Thursday, December 28, 2017

The end of 2017 and more changes in 2018!

We did it! After spending most of the summer and fall of 2016 looking for property closer to family and almost buying a place, we got something. Last December Don found an undeveloped property of about 15 acres near Adams, MN. What was attractive about it was the pond on the property. This pond is the remainder of one of three sand pits used in the construction of State Highway 56 in the early 1960s. This one holds the most water. There are no springs and it is fed by a drainage ditch and drains into a drainage ditch. (Most drainage ditches were dug during the 70s).
We put in an offer and it was accepted. The closing took place in March. Then we had to wait all summer until work can begin in the fall. Now the slabs for the house and garage are in with the in ground plumbing, the septic system and temporary electric run to the site. The pole house and garage can't begin until February at the soonest and the well still has to be dug.
The house will face west over the pond with a deck and upper balcony on the second floor were my studio will be. Another nice feature is the Shooting Star Bike trail on the other side of State Highway 56.
I have already did some artwork inspired by this site.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Indoor and outdoor work

This summer has been rainy. So I haven't been out bike riding and sketching as much as I should. Earlier this month I got together with some other Plein  Air painters downtown La Crosse on a day that was both sunny and not excessively humid. Plein Air Artist of La Crosse
Downtown La Crosse, gouache

Another fine day I rode my bike to the La Crosse River Marsh and did a gouache painting. I came prepared with insect repellant.
I did quite a bit of indoor work this year. Earlier I did lots of charcoal drawing, then now I am using Conte crayons.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Doing more outdoor work, gouache painting set up

Despite the rain this summer, I managed to get some outdoor painting and drawing done. Last year I bought gouache paints and practiced first with them indoors to get a feel for the medium and then developed an outdoor painting kit.
The kit had to be be able to fit in my bicycle baskets along with my stool, drinking water, tripod and other accessories. I went through several ideas, including a covered palette with tube paints squeezed into sections. But there were too many days between painting sessions and the paint would dry out. Gouache is watersoluable and rewettable but rewetted paint just isn't the same. The paint had to be freshly squeezed to be at the consistency I like. A solution is a wet palette made from pencil set tin, sponge cloth and cooking parchment paper. The sponge would be wetted and a precut sheet of parchment paper laid on top with the freshly squeezed paints on that. This has kept the paint soft and workable outdoors.When done the parchment paper is put in my trash bag along with any used paper towels, the sponge squeezed dry and put back and a small spray bottle is used to spray an ammonia mixture on it to inhibit mold growth. Several sheets of precut parchment paper are stored in the tin.
My easel is two boards hinged to together with adjustable hinges and I attached a tripod quick release plate to one of the boards to attach to a tripod.
I spent more money and bought a good tripod. The tripods I had are decades old and either big and heavy or lightweight and flimsy. The tripod I bought is a Mefoto Backpacker.

Here are some of the paintings done outside this summer:

Friday, January 23, 2015

I'm back! change and more change

Change! I finally had knee replacement surgery in 2013. First the left knee in February and the right knee in November. I'm not like new but a great improvement. Then in 2014 UW-L decided to close the Wittich Hall pool and convert the building to offices. Since the only reason I joined was to use the pool, I let my membership laspe. During the summer I tried using the municipal pools. Even the newest one, only a few blocks away from my home was uncomfortable with cold showers, paid lockers that didn't work and only Friday having an Adult swim time during the day. So in October after our trip to Maine and Acadia National Park I joined the YMCA and now back to swimming three times a week.
This year Don retires, he will turn 60 in June but he will be quitting in February. All of those years of saving money and living well within our means is going to pay off.
My parents finally moved out of the house they had built in the 80s and bought a duplex in Lyle. But Mom's health is now worse and she is now in assisted living in Austin. Dad's health took a turn for the worse and after recovery he might join Mom in Austin. Lucky for him my brother Ron always check on him everyday.
For art activities I put away my colored pencils and did almost nothing but oil pastels most of 2014. I set a goal of using just my old cheap OPs and cut down old matboard, priming with homemade grit primer and using photo references from the Reference Image Library at Wet Canvas. I also changed subject matter from landscapes to flowers, still lifes and animals. Because of the iffy nature of my materials these aren't for sale. I haven't done a count of OPs done, but there must be a couple of dozen. Doing a lot of these over a comparatively short time improved my skills and I experimented with colored primer and underpainting.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sketching this summer

I did less drawing in the studio than usual this summer. But I did more sketchbook drawing than usual. I started a new sketchbook at the end of June at the Lyle Area Classic Car Show. These are a selected few:

Downtown La Crosse had their Crazy Days in July.  This year at the Gallery La Crosse, some of us artists set up outside to help draw in customers. I had my hooked rugs, none sold. But I did a lot of sketching over three days!

In August we went to the Iola Military Show in Iola, WI. There was also a display of antique tractors.

Here is a selection of general interest sketches.

 After only two months I am almost through a hundred-page sketchbook! plus some sketches in the watercolor sketchbook. I should feel proud.