I was in Wayne, Pennsylvania last week for the Wayne Plein Air Festival organized by Wayne Art Center. What a week! The first three days we painted in 15-mile radius of Wayne and turned in the works at 8 pm. The fourth day (Friday) we went in the city of Philadelphia, painted there, and turned in the works at 8 pm. The fifth day (Saturday morning) we painted in Wayne and turned in the paintings at 2 pm. And Saturday evening was the preview gala from 6 pm to 10 pm.
Here are my paintings:
Cabins in rain. 12x9. Painted on the first day in Valley Forge Park. It was pouring rain. I could not find anywhere to set up. It took me a long time even to find any place to paint. It took a lot of driving and frustration, especially without a GPS and an area map. Being new to Wayne and unfamiliar with the roads and surroundings, with the weather uncooperative, it was a tough first day. I finally painted this little painting in my car. I had to keep one car window half open so I could see the scene, but the rain pour in--I didn't notice for at least 15 minutes. I closed the window, only to open it from time to time--so I could see what I was painting! It was not good.
Moller Farm. 12x9. The second day the weather started to clear up, although the sun was going in and out. I did this one in the morning.
Brushwood farm. 11x14. Painted this one in the afternoon on a horse farm. The horses were really good-looking and cute--they all came toward me and tried to see what I was doing. I had to move my easel back a little so they wouldn't knock it over. The sun was mostly out.
Willows Park reflection. 16x20. The third day was a perfect sunny day. Painted this in the morning. I was trying to capture the reflection of trees in water but not very successful.
Appleford pond. 12x16.(SOLD)
I drove to a couple places after lunch and finally got to Appleford. It's a pretty estate with an old fieldstone house, lush greens, rose gardens, and a lily pond. The property is for wedding rentals and special events. I decided to paint the lily pads. It was hot. I almost sat by the roadside. There were small critters everywhere--but I had to finish it by 6 pm, frame all the paintings, and turn them in to Wayne Art Center by 8 pm. It was probably a good thing that I didn't have too much time to fuss with the painting!
Boathouse row. 11x14. Painted this in Philly behind the art museum last Friday. It was a nice sunny day again. Hot! In the afternoon I drove to Penn's Landing and found a good-looking tugboat there and painted that. Here it is:
Tugboat in Philly. 16x12. (SOLD later in McBride Gallery)
I ran out of frames for this painting. Had to get a cheap frame from a local art store. Patti from WAC helped me with finding the store. Thanks Patti!
Saturday in Wayne. 16x12. Painted Saturday morning on Lancaster Avenue. Then we were all done!
The big party Saturday night:
My paintings on the wall. Other paintings are outside the main gallery room.
Hai-ou's paintings on the wall. She did eight big paintings in three days! She won the People's Choice Award that night. Congrats!
Tim Bell's paintings. He won a juror's award. The Third Place? His paintings really have impact across from the room.
Valerie Craig's paintings:
Valerie won First Place. D. Eleinne Basa won the Best of Show but I don't have photos of her paintings.
I regret I didn't take more pictures of more artists' paintings. Too busy talking, eating, and looking around. I thought the photos wouldn't turn out too well but they are not bad.
It was an eye-opener when I turned in the first three day's work and looked at other artists' work. They did so well! I felt so bad about my own paintings. I had not been painting freely, like how I should have. I was painting too slow and thinking too much--recently I had been trying to slow down and put more thought into it. Painting slowly may work in some situations but certainly not in plein air painting! And I did not find my bearings until maybe three days later. I looked at Hai-ou's paintings--she is so free! And used paint so thick. I looked at Tim Bell's paintings--he paints with such conviction and strength. I looked at Valerie Craig's paintings--such nice color harmony and skills in capturing her subjects. And they all used way more paint than I did! And many other artists' paintings...
I decided the next day I would be more free. Just do it how I want to do it and go with my instinct. And use more colors! I started to feel better. Ahhh---sometimes instincts work a lot better than a ton of analysis and thinking about all the rules, especially in painting. I realized I have to let myself come out in the painting--you really can't channel anyone else.
All in all, I think this is a great experience for me. I did not win anything but learned a ton. It's just already a good experience being with a crop of excellent artists and see what they do. Although it was hard to be in this competition at first--I was miserable on the first day and called my husband three times to whine about it because of the rain and the endless and aimless driving, it got better day by day. And now I say I would do it again without blinking an eye.
Wayne Art Center did a fantastic job organizing the whole event. Such nice space to showcase everybody's paintings. And the gala party was a blast. I did sell one painting that night--the lily pond in Appleford--to a nice British couple. They took it with them to go on the flight to England the next day. I hope the painting get there okay!--now I realized it was probably still wet when they took it off the wall...
Last but not least, special thanks to my host family for opening their beautiful home to me! Gail and Steve are so nice, warm and welcoming. I'm glad I got to stay with them and meet the members of their family. Thanks Gail!
For more info and event photos of Wayne Plein Air Festival, please go to http://www.waynepleinair.com/.