Sunday, June 29, 2008

Art of the Art

I meant to post these last week! Here are two small watercolors I did
of the wrapped bin. The one on the right I did on site the day of the
Bin Party and the other I did a few days after returning home working
from sketches and photos.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Closing thoughts and Looking Forward

The suitcase is unpacked, the laundry done, the mail opened, the bills paid and some errands have been accomplished.  It is now quiet and I have a few moments to reflect on the past week.

Each time I have returned to the Fields Project, I think it can't possibly be better than the previous year and yet it always is somehow, in some way better. This year the weather was perfect, the paintings location had so much to offer and the chance to interact with other artists and share ideas and thoughts was particularly special.  I painted a lot and feel I learned more about painting and have some new thoughts for new directions for my work in the coming months. I got to meet some interesting farmers and artists and I know I have made more than I few new friends. I learned about Barb Samsel's farm operation, her herd of Black Angus, and more about many of the difficulties that face the family farms these days.  Altho the price of a bushel of corn has risen higher, so have the other costs of the farm operation, the work is hard but the reward are great.

While the actual week of the Fields Project is over, my connections with the artists and the community will continue.  The Wrapped Bin will remain in place for the summer.  Finished for the Summer Solstice, the plan is to unwrap the bin at the  Vernal Equinox in September and I hope to be a part of that event. I will be seeing some of the Chicago based artists at events over the summer here in the city and may get the chance to return to Ogle Co. to work on another project this summer. 

And I plan to continue with this blog! It is my intention to post once or twice a week to share new work and activities in the arts. In a few days we leave for a long weekend to visit family in Taos, New Mexico and my sketchbook and paint set will be making the trip. I also plan to get out into the city this summer and do some outdoor work in the urban setting and I will share how that goes.  I will be having an exhibit of my paintings at Quincy university in Quincy, IL in the fall and will include details on that later.

At the bottom of this blog page are links to both my website and the Fields Project's website and I hope you will check them both out. 

Sunday, June 22, 2008

At the Art Festival

All good things must come to an end and today closed out the 2008
Fields Project. Another perfect day, we had no rain all week! I am now
home and unpacked and tomorrow will have some time to reflect and

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Painting of the View From Silver Creek

The Wrapped Bin in Ogle County

This afternoon was the official unveiling of the Wrapped Bin done by
artists Cathy Bouzide and Danny Mansmith. The bin has been wrapped
with countless strips cut from bedsheets either donated or purchased
from thrift shops and other bits of fabric given for this project.
Farm owner Mike Pfeiffer donated a pair or worn work pants as a final
touch. I did a small watercolor of the bin while I was there, the
first art of the art!
Tonite was a potluck dinner at Mix Park in for all the artists, hosts,
and committee members. The food was delicious as usual and after
dinner each artist gets up to talk about their week and many funny and
touching stories ate shared. We all become very close in a short time.
Tomorrow is the Art Festival and Sale also at Mix Park in Oregon. And
then it will be time for us all to leave this unique place and head
for home.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Across the Road from the Airport

I pulled into the airport yesterday to turn around and liked this view
so much I decided to stay right there and paint. No airport security
to chase me away so it was a good spot to work. Today Barb's farm was
open to any of the artists that wanted to come and paint. We went for
our plane ride at 9:30 and it was a perfect ride, no bumps at all! The
field designs turned out nicely. I find the portrait of Lincoln
amazing. All of the designs were marked out on grided fields using GPS
that the farmers use. They use multi colored flags and then mow the
designs by following the correct flags.
The rain and storms went north and south of us today and made for some
interesting skies. I painted until 3 and then went to visit Gary and
Judy Bocker, my first host family. Gary had quadruple bypass 4 weeks
ago on Wednesday so they are not hosting this year. This evening I
spent preparing work for the fair on Sunday. Saturday night is the
closing picnic so tomorrow is the last chance to finish everything up.

Flying over the Field Designs!

A very smooth flight and the designs look great!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The View From Silver Creek

I spent part of the afternoon painting near this creek. Under the
shade of four tall trees, I had a view of the valley all the way to
the Rock River. During the morning, I went to some locations nearby
and finished three small paintings and came back to the house to have
lunch with Barb. After lunch, Barb took me for a tour of her farm on
her ATV! What fun! She has about 370 acres, close to 270 are in corn,
several hay fields, and the rest is pasture for the Black Angus herd.
It quite an operation and beautiful land! I got some great shots of
the cows on my camera which I will be able to post next week. Tomorrow
we will be painting on her place, so I will have to get some more
pictures. Also tomorrow are the much anticipated plane rides to see
the completed field designs! There are 3 designs plus the ones done by
the high school students last month. Tonite was a cookout for the
artists and host families and the home of Joe and Donna Popp, members
of the Fields committee.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yikes Stripes!

This is what happens when I meet up with a nearly 100 year old barn!

Today we were on a farm that was created by Grayson Welty in 1907. It
is still owned by his descendants, now into the fourth generation.
There were 7 artists on this site today, we all took lunch together
with the current owner, John Croft. The weather was again picture
I started with a small watercolor sketch and then decided to venture
into a larger work. This is the largest painting I have ever completed
outdoors, it measures 20x14. Usually, I don't work larger than 11x14
when outside.
I forgot to include info with the photo of the "Blackhawk" statue that
I posted ok Sunday. Done by Laredo Taft and his students, it is the
second largest concrete statue in the world. The head and shoulders
were cast separately and had to be joined with the body using a slurry
made mainly of cement and applesauce. Taft meant it to be a symbol of
proud Native Americans, but the name Blackhawk has stuck with it altho
it looks nothing like him. He stands proudly above the Rock River.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Day 1 of Painting

Today was windy so the paint was drying quickly. I finished 2 small paintings and 1 drawing and have work planned for tomorrow. Weather forecast is good so I should be outside a lot! Tonight was Artist show and tell, a chance to see and hear about everyone's work. It is a very diverse group from all over the country.

Work in Progress

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Arrival and Evening in Oregon

I arrived at the home and farm of Barb Samsel shortly after 2 pm. I unpacked and we had a nice visit until it was time to leave for dinner. The evening events were held at the site of the old Eagle's Nest summer artists colony started by Laredo Taft and 10 other artists in 1898. It was used well into the 1930's and is now part of NIU's outdoor education campus

Blackhawk by Laredo Taft on the Rock River

Sunset over the Rock River

Ready To Leave

Several severe thunderstorms traveled thru here this mornings but it looks like it is clearing to the west so I am making final preparations to leave.  The weather for the next several days is sunny and 70's, perfect painting weather! Thanks to Mike's help, the car is loaded but I thought  would make this quick entry before shutting down the laptop and making a final check for things forgotten(always something). Tonite is the opening dinner on the grounds of what was once the summer camp and studios of Laredo Taft and many of his artist friends. I will meet the other artists involved in this years project, some old friends and some new. Hopefully, I will post again tonite along with photos!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Preparing for The Fields Project

On Sunday, June 15, I will head west for Oregon, IL in Ogle County.  I will be doing a nine day artist-in residence with The Fields Project: Bringing Artists and Agriculture Together. While living with a family on their active farm, I will have the opportunity to paint the landscape of the Rock River Valley, the fields of corn and soybeans, and the barns and silos that dot those fields. This will be my fourth residency with the Fields Project and I am looking forward to a week spent painting outside in a beautiful part of the heartland of America. It is an unique experience and I hope to share my activities and paintings on this blog. Right now I need to get back to gathering materials and supplies for the trip.