Monday, August 15, 2016

Cigar Box Solutions

I love to travel and paint the scenery as I go. What I don't love is lugging a lot of heavy equipment with me. Even a small paint box accommodating 8" x 10" panels takes up a sizable chunk of real estate in my suitcase and weighs more than I want to tote. And that's just the box. Then I have to decide if I'm going to need the tripod, the umbrella, solvents, how many paint tubes I require, and another box to bring the wet panels home.


After giving the whole dilemma much thought I decided to travel with a 5" x 7" paint box. I began to search for the perfect box. It had to be small, light weight, and just big enough to hold four or five small tubes of paint, a few brushes ( I cut some short to fit), a palette knife and maybe some Liquin.
My next problem was cost. I didn't want to spend close to one hundred dollars, which is the price I saw shopping online.
The solution was so simple that I don't know why more people don't do it. I searched Ebay for used cigar boxes and found one the exact size I needed for about $15 including shipping. You might find one you like for less. Then at the hobby store I bought some long pieces of balsa wood to make dividers.


I put a couple of strips on the inside of the lid to hold my panel while I paint. Two more strips inside the box make a shelf for my palette to sit on. Notice the strap attached with framing hardware? Love it!


To give myself plenty of mixing area I made a hinged palette.


It sits on top of the box while I paint. At the beach last weekend I just sat in a beach chair with my box on my lap and painted.


It worked great! I'm so pleased. So what do I do with all of my wet panels after I paint on location?
Another cigar box fit the bill perfectly.


The vertical design of this box was exactly what I needed. I glued more balsa wood strips inside to create separations. This box holds up to eleven 5" x 7" panels.
My travel painting problems are solved thanks to a couple of old cigar boxes, balsa strips, thin plywood spray painted with automotive primer, framing hardware and an old strap from a bag I no longer use. Total cost of the two boxes combined was about $30. Saving money is fun.

What are your travel painting solutions?

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Waterways Plein Air

The Smithsonian is sponsoring  a  plein air event in Putnam County, Florida called "Waterways". The Smithsonian name immediately got my attention, so I trekked out to Crescent City with my painting buddy last week to find an appealing lake view.  We landed at the public dock on Crescent Lake and set up among a handful of fisher folk.
This was my view from the dock.

I eliminated the covered structure on the left and changed the color of the boathouse on the right, and brought the boathouse closer to the foreground.
My mantra was 'simplify, simplify'.
Crescent Lake Boathouse - oil - 8" x 10" - $280 -  Wiedemer

It was accepted in the show at the Bronson -Mulholland House in Palatka. I'm looking forward to going to the opening tomorrow.

Cheers!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Four Days and Seven Paintings

The "Find Your Park" plein air event was in celebration of the 100th anniversary of our national park system. The St. Augustine, Fl Cultural Association participated by sponsoring a week long paint out at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas. It was a great week getting to meet other plein air artists and painting in beautiful St. Augustine. The sun shone and the wind blew which for me meant seeking out shade and holding down my easel with one hand while I painted with the other. It was both fun and exhausting. I'd do it again in a minute!

Day 1 - Fort Matanzas
"Enter Through the Gift Shop" - 8"x 10" - oil
"Tree on the Marsh" - oil - 5"x 7"


"Matanzas Beachette" -oil- 8"x 10"



Day 2 - The Castillo
"The Lookout" - oil - 11"x 14"


Day 3 - The Castillo
"Windy Picnic" - oil - 11"x 14"- sold

Day 4 - The Castillo
"Palm Shadows in the Old City" - oil - 11"x 14"
You may have noticed that I only put up six paintings when I said there were seven. Number seven never got photographed, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I might get around to taking it's picture next week after I recover.






Saturday, April 9, 2016

Painting Flagler Beach

This past week was the culmination of months of planning as I headed up the annual Flagler Beach Paint Out. Being in charge is a role I'm not entirely comfortable with, but my reward is getting the chance to interact with so many talented artists.
Tuesday I was able to take some time to paint with  other artists, have lunch and go back to painting. It was a perfect day. I chose a shady spot under the Flagler Bridge.

There are prettier places to paint, but this location fit my needs. Close to the restaurant where we were meeting for lunch, shady, and protected from too much wind.
This is the painting I did under the bridge. I warmed up the colors and concentrated on making interesting light effects.

"Under The Bridge" - oil - 8"x 10" - $195

Next week I'll be in St. Augustine painting the Castillo Di San Marcos and Fort Matanzas national parks.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Painting Naples Florida

One of the things I enjoy about plein air painting is getting the opportunity to visit  beautiful areas to paint. Earlier this week I was in Naples, Fl for the annual 3rd On Canvas plein air event. This was my first time as a 3rd On Canvas artist, but I was treated as an old friend by the organizers and other artists.
We were assigned locations and required to paint from 10 am - 4 pm Monday and Tuesday. My plan for Monday was to begin a painting in the morning and then change my view (not my location) to begin another painting in the afternoon. My strategy with this plan was to view and paint my subject with semi- consistent lighting.
It's good to have a plan. But it is better to be flexible and roll with the punches. This is what Campiellos looked like when I arrived.
 I had just gotten my rough block - in done when the staff came out and very quickly and efficiently removed the heaters and put all of the umbrellas up. So much for my plan. I could still see the bar well enough so I worked on that and decided where I wanted to put some figures. By then the sun was baking me so I was ready to have some lunch and find shade.
Still in front of Campiellos, but on the other side I chose this archway as my subject.
I was happy to have some space out out of the direct sun. This was about 80% complete when I left at 4 pm.
The next morning I made sure I arrived early to give myself plenty of time to complete the bar painting. It was drizzling when I first got there, but it cleared up pretty quickly and I was able to finish and frame the painting.
"Campiellos Bar" 11"x 14" - oil on linen covered board
So after lunch I returned to the archway. 
"Campiellos Arch" - 11"x 14" - oil on linen covered board

I received good feedback on both paintings, but in the end I chose "Campiellos Arch" to be in the auction at the Port Royal Yacht Club this coming Sunday. 
It was a great experience. I'm already looking forward to next year.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's All About the Light

Central Florida has a number of idyllic small towns in which tourists and locals alike enjoy strolling, shopping and eating. Nestled in the gently, rolling hills of Lake County is Mount Dora. Okay, there is no mountain in Mount Dora. This is Florida after all. There is however a lake, interesting shops and tons of good restaurants. I spent a week soaking it all up during the Mount Dora paintout.

These are the paintings I finished during the paint out. Also there was one that I was convinced I could do better. I usually think that, but this time I had an idea about what it needed.  I didn't enter it into the exhibition so I could work on it at my leisure.
Courtyard Fountain - oil - 11"x 14 - Leah Wiedemer

Workin on the Railroad - oil - 11"x 14" - Leah Wiedemer
Then we had a quick draw competition. It was my first experience with one of these. We had two hours to complete a painting on the grounds of the Sydonie mansion. A little overwhelming.

Sydonie Arch - oil - 11"x 14" - Leah Wiedemer
The judge talked a lot about the affects and importance of light in our paintings. This is something I plan to work on.
This last painting is the one I worked on more when I got home. Let me know if you think it made a difference.



The Masonic Lodge (before light adjustments)


TheMasonic Lodge - oil - 11"x 14" - Leah Wiedemer

I think it was worth spending a little more time on. What do you think? Leave a comment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Painting History

Does absence really make the heart grow fonder? Well if it is true, I must be well loved by now.  Even though I haven't posted lately, I have been painting up a storm.

Our little painting group spent several weeks painting nearby in Lake Helen. Some of these will be on display at Hopkins Hall in Lake Helen during the Christmas Home Tour December 5 &6.







Sunday Morning at Zion Baptist - oil - Leah Wiedemer




We painted several of Lake Helen's historic churches.

Vespers - oil - Leah Wiedemer
And the historic City Hall complete with sand hill crane visitors.

Breakfast at City Hall - oil - 11"x 14"
Then we took a break from Lake Helen and went to Lake Woodruff Refuge. This is one of my favorite spots in spite of the fact that the mosquitoes eat me alive.

Rainy Day at the Refuge - oil - Leah Wiedemer
The sun never made an appearance and eventually the rain chased us away. But this turned out to be one of my favorite paintings. I guess there is just something about a gloomy day that appeals to me.

I'm interested in what you think. Please leave a comment.