1/24/16

Giving Permission, "Coachella Cadence" 12x16

"Coachella Cadence" 12x16" Oil
(pardon the glare)

"Coachella Cadence" detail

Pastels have been my medium of choice for nearly twenty-two years and have given me great joy and freedom to paint. Pastels have no mixing and drying time that traditional paints require. Sometimes I call it "pick and peck" painting. Pastels give me quick results and are fresh. I could finish a piece in one day and move on to the next.

When I began working with oils, I was consumed by learning all the names of the pigments and brushes, brushstrokes, mixing possibilities, other artist's palettes, solvents, mediums, and so much more. Coming from a pastelist's point of view, it was overwhelming. By now one would think I'd have a handle on oil painting, but I still struggle...a lot! Most of my struggle is in the mixing of pigment and getting it down in a wonderful brushstroke. I tend to lay it on messy and clumpy, or it's just plainly "cat licked" to death. Or worse, it was overworked leaving the piece heavy laden and boring. I was bored!

Then it hit me just the other day. I decided to step over the "boring" and gave myself permission to just paint with the palette knife and discover whatever comes from it. Loosen up a bit. Step through the gate. Cross over all those self-imposed rules. And when I did, I felt like a delightful child pulling petals off of a daisy and broke free from my self-implied shackles of painting with oil. No surprise that I painted all day long!

Painting with a palette knife is much like how I paint with pastels. I have found the flat side is much like the wide side of a pastel. I can smooth out pigment, let the canvas peek through, mix the colors and collect it without making my brush overly loaded. I can wipe it clean and start a new passage without cleaning my brush with solvent. A palette knife has thin sides which can be used to articulate fine lines and also scrape away paint. No more "over noodling" for me!

What makes it hard for you to paint? When was the last time you picked up a new tool? Are there things you wish you could do with your painting that others have inspired you to try? Then, why not?

Give yourself permission.

12/18/15

Laguna Plein Air Invitational final recap

The Gala Event and following show days...

(Sorry for the odd formatting, not sure why Blogger won't flush left.)

So it's Friday and the pressure to produce is off, making for a very low key day followed by the big artist's Gala. What does an artist do when they have time to burn? They paint some more! I headed out to Laguna's Main Beach and I spotted the iconic lifeguard tower and set up my gear, then along came participating artist Michael Obermeyer and then Jennifer showed up to paint too. It was a spontaneous, chatty time, with good laughs and sunshine
.
Painting the Life Guard stand of the Main Beach
with Michael Obermeyer and Jennifer Diehl.

"Day Watch" 11x14" Pastel  (sold) ©Brenda Boylan

After a great time painting, we headed out for some lunch and then home to shower up for the Gala. We had to be there an hour early so we could chill and see the work prior the guests.

My piece "Intersection on 1", 16x16" Pastel (sold)
Honored the Edward H. Boseker Award.

What an honor! Caught off guard by the big ribbon.

The Artist's Library:  artists' extra pieces painted from the week
 s well as from their studios.

Celebrating artists Lt to Rt: Brenda Boylan, Paul Kratter, Hiu Lai Chong, Aimee Erickson, 
Mark Fehlman, and Suzie Baker

My two favorite flirts, Jean Stern and Albert Handell.

The second day of the showing, the artists had to attend the event from 9-6:00 pm, so what do artists do when there is a lull in the day? They get out their painting gear and have a impromptu paint out.

Jennifer Diehl and Colin Page painting a portrait of a willing model.


A willing subject, sunflower still life from the surrounding table tops.
"Sun Day Bouquet" 12x9" Pastel
available at Attic Gallery.

The event ended on Sunday, Oct 24th around 3 and then all the artists and organizers said their final goodbyes. What a wonderful week! I had very little time to gather my remaining art from the walls, get something to eat, share a piece of art with my gracious hosts as a "thank you" for their kind hospitality, and then pack up to catch my flight.  Whew, what a day! What a week!

Thanks for following along. I'm hoping you imagined yourself in this special place called Laguna Beach. Perhaps I will fortunate enough to be invited back to paint again next year.

Thanks for sticking with me!
~B

12/8/15

Laguna Day 6 Recap - Turn in work

These 3 pieces were my entries for the judging in the main gallery. We were also allowed up to 6 additional pieces for display in the artists library.

"Intersection on 1" 16x16" Pastel (sold)

"Pelican Point" 16x20" Pastel  (sold)

"The Backway" 14x11"  Pastel


Here are two very tired, yet very happy artists Jennifer Diehl and Greg LaRock
turning in their finished pieces,

It's Thursday morning and it was time to turn in all our work from 8-10:00 am.  

What has to happen prior submission of art is where the rubber hits the road. Dealing with fatigue and last minute decisions, making sure the inventory is picture perfect, paperwork matches the inventory titles, and stickers affixed with the pricing on the back of each piece is the crazy part that always gets me in a tizzy. It can be both exciting and frustrating. Then somehow miraculously, I have to figure out how to fit all that work into my tiny rental car without denting a frame or smearing a painting. It may seem easy, but this is where the plein air competitor earns his or her income, and a can be the tie breaker if not dealt with humor and stress releasing cussing. 

While checking in my work, I observed happy artists grinning to have wrapped up a week of wonderful non-stop painting. The treat when turning in work is being able to see all the other's work firsthand prior curating.  Some stunning artwork indeed. Unfortunately when I came around to my work, I saw condensation forming behind the glazing of 2 of my competition pieces. This will happen when a glazed piece is placed in hot, direct sunlight. Now you'd probably expect me to blow a gasket by now, but luckily I had my framing tool kit and was able to remove the backing off of my pieces to allow some air flow. All was all resolved.

The Gala wasn't until Friday night, so all the artists had over 32 hours to relax and do what artists do when in Laguna Beach;  gallery hop! So a few of us headed out to the Irvine Museum to view the current exhibition "Independent Visions- Women Artists of California, 1880-1940", followed by lunch and a few other fine galleries on the PCH.

12/7/15

Laguna Day 5 Recap

Wednesday morning and this is our last day of painting for the show so Jennifer and I returned back to Crystal Cove to paint the beautiful cliffs of Pelican Point. She wanted to finish her big piece, and well, I loved the place so much that I came along to paint a similar, yet smaller piece. There we were, painting away and what should propel across our view? A blimp of all things. Only in So. Cal I guess. By now I had everything I needed for the show and I was getting more excited for the Gala as well as feeling the rush to wrap the work up.   


Painting always makes me hungry.

Completed piece on the easel


"The Cliffs of Pelican Point" 8x10" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan (sold)


We packed it up and then we went to my host's house to do a little touch-up, photographing of the work, and signature signing before we had to head out to Randy Higbee's frame shop by 6:30.  But first, let me back up a bit to explain the one of the best parts about painting in Laguna.  Prior leaving for any trip like this, you have to arrange for your frames either by assembling and shipping them ahead of time at huge cost, or packaging them up and bringing them on the plane as extra luggage, all peppered with a little frustration and sweat. However, this time, I had the convenience of pre- ordering from Randy Higbee's King of Frames. The best part is that Randy Higbee has a "framing party" at his frame shop on the night before turn-in that eliminates all the stress of getting work framed for the show. The only hard part is deciding what frame style and size of painting you plan on framing a few weeks prior the event. You bring all your artwork to his team to assemble....all while being treated to a buffet meal and wine. How easy is that?  Super easy when you are dealing with pastels and glazing.

12/1/15

Laguna Day 4 Recap

It's Tuesday and I was beginning to feel more comfortable with the light of the day, the warmth of the sun, and the pace of the event, but definitely feeling pretty fatigued by now.  I headed out with Jennifer Diehl around 10:00 to a place highly recommended by Thomas Kitts. I'm so glad I got to see the beach, as I had been painting pretty much urban by this time and it was a welcomed relief to paint something organic. Thomas showed us a place called China Cove that had this wild looking rock formation with a cave like hole in it. The passing shadows moved quickly, so it was a tricky one to paint. We set up on the stairs and just painted away to the calming sound of crashing waves.  I brought a larger 16x20" for this one and I'm glad I did because it nearly painted itself!




Going large on location, this 16x20" 

The day was coming to an end, but not yet, because there was still time to paint a sundown painting.  We headed out to Heisler Park once again to paint and watch the sunset on the southern California coast.  I brought my Sennelier Plein Air Seaside set that has the perfect colors for wet and dry sand, ocean water and sandstone cliffs.  And well, I have to do a little shameless self promotion here.... my piece "Point Lobos Jetty" is blazed upon the box front...yes, I'm a Wheaties gal!


For dinner, all of the artists were treated with a buffet dinner at one of LPAPA's best supporter's.  I won't mention who they are for privacy reasons, but it certainly is a beautiful home filled with masterworks And I mean FILLED! One should even find good reason to visit the bathroom indeed. Recognized works from artist's like Quang Ho, Richard Schmid, Romel Delatorre, were displayed salon style, and gosh, I couldn't count how many beauties were enjoyed by the collectors. They had wonderful stories to share about each piece and how they acquired them that perhaps could be book bound.

11/30/15

Laguna Recap Day 3

Third day into the event and Monday morning rolled around, and I was not up to getting out of bed. Since I first arrived, I had not been sleeping well with my spinning, busy brain and icky tummy. With just about 2 hours total to paint with, I was really beginning to feel it. So, I took it really easy... for awhile. I set out to paint the familiar Huntington Beach lifeguard by the pier. I took my time, trying to understand how life is for the locals. You see, I am not a nosy person, but when I am quiet and painting, every one of my senses is alert and I can hear everything. I heard bits of conversations from people walking just below the railing where I was perched; conversations about the film industry, family issues, interesting surfer slang, and the sound of sunbathers washing off the sand at the showers.
All done on the easel.  This piece measured 12x24"

"Out for the Day" 12x24" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan

Once I had this Lifeguard piece under my belt, I returned to Pacific Coast Hwy to complete my urban piece.  The late afternoon light was what I was after in this scene, so the orange underpainting I had started with really played an important part of the mood.

"Intersection on 1"  16x16" Pastel  ©Brenda Boylan  (sold)

All done! What a relief to have this piece done as I begin to feel more comfortable with my production..so far. It seems like all is downhill from here. I packed it all up and headed back to my host's home to get a quick shower then over to the Forest and Ocean Gallery for a discussion panel of artists.

As planned, LPAPA organizes a fun evening of 5 artists in a discussion panel moderated by gallery owner Ludo Leideritz. Invitational artists Cindy Baron, Lori Putnam, Michael ObermeyerBill Davidson and myself were selected to share our experiences and thoughts on plein air painting. We all had a great time answering the questions with humor peppered with a little bit of seriousness. It was an informative evening for the collectors and curious admirers


After all that was said and done, a few of us headed out for a bite to eat and to enjoy some camaraderie over a glass of wine.

11/29/15

Laguna Recap Day 2

(Sorry for the centered formatting, for some reason blogger won't let me fix it.)

Second day into the LPAPA event, me and Jennifer head out to the shoreline just below Heisler park in Laguna Beach. It was an overcast day with a hint of mist in the air. Unfortunately, I was not feeling very well and definitely not interested in painting an overcast day. I get enough of that in Portland. 

Looking south at Heisler Park in Laguna Beach.

So we decided to paint something on Balboa Island, an area just outside of Newport Bay where it appeared to be sunnier and more promising on the eye. I heard it was a very colorful, unique place and it sure did have plenty of subject matter for an artist to consume.  Even though there were a lot of beautiful boats and sparkly water, for some reason I wanted to paint an alley. I think just the sight of one took me back to when I lived in San Diego as a teen running up and down those long sunny alleys to pluck avocados and pomegranates from the neighbors trees.  Mostly, I was interested in the warm and cool temperature of the high key scene.  I chose a method of underpainting that I learned back in 2009 from Master pastelist Maggie Price. The technique requires 3 blue pastels and 3 yellow pastels, ranging in values from dark to light, and they should be intense hues.  



Here is my underpainting using  the 3 blues for everything cast in shadow, and 3 yellows for everything touched by light. It gave the piece a sence of bright light and cool shadow.  I haven't used this technique very much, but I think I just may.

The Backway, 14x11" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan

After I completed "The Backway", I picked up a lunch and then returned to Laguna Beach to continue work on my ambitious urban scene.


Still much to do...

I'm 2/3rds of the way through this piece on Pacific Coast Hwy 1, near a busy intersection. As I was painting this piece, my adventure gets a bit coincidental.  My aunt Linda drove by with her dear friend Mary. You see, she lives 85 miles from this spot, so it was truly a coincidence that she passed by that very spot, at that very moment I am painting. I hear and see a lot of things while painting on the streets, like people singing to the radio in their car, cigarette butts thrown by my side, homeless trying to survive, sometimes a loud roar of a Harley engine, but the joyful yell "BRENDA?"  "Hey that's Brenda!" was welcomed. I recognized those voices and so they stopped to visit.  Good times.

11/27/15

Laguna Plein Air Invitational Day 1

(sorry for the centered format, I'm not sure why it's posting like this...)

I've been home now for nearly a month and a half from painting The Laguna Plein Air Invitational, and it has taken me some time to digest it all. It was a challenging event for me mentally, because of the lack of sleep from the rolling and rewinding conversations in my mind on the "what, where, and when" I was going to paint. I finally did get that sleep, long after my return home and still alive to tell you about it. There was so much that went on to share with you, too much for just one post, that I've decided to post each day as it was held. a few pics for each day I went out to paint. This post has three short days, but first, I'll begin with some history...

Laguna Beach and its' neighboring coastal towns is a beautiful area for a plein air artist to paint, offering a fast tempo of energy, clear sunshine and a varying scenic coastline. It is about 1 hour south of Los Angeles so it is definitely in the heart of Southern California, and perhaps, I'd say it has a culture all it's own. What also is attractive for artists is the plein air history dating back a century. Noted artists George Garnder Symens, Franz Bischoff, Marion Wachton, William Wendt, Edgar Payne, and many, many more artists were instrumental in bringing impressionism to California.  The Laguna Plein Air Invitational was formed about 17 years ago by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association to continue the spirit of California's plein air movement. The Laguna Plein Air Invitational is one the foremost events in the plein air community today.

I flew out on Thursday and found my way around a bit with Jennifer Diehl. Here is Friday's short and sweet warm up at Huntington Beach by the famous Huntington Beach Pier.

"Daywatch" 8x10" Pastel  ©Brenda Boylan (sold)

The event began on Saturday morning where all 35 artists had to gather at the Festival of the Arts for canvas stamping, a quick orientation, and a nice breakfast buffet. 

LPAPA Invitational artists and Organizers.  Too many to mention.

Then all the artists took a private trolley ride to Heisler Park to create our 2-hour Quick Draw piece. Quick draws are really challenging because a location has to be decided without fuss and easel set up so that the painting can be completed in a certain time. We started at 11:00 and ended by 1:00 pm. 

"Laguna Overlook" 9x12" Pastel


Laguna Overview, 9x12" Pastel ©Brenda Boylan  (available)

Silent auction

After painting the quick draw piece, the artists had to quickly frame and hang their art at the Laguna Festival of the Arts for a silent auction and a small lunch.  Afterwards, we were off to paint whatever we wished for the bulk of the week. I began working on an urban scene that late afternoon which ended up being pretty ambitious. I first started out by drawing in a loose composition with a pastel pencil, and then blocking in the underpainting with a pastel stick and then washed it with Gamsol on a sponge brush. Here you can see I had an orange and blue underpainting, but I ended up changing the blue to a dark orange to make the underpainting all warm and consistent in hue.

This piece measures 16x16", sanded paper dry mounted on conservation board.

That night, if I remember correctly, I went to my generous host's home to shower up and plan my next day. I will post more on Sunday about the next few days of the event. Thanks for hanging with me!

~ Brenda

10/8/15

When art touches lives, Boy's Night Out, 14x14

"Boy's Night Out" 14x14" Plein air Oil on panel

You never know when your art touches lives. Let me tell you a story that happened a few days ago that I must share.

As I was painting a nocturne with 3 other artists in downtown Hillsboro, several people were walking about after dining out on the town. As pedestrians gathered on the street corner, across from where I was painting, I quickly suggested one of the figures in the scene to bring much needed life to the painting. The pedestrians crossed and stopped to look at our work in progress. I asked the gentleman,  whom I began to sketch into my painting, if he would care to stand just a little longer for me to finish painting him standing on the corner. He was happy to do so, along with his young son, which made the painting come alive.

The following day, I emailed to thank him and he shared a sweet story of this scene.  He writes,

"Thanks for letting us watch you.  Also that's one of our favorite street corners because for years I used to go to Hillsboro Hobbies with my Dad and now it's my son's favorite place to go with me. We always park on that side of the street and would cross over to the hobby shop. When I was little, I remember jumping up and down with anticipation, waiting for the light to change.  Now my son does the exact same thing!  Also, the corner you were painting from is the spot where we watch the forth of July parade.  Thanks for letting me purchase it. It captured a lifetime of memories."

How could you not feel good about bringing such fond memories to life?  When I paint a piece, I sometimes forget to find the meaning behind my subject because I am out just for the process of painting, but then there are other more obvious times when an emotional connection can be made. Those are golden times! It's kind of like fishing for a needle in a haystack. but when your painting can connect emotionally with another, you have touched someone's life...including your own.

How has your work connected with others? Please share.

~ Brenda

9/30/15

Roy Rodger's Woods, 6x8

Roy Roger's Woods, 6x8" Pastel

This was a quick 1 hour plein air demo for my Advanced Pastel students yesterday. It's a small piece just big enough for a quick demo. The morning light was really beautiful for a fall day, and so I picked this particular scene because the foreground and background played upon the wonderful glowing atmosphere. This was painted on the West shore in Lake Oswego overlooking the Willamette River, OR.

9/21/15

Dawn Over Day, 9x12

Dawn Over Day, 9x12" Oil

Fall is nearly hear and so I rush out to go plein air painting before the wet, chilly weather begins to unfold and keep me indoors. Some days are packed with responsibilities that I find it hard to get the time to work, especially before a big plein air event, and so I get up at the crack of dawn to paint a sunrise. This piece was painted just a mile from my home where there is a small wetland that is hidden by suburbia. I love finding spots like this. The slow moving water hosts mallards, beavers and frogs with plenty of space to live. They are challenging to paint because the little critters are in constant motion, just as the sun rises at an iridescent pace. It was a magnificent show.

9/14/15

Phooey, I says! Suggested Direction, 8x10

"Suggested Direction" 8x10"  Pastel en Plein air   ©Brenda Boylan

Warning! To be read with "tongue in cheek"

While I go about my errands being the friendly that I am, I oftentimes encounter people in conversation while standing in line at the bank, at some customer service desk, or at the Dr's office, or even while I am out painting plein air, and more than likely they will ask me what I do, like, really do? When I proudly tell them I am an artist, I am more than saddened when the reaction is faced with a kind of curious disbelief. It makes me feel rather odd, like I am irregular, or I'm out of pace with reality. It must be that fancy calligraphic, bold font tattoo that sits upon my forehead that reads "CrAzY!".    

It amazes me that there are hundreds of thousands of artists who live a creative life and carry on their business that the general population has never heard of the artist profession before, like the impossible of impossibilities. My head rings and tremors when I here people say...uh, it's hard to even write it, "starving artist". I just s h i v e r e d when I typed that... or even some lesser term for those who often struggle to get by with their talent. How many people do you know who started a business and struggled, failed, or succeeded? It happens all the time. Yup. Sadly, it is quite possible that the stigma of the "struggling artist" will never vanish from our vernacular. Phooey, I says!

What do you say or feel when someone tells you they are an artist, musician, dancer, or actor? I'd love to here.

Now if I could only wash off that tattoo!

~B

9/6/15

How do you Inventory your Artwork?



Whenever I here the word inventory, I nearly get ill to my stomach. The word takes me back several years to a time when I was willing to do most anything to save money for college. My sister had a contact for an automobile parts delivery clerk, and I filled the position. It was the pits, a play on the store's name Pitzer's, but really, it was not a great job for a petite gal in a man's world. The others often tested me, giving me inventory to move from one place to another that was 3 times too heavy for my size and ability. After a year of delivering parts, they moved me into the "Inventory Controller" position because the position was abandoned by the previous employee, and nobody wanted to do it. That should have been a clue to me right there that it was going to be a downhill slope. No one trained me, it was a job that I had to figure out myself with bits of information thrown at me from time to time. Besides being a creative, anything that had to do with numbers was not on my radar, and by the end of the year when the company had to take their yearly account of gaskets, bolts, batteries and spark plugs, the system was pretty messed up and therefore I was fired. But I digress.

Back to the present.

If you are a prolific artist producing for brick and mortar galleries, fairs, or sales venues online, you must take inventory of the what and where your work is. But how? You must first take into account your ability to commit as well as adapt, and I am a bit biased and old fashioned. Remember, I didn't have the best intro to inventory as a youngling.

There were a couple of systems that I have used in the past. I started out with a program called Working Artist. It was clunky and buggy, but I spent my hard earned money on it and that is what I stuck with. Then the programmer discontinued the update as computers were evolving, so it went belly up. Then I picked up Art Tracker and used it with success, but when I upgraded my computer, the system was not supported. As with the times, computers improve and new systems are introduced every day.  Just Google "artist inventory systems" and you will find a plethora of choices that are pretty much on a cloud base system.  But what if you are still trying to figure out what the heck this cloud is?

I just may be a bit old fashioned, stubborn, or biased, but I decided to track in a most old fashioned of ways.  I have resorted to creating a spiral bound book where I handwrite information of each piece into and then clip and tape each images with the info.  Yes, it's outdated, but I'm gonna give this a try before I plunge to the cloud and pay a yearly fee. This simple idea was shared with me in a workshop with pastelist Marla Baggetta back in 2011. It seems very archaic, but hey, I figure it won't be discontinued, bugged, or downgraded to a slower system. In the meantime, what do you use to track your artwork and what you like most about it? I'd love to know.

~ Brenda

8/26/15

Permission to Paint, Pontzloff's Barn 16x20"

"Pontzloff's Barn" 16x20" Pastel

As a plein air painter, there are some scenes that just have to be painted. When these scenes come across my path, there is usually some negotiating between conscience and safety. This scene in Door County was one of those times.

My host Ron had strongly recommended this location to paint, giving directions and commentary on the property. Now while I have encountered a few farmers in my artistic journey, I have never come upon one so completely misunderstood. My painting buddy for the day, Carol, came along with me to paint this barn. First, let me back up a bit;  a few days prior a fellow artist shared with me that he stopped to paint a "perfect barn scene", but unfortunately was "kicked off by a mean and ornery farmer" so quickly that he nearly dropped his painting butter side down. Being armed with this information, Carol and I parked our cars and carefully surveyed the property. It was a beauty of a Midwestern farm. The accompanying house looked as if it was empty, and besides, it was 6:00 am and we didn't wish to wake any inhabitants.  Carol set up on the property facing South and I viewed from the across the narrow road facing the property, as seen here in the photos below.

Carol's colorful subject.

My View. The light and shadows created a lot of drama.

My set-up nearly on the road, but still on the property.

About an hour into our work we heard what sounded like a screen door slamming. Then an old voice yelled out "Hey! What the heck are you doing there! Get off of my property! You people all come around here and take photos and paint pictures for a lot of money, and not a one of ya ever share with me what you make, or share a photo of my barn! You git outta here!"

You can imagine my panic as I feverishly tried to piece my pastels back into their little slots and tear down, resolving that this was a done deal. But Carol was so sweet. In a calm voice she begged for us to remain and to allow us to paint his barn. She even offered him 10 bucks and a coffee mug with one of her paintings printed on it. He said "gosh... no", and continued to ask us to leave, shaking his tired, pointed finger at us both. Yet, he began to interact more on a slower note. 

He stumbled across the street toward me, and I began to search for some common ground between us. Having recently viewed the documentary "King Corn", I had a good idea about the challenges independent farmers encounter while making a living off the land. 

The farmer's home and his wind-torn wind mill.

I observed his age and position in the environment. He was probably around 90 years old and perhaps served in one of our wars, so perhaps he was a veteran?  I thought, "Find a compliment, somewhere".... and so I began to ask him questions about him and his barn and silo, sharing with him that my own Grandpa Bartel was a farmer in Oregon. I spoke of my Dad being raised on the family farm, how we'd spend summers as kids rolling in the fields of mint or climbing upon the bales of hay stacked dangerously high in the barn. I shared with him how our old family barn of nearly 75 years had been torn down, much like so many of our American barns are sacrificed to corporate giants. The independent farmer has it tough, right? We did have common ground, and we began to speak the same language, Farming. He then shared with me how he has lived there since 1954, when he built the silo, the implement shed, and the windmill that is now wind-torn. He was very proud. I sensed he  was lonely. I asked him his name, "Earl Pontzloff" he said. Then, he spoke softly and shared that he had lost his wife 3 years ago. Here is a man who probably doesn't get much of a chance to relate with those of his own generation, and probably never leaves his property but to get groceries and pay his bills. Did he have family who looked after him? At this point he graciously allowed us permission to continue painting.  My heart was touched, and so I secretly vowed to repay him in some way in hopes that he would forgive all those previous onlookers and artists, and also to allow future artists and photographers to chance to capture a piece, memorializing an American Icon.

Earl Pontzloff and his barn.

When I got back home to my studio, I uploaded a high-res image of my finished painting to Imagekind and then had it made into a decent sized gallery wrapped reproduction.  I had it sent to Mr. Pontzloff followed with a hand written note of gratitude.  I do hope he likes it. But more than anything, a hopeful blanket apology for all those before and after me for stopping by to make art from his structures. I hope it works!

And so, if you are ever chased off of a cool looking farm or private property, just remember that these business people do own the property, work very hard, and have every right to shoo you off. But you have to find common ground to begin a dialogue. Check in with your conscience and safety feelers. Then again, we really should have first knocked on the front door and asked permission.

My finished piece on the easel, "Pontzloff's Barn"