Sunday, May 15, 2016

Garden Party at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

Crystal Springs, Crystal Bridges Art Museum, watercolor, Erika Nelson, plein air artist, PAPO, ArtByErika
"Crystal Springs" 9x12 watercolor on paper

My plein air group PAPO (Plein Air Painters of the Ozarks)  was invited to the garden party that Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.  They wanted it to be an educational experience for visitors so can learn how artists take in the outdoors.  They even provided the guests watercolor supplies!  CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE BIGGER VERSION
Crystal Bridges Art Museum, Garden Party, Erika Nelson, ArtByErika
My thumbnail sketches
Something I am training myself to do more often is to draw thumbnail sketches of my composition.  I don't know if I actually enjoy doing it but I seem to sell most pieces that I take time to do it for lol  

drawing, watercolors, Erika Nelson, ArtByErika, Crystal Bridges Art Museum
 Then while keeping an eye on both the subject and my chosen thumbnail composition, I draw.  I have double vision problem so when I feel intimidated by all the details of a landscape, I use modified contour drawing method.

watercolors, ArtbyErika, Erika Nelson, plein air
Painting begins
I build up the painting from light to dark which gives me option to change things as as I go and slowly enrich the colors.  Note on the upper part of photo, a guest was painting along with me.  She's a jeweler and we had a nice chat while painting :)

Bentonville, ArtByErika, Erika Nelson, watercolors, plein air
Finished in Bentonville!
 On my way home I saw bicyclists posing in front of this wall for photo so I thought I'd get my shot too :D

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Nice Replenishing of my Art Soul

Since the end of last year, I have been feeling tapped out of my artistic inspirations because I feel my recent art are no longer feeding my passion. 

I am currently on vacation in Southern California visiting my folks for the annual joint birthday celebrations with my dear Mom. We have determined to alternate taking trips so this time was my turn. 

Yesterday, I opened a beautiful birthday gift that I believe refilled my urge to create more art.  My best friend Hillary Miller arranged a get together with a our mutual college friend Kamilia Hardy and our college art mentor Donald Lagerberg. I hadn't seen Kamilia for years and Don...possibly since shortly before I graduated. All four of us are drawn together by our love of art specifically figures. 

The venue was The Bowers Museum in the city of Santa Ana.  After gathering in the lobby we headed to the Tangata Restaurant where there were only a couple tables occupied. We selected a table in a shaded part of the patio in a more private corner.  Don commented that the scene looked like a Sargent painting  with softened overhead light from the sun illuminating us and the white stucco wall behind. Spirited and joyful exchange of art related stories erupted instantly after briskly getting settled.  Nothing about the food distracted the momentum as they were outstanding and eaten at a comfortable pace.   We tried to pause a few times in attempt to head out to the exhibits "Alright let's go see the exhibit about dead bodies!..." but another thought interjected that required discussing.   The restaurant was buzzing by the time we successfully left the table. 

The California art collection was nice but we had all seen it before and a section was in repair.  So we marched on to the wonderfully extensive Mummies exhibit. I think we were all pleasantly surprised by the size of the show!  It was very engaging and of course we are students of anatomy and figures so we very much enjoyed it. We tested our forensic skills theorizing cause of deaths based on CT scans provided and the the actual bodies. I think we did ok. We also learned how to shrink heads. :)   I appreciated the initial stop, a  2 minute video that mindfully requested guests to be respectful of the mummies we were about to see. 

We declined the narrating gadgets.  Our group slowly meandered through multiple rooms that seemed endless as we quietly indulged in a few short conversations. We took our time so that by the time we finally reached the end, the museum staff was courteously exuding their "hurry up already" energy by the exit doors. 

Today I decided to do some studies of one scene from the afternoon that I might turn into a painting. I remember the warm interior walls reflected from the red tile floors and the bright sunlight from a tall narrow window. Kamilia was seated on a bench under one of the California landscape paintings while Hillary sat on the tiled bench under the window. Don settled on the opposite corner of the bench where he shared a few more art stories. 

You know I get the nudging feeling when I see genre paintings by past artists. I hope I can satisfy that urge in 2016.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thankful for you...