Monday, February 25, 2013

Our First Workshop!

This past weekend the First Coast Pastel Society hosted its first workshop, featuring Maine artist Kathleen Galligan.  The theme for this plein air workshop was "Letting Go of the Literal".  Our first plein air day was spent at scenic Anastasia State Park which features 1600 acres of beaches, dunes, salt marshes and uplands.

We parked near the picnic area and then walked around with Kathleen to see the possibilities were for our plein air paintings.

The day was a warm and sunny one however, and in the end most of us chose to set up in the shaded picnic area and at the covered picnic tables themselves, as did Kathleen for her demo painting of the morning.

If we wanted, however, there were visits from wildlife we could also paint, like this great blue heron.

Or this gopher tortoise who crossed the pathway in the middle of Kathleen's demo.

This pathway leading into the dunes was a popular choice since it was easily visible from the shaded picnic grounds!

Day two took us to Frank Butler Park West, a small picnic area and boat ramp on the inland waterway. Though sunny in the morning it was a wild and windy day. A day to hold onto your hats and your pastels and your easels! Again a lot of folks chose to set up under cover.

But others were more brave and ventured out to other areas of the park. It did offer a variety of scenery if you chose to look for it.

And for those who enjoy sky scenes the cloud formations were bold and dramatic as clouds rolled in more heavily and ominously for the afternoon.

Our third and final day took us to a marina in St. Augustine. Some of us ran into raindrops and drizzle on the way to the marina and were worried it might be an indoor day. But there was no rain at the marina, though it was gray and lowering. Kathleen met us all there and then took us on a tour of the marina to show the various sights it had to offer.

Boats of course, as might be expected. Lots of boats. But there were marsh views as well.

And even more wildlife if you chose!

Kathleen chose a location for her demo which looked out over the salt marshes, with boats only far off in the distance.

The weather was crazy that day too. As she did her demo it grew darker, threatened rain, grew lighter, grew windier, blue skies and white clouds tried to appear, then it grew dark and threatening again. All a real challenge for a plein air painter!

But at lunch on that last day we all agreed that the workshop had been fun, fulfilling, and a weather adventure. As one of our members put it: "We can now all sign our works with 'PAS' - Plein Air Survivors!

Thank you Kathleen for coming down to teach this workshop for us, and many thanks to our President, Lyn Asselta, for being a wonderful organizer and food provider!

Friday, February 8, 2013

A great paint out at the Arboretum

Temperatures dropped down into the 30s overnight, the day before our paint out. Those hardy souls who showed up at the 8:30 arrival time had on warm coats, hats, gloves, even long johns!  But the sun was out, and light was crisp and glorious. Most folks spent a little time first walking around, looking for good places to set up, taking some reference photos for future opportunities.

The Arboretum has a small central pond with a walking trail that encircles it, and for people interested in painting a water view there were lots of great spots to set up along the edge.

Some of us jumped in right away and began painting. Others took a little more time to see what the rest of the group was up to before finding their own perfect spot for painting.

Some chose to paint while standing, others found it more comfortable to sit down, but we all had our own styles and equipment for painting.

As the sun rose higher and warmed the area, and it became more comfortable, gloves were shed, and jackets unfastened and even removed. By the time we all met for lunch at noontime we all agreed that once again we had lucked out for an almost perfect day for painting. We had 14 FCPS members attend, and it was great to have so many of us together. We hope for an even bigger turnout for our upcoming meeting in March - Saturday the 2nd at Jackonville's Reddi Arts, 10 AM until noon, with more details to follow in a later blog post. But put it on your calendars now!