Door County, Day One

Well, July has been a decent month, and as a result, I was able to attend the Dockside Quick Paint in Door County. Each year the Penninsula School of Art sponsors an exclusive week-long plein air painting competition, inviting only 40 artists from around the states. Some of the best painters in the US participate in this event, which culminates in a rather successful auction, all to raise funds for the school.

To get invited to this event you have to have firmly established yourself as an award winning painter, and to get invited back, your work has to sell. That being said, the school goes out of its way to promote the event, and the auction-style sale is far more successful than any other event in the state.

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A = A

What is going on here?

Exactly how are we valuing our art?

One’s expectation of reality should never interfere with their ability to perceive reality.
– Richard Schmid

Before I talk about how the Cedarburg Event wrapped up, what my results were, I want to tell you about a conversation that I had shortly after the event closed, which I am still contemplating, and my criteria for evaluating a painting.

Just prior to attending the artist post-event party thrown by the remarkably generous Shoenenberger home, I was congratulating the awarded artists whom I knew, which inevitably ended up in long conversations about art. The last of these involved my friends Brian and Bonnie, both of whom are more established artists than I, both of whom won awards.

We ended up discussing the judging of the event, and at one point I expressed an opinion that good paintings are good paintings because they rise to a standard that is recognizable. By this I also meant that there is a standard by which to evaluate the value of a painting, or towards which to strive for excellence, regardless of style. I did this while inwardly reasserting to myself that if my paintings were better, they would have been recognized and they would more likely have sold.

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Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Ten: Paint the Festival

Here is today’s painting from the Paint the Festival event in Cedarburg. “The Light was Green” 9″ x 12″ oil on panel. We had from 8 am until 2 pm to finish and turn in a framed painting. I was fortunate that my Sister and Nephew arrived in time to watch my gear while I turned this in, it would have been a very close finish otherwise.

I am in the process of summarizing the significance of the results of this competition. I’ll be discussing it in the next few blog posts. I want to wait until after tomorrow before commenting, I’ll know then whether anything sold or not.

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Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Nine: Main Event

Well, another long day in the books. Started early today, left around 7:30 am, was painting by 8:10 am. I wanted to get out early to beat the rain. I had maybe an hour of painting time to myself before I got drenched. But I was onto something, and by this time it didn’t even phase me. I had my umbrella over my palette and canvas, and my hood was up with my visor low. Just another day of painting.

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Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Eight: Main Event

Well, after last night I decided I would take a good night’s sleep. Got up late, headed out to Cedarburg and started at the place where I painted the tree painting from yesterday. I spent about two hours there, having to pack up for about 15 minutes to avoid the rain. Managed to get further on that piece, as you can see. I will be adding in some more violets tomorrow, I want to push the color harmony a bit. Today was about modeling the trees, adding leaves, and using a little palette knife work to create impasto for a sense of depth. I also added shadows to the forest ground, allowing the light source to become apparent, and to add to the sense of space. I like this one, and may end up submitting it. This evening I opted to put it in a new frame, however, a simple black frame, a little more massive and less distracting than the ornate gold one I had originally.

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Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Seven: Main Event

What a long day. Another late start, I arrived in Cedarburg just in time for the Artist luncheon and workshop by Bonita Budysz, one of the jurors in this year’s event. I stayed for the first half hour of the demonstration, but soon had to leave. (How can I be politic about this…) I have found that I have to severely limit the amount of time I spend looking at artwork and artists who possess characteristics that I am rigidly trying to eliminate from my own painting. The workshop started very slowly, a bit more talkative than was necessary, but I chalk that up to nerves. It takes a lot to get in front a group of your peers, and talk to them about your process, while painting. Props to Bonita (please don’t jury me harshly).

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Cedarburg Plein Air Painting Competition – Day Six: Main Event

There are days when I feel like the universe is a physical presence, actively working to prevent me from accomplishing what I need to. Today was such a day. I got a late start today, lots of errands to run this morning. As it was, it rained in Cedarburg for most of the morning, but had cleared by the time I arrived this afternoon. I stopped in to photograph my Quick Paint submission.

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