Sunday, September 20, 2015

Week three. September 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTION:
I started this painting back in 2013 but the carnival closed before I could finish it. I remember at the start wondering nothing more than if I could pull off a large night-time plein air painting. But as it leaned against the wall in my studio over the next two years, waiting for that fair to roll around again, I piled more questions onto it: could I capture the gestures of the people walking without too many distracting details; could I organize them into a graphic compositional element that supports and is secondary to the midway tents; could I paint the optical effect of the bright lights subtly reflecting into the dark sky-shape?


PAINT:

Step Right Up, 24" x 30", oil on canvas, $1500 framed, $1400 unframed.

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to purchase this painting and to see more of my artwork. I also occasionally post about the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES: 
Rockingham County Fair is one of the top 50 agricultural fairs in the country and I love to wander though the barns and see the kids working with their animals. Here are a few snapshots.













 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Week two. September 2015.


PINHOLES 
When I'm traveling on a carnival-painting trip I often take an evening away from my night-time painting to make pinhole photographs. A pinhole camera, in case you don't know, is the most basic form of a camera. It's a light-tight box with a tiny, pinpoint-sized hole on one side and some type of photosensitive film or paper (or digital computery-thing) inside the box, on the wall opposite the hole. The light that's reflected off of the exterior landscape enters the camera's pinhole, turns upside down, and is projected onto the back wall of the box where it's captured by the photosensitive stuff.

The exposure time changes depending on a bunch of variables. In my case it's how much light is out there. So when I'm photographing a carnival ride at night, my exposure can be anywhere from 30 seconds to 3 or 4 minutes. And that's the part I like, because that makes taking pinholes both very similar and radically different from making paintings.  

It's similar because I'm compressing an appreciable chunk of time, and all the activity therein, into a single visual image - about 3 minutes in the photo and 3 hours in the painting.  And it's similar because I'm standing in the space, carefully observing my subject, and experiencing and interacting with the peripheral action.

But it's also different because, unlike a painting, the photo captures and makes explicit the three dimensional space that I seem to look through instead of at. This helps me to perceive space in a way that I'm trying to bring to my paintings. 


















Each of these pinholes are available for $30 unframed, $80 framed, 6" x 9" image size.
Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to purchase them and to see more of my artwork.
I also occasionally post about the happenings in my studio at  facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Week four. August 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTION:
I was really interested in the picture-puzzle complexity of the shapes and their colors. I was drawn, too, to the splash of light across the center of the floor.


PAINT:
Bumper Cars, 12" x 12", oil on canvas, $375 framed, $350 unframed.


Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. I also occasionally post about the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES: 
Painting during the day when the rides are still is challenging enough so why in the world do I try to paint the rides at night?!?  
 



Sunday, August 16, 2015

Week two. August 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTION:
The unusual clarity of the air is making the landscape unfamiliar. What colors am I seeing?


PAINT:

Toad Run/Shag Hill - lush life, oil on gessoed paper, 10" x 5", $175 framed, $150 unframed

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to purchase this painting and to see more of my artwork. I also post occasionally about the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio  


FIELD NOTES:
After last week's chilling encounter with the heavily armed man I had to put things to rights by spending the day painting in my happy place. It worked.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Week one. August 2015

LOOK:


QUESTION:
What's the big difference between the shade and the light?


PAINT:
Cicada Shade, 8" x 6", oil on panel, $150 framed, $125 unframed.

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. I also post occasionally about the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
It was a perfect day and I was in a perfect place. The weather was hot and bright but with unaccustomed low humidity. I was cool in the shade of a smoke tree that was busy with two hummingbirds. Cicadas buzzed. A small stream tinkled nearby. Then a very large, very clean, four-door, black pick-up with an equally huge ATV in the bed pulled up next to me. The tinted window eased down. I walked over to chat. The driver said "Ma'am, I ask you to cease and desist immediately." I looked in the cab. There were multiple weapons on the seat and floor. I left.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Week four. July 2015.

Last week's monsoon kept me from painting outdoors, but it gave me the opportunity to work on an indoor project that I've been thinking about for a while - making a picture book for toddlers illustrated with my paintings. Here's the cover:


It was one of the most engrossing things I've done in a while. I brushed up on my layout and Photoshop skills and learned a bit about copyright law and ISBN numbers. I spent a luxurious afternoon at the library looking at beautifully-illustrated children's books. I created Bird Forest Press and designed it's logo. And best of all I got to daydream about my friends, the tractors, and what they like to do.

You can see the full preview of the book (all 15 pages of it!) and buy a copy for $18 plus shipping by clicking HERE. It'll take about 30 seconds to load up so please be patient.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Week two. July 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTIONS:
1) How can I handle the background so that it suggests the bright lights and movement and excitement of the midway without overpowering the main subject matter?
2) What color does everything become under those yellow bug lights?
3) What the heck was I thinking to begin a painting, in the dark, of shifting people and whirling carnival rides while hoards of fair-goers drifted by and at least a quarter of them wanted to chat?


PAINT:
Bingo Night at the Fireman's Carnival, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, SOLD.

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to see and purchase more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio
 

FIELD NOTES:
Here's a word problem for you: Bingo night runs for three hours total. Each game takes about five minutes. Each card costs 25¢. The winner of each game receives a prize of $3. The total take for the evening is $426. How many Bingo cards did they sell?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Week one. July 2015.

LOOK:
DAY -


NIGHT -


QUESTION:
DAY -  I was grabbed by the dynamism of the composition and flapping flags but I was kept by the beautiful yellows and pinks.
NIGHT -  What the heck happened to all those colors??!!? What are they now?


PAINT:
DAY -

NIGHT -
 
(Top) Day Colors, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed
(Bottom) Night Colors, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed
OR purchase the pair unframed for $400.

Visit my website elizabethsauder.com to buy these paintings and see more of my artwork.
You can also follow the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week four. June 2015.

LOOK:

QUESTION:
Can I paint the wide variety and subtlety of greens without getting too fussy?


PAINT:
The Wheels Keep Rolling, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $100 unframed.

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to purchase this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
Recently I've been thinking about the results of expectations. It seems to me that when I set a level of expectation and meet or exceed it then I'm happy. When I don't then I'm unhappy, even if the actual results are fabulous. Making this painting was a very sharp visceral experience of that idea. I scouted this beautiful painting spot then waited with mounting anticipation through several rainy days. Finally I could get there and paint. But it was hot and sweaty and bug-bit. The baler kept growing too big and the left-hand tractor kept shrinking. The shadows changed. I didn't bring enough water. Darn, that was supposed to be fun! So I ended disappointed and grumpy and tossed the painting aside in my studio. Later I saw it briefly, unattached to my expectations, and thought it was successful. Huh. Food for thought. 

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Week three. June 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTION:
What can I leave out and what can I add and still honor the creative non-fiction contract?


PAINT:
A Prayer for the Carnival, 12" x 12", oil on canvas, $375 framed, $350 unframed.

Please visit my website elizabethsauder.com to purchase this painting and to see more of my work. You can also follow the happenings in my studio at facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio 


FIELD NOTES:
It goes without saying that I meet some mighty interesting people while I'm painting at a carnival. One of them is Doodlebug, a showman who has a rich creative life making short videos of the people and places that he encounters while working for the carnival. Last week he turned his GoPro on me. Below is the video or here's a link: Friends we meet


Friday, June 12, 2015

Week two. June 2015.

LOOK:

 

QUESTION:
The wheel rotates. The chairs rock. The lights blink on and off.  Can I remember and then paint what is essentially a fleeting glance at a now nonexistent moment in time? 


PAINT:

Eli, 8" x 10", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed, $225 unframed.  

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
This particular wheel is nicknamed Eli. In fact most seem to be a version of that name - Big Eli, Lil' Eli. I presume that it's in honor of the Eli Bridge Company, an early maker of portable Ferris wheels.
 

Friday, June 5, 2015

Week one. June 2015.

LOOK:



QUESTION:
It's the same question that I seem to be wrestling with during every carnival painting: what is the least amount of information that I can notate and still have the painting read as accurate and detailed from afar?


PAINT:

Merry-Go-Round or Carousel?, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed, $225 unframed.
 

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio



FIELD NOTES:
I had an interesting and involved discussion with the midway owner, the ride-jockey and several passers-by. The upshot? A merry-go-round sports only horses while a carousel carries an additional two bench seats, and the "showmen" (not "carnies"!) call it a jenny. Who knew?

Friday, May 29, 2015

Week four. May 2015.

LOOK:



QUESTION:
Not a question so much as a plan... to make a few things very specific and a few things very loose and see how it turns out.


PAINT:

Field of Dreams, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed, $225 unframed.
Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio




FIELD NOTES:
Yippee... it's opening week of carnival painting season! Let's crunch the numbers so far: 228 miles driven, 4 days painting, 3 daytime paintings, 3 BV Fire Dept. lemonades, 2 nocturne paintings, 1 hamburger with all the fixin's, 1 unsolicited and very odd conversation about rotary phones, 1/2 a barbequed chicken, zero deep-fried Oreos (although I sinned in my heart).

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Week three. May 2015.
My painting trip in the High Plains, part two.

Look:

 
Question:
If I paint exactly what I see will it express the great depth and vastness of the land?


Paint:

Frenchman Valley, 6" x 8", oil on panel, $175 framed.

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. 
I am having a show of these plains paintings at Artists in Cahoots during June. The opening reception is Friday, June 5, 5 - 7. Stop in for a visit if you have a chance.


Field Notes:
Although I've read about the wind on the High Plains I was taken by surprise by it's power and relentlessness. No wonder I rarely see plein air paintings of the plains - an easel and canvas stand no chance against a steady 25mph thrust. It didn't take long before I transformed into a "Chevy Impala Painter"!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Week two. May 2015.
My painting trip in the High Plains, part one.

I just returned from an amazing ten-day, solo painting adventure in (of all places) south west Nebraska. A spur-of-the-moment impulse, a desire to see lots and lots and lots of sky, and an evening or two on Google Earth led me to book a seat on Amtrak bound for McCook, Nebraska. And nope, I've never been there before and didn't know anyone who actually lives in Nebraska -although I do now.

The two-day train ride on each end was a blast. I spent just about the whole of it in an easy chair in the glass observation car sketching the landscape as it slid by. It was a very civilized studio. If Amtrak's California Zephyr ever runs an Artist-in-Residence program I'll be the first to apply!

Nebraska's state slogan really should be Nebraska: Experience Nice. From the beginning to the end everyone there was exceptionally kind and generous. I arrived at 4 in the morning to find my rental car parked by the depot door with the ignition key under the mat, and, though the motel's office was closed, they hid my room key for me. I parked and painted at the side of the dirt roads and when someone passed by -only one car every two or three hours- they inevitably stopped to see if I was OK. And, to top it off, early in the trip a young rancher pulled over for a visit. It turned out that he's a painter (and a very good one, too), and he gave me directions to some great painting spots that I would have never found. Then the next day he sent me a Google Map pinned with even more locations.That was just plain nice.

East Oak Canyon, 6" x 6", oil on panel, $175 framed.
 
Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. 
I am having a show of these plains paintings at Artists in Cahoots during June. The opening reception is Friday, June 5, 5 - 7. Stop in for a visit if you have a chance.



The painting venues were tremendous. Huge skies topped earth striped with winter wheat, plowed dirt and barren plains. Gorgeous clouds. An empty landscape. I painted myself to a nub.

I don't think I could have had a better or more productive time. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Week four. April 2015.


LOOK:


QUESTION:
The early spring foliage colors on this overcast day are so subtle. Can I match them without making a boring and uninteresting painting?


PAINT:

Cusp Colors, 10" x 5", oil on gessoed paper, $175 framed, $150 unframed.

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
At the end of the afternoon, as I was walking the painting to the car, the wind kicked up suddenly. A gust snatched the painting out of my hands, threw it butter-side down on the gravel, and then cartwheeled it across the grass. So whoever buys this painting gets two for the price of one - a painting and a re-painting. And a little dirt and grass thrown in for free.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Week three. April 2015.


LOOK:


QUESTION:
Can I capture this chaotic, super-saturated scene without delineating every tree and branch?


PAINT:


Peach Bloom, 6" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $75 unframed.

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
It's hard to convey just how beautiful it is to be surrounded by hundreds of acres of blooming peach trees with the Blue Ridge as a back drop. So I'll just have to give you another photo of it.


Friday, April 10, 2015

Week two. April 2015.

LOOK:


QUESTION:
Fields here change color daily, if not hourly, during the first few weeks of April. What color is this green at this very moment?


PAINT:
Classic Cars, 10" x 5", oil on gessoed paper, $175 framed, $150 unframed.

Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio


FIELD NOTES:
Every April, after a winter's worth of brown, taupe and tan, I embark on a Spring Tonic Tour for a mega-dose of chlorophyll green. Here's my first restorative.








Friday, March 27, 2015

Week four. March 2015.

LOOK:



QUESTION:
What's the difference between the reflected colors in the pond and the colors of the actual objects?



PAINT:

House and Cowpond, 10" x 8", oil on gessoed paper, $250 framed, $225 unframed.
Please visit my website www.elizabethsauder.com to buy this painting and to see more of my artwork. You can also follow the happenings in my studio on Facebook at www.facebook.com/elizabethsauderstudio



FIELD NOTES:
It was a day of springtime firsts. First mockingbird song. First bloodroot bloom. First nap in the sun.