupJoan Terrell artist closeup Joan Terrill artist closeup

As Ms. Sainte-Marie ends her song... "I'll return like a poor man, or a king if God wills, but I'm on my way home to the piney wood hills." Amen, sister.