New Painting and Launch of New Website

I’m very excited to announce that my new website, KevinCourter.com, will launch by the end of this week.  You’ll find the new website has my work divided into categories such as Landscapes, Still Lifes and Other making it easier to navigate through the genre that most interests you. In addition to having a link to my blog, I’ll also have a limited amount of work available directly through my studio. Another exciting change is my “Home” page which will contain my newest painting. All other features such as Galleries, Events, Bio and Contacts will remain unchanged. I would love to get your feedback once it’s launched.

Speaking of new paintings, I’ve posted my newest painting of the Minaret Range.  This piece is titled “A Grand View, Iceberg Lake”, 30 x 40.  I’ve received a large amount of interest of paintings of this area since completing my first studio piece of this area a few months ago. I’ve also included a few photos from our trip there last fall.

A Grand View, Iceberg Lake, 30 x 40, Oil on Linen

A Grand View, Iceberg Lake, 30 x 40, Oil on Linen

Painting Iceberg Lake. Bill Cone, Kevin Courter & Paul Kratter

Painting Iceberg Lake. Bill Cone, Kevin Courter & Paul Kratter

Painting Iceberg Lake. Paul Kratter, Kevin Courter & Bill Cone

Painting Iceberg Lake. Paul Kratter, Kevin Courter & Bill Cone

What I did when I wasn't painting. Fly Fishing on Lake Ediza

What I did when I wasn't painting. Fly Fishing on Lake Ediza

New Painting: Slopes of the Minarets, Iceberg Lake

I just completed my 3rd studio painting of Iceberg Lake.   This piece is part of a series of paintings that came out of a pack trip that several of my painting friends and I took to the Ansel Adams Wilderness last fall. 10 of us spent 6 days painting Lake Ediza and the surrounding area. Lake Ediza (elevation 9300ft.) is about an 8 mile hike from the Reds Meadow Pack Station near Mammoth Lakes, California.  Iceberg Lake is located about 2 miles south of Lake Ediza at an elevation of 9800ft. The hike wasn’t very long from our camp at Lake Ediza in terms of miles but it was very steep, but well worth it. This piece is currently available through my studio.

Slopes of the Minarets, Iceberg Lake. This piece is available through my studio at http://kevincourter.com/

Slopes of the Minarets, Iceberg Lake. This piece is available through my studio at http://kevincourter.com/

Iceberg Lake and the Minaret Range, 30 x 30, Oil on Linen, SOLD

Iceberg Lake and the Minaret Range, 30 x 30, Oil on Linen, SOLD

Carmel Art Festival: Show, Awards, Silent Auction & The “Quick Draw”

The Show and Awards

The show was open to the public Saturday morning at 10am.  Each artist shows what he or she considers their best 2 paintings of the short week.  The judges for the show started their process of selecting award winning paintings earlier that morning at 8:00am.  The awards were posted shortly after 10am. Over the past 3 years of this event my work as been blessed receiving many awards which have included the “Emerging Artist of the Year” and “Honorable Mention” in 2006 , “Best of Show” and “Mayor’s Choice” in 2006, “People’s Choice” and “Artist Choice” for best painting in 2007 and an “Honorable Mention” in 2008. Needless to say I was hopeful, I considered this years painting of “Afternoon at Rocky Point” to be one of my best.  After all the ribbons were posted my paintings had none.

This happened to my work in 2007 as well, my paintings did not receive any awards from the judges, but I did receive the “People’s Choice” and “Artist’s Choice” awards for my painting “Dancing Cypress”. (See past winners, 2007) These awards are obviously chosen by the people attending the show as well as my peers, the artists. These 2 awards are always an honor to receive. The winning painting of the “People’s Choice” award is used in all the marketing material for the following year including the show poster.

There were a few awards still remaining. These awards are given by the Patrons, Artists and Board of the Carmel Art Festival.  Later that afternoon my painting “Afternoon at Rocky Point” received the “Jennifer Hill Award of Merit”.  This award is given by the Board of the Carmel Art Festival and is in honor of Jennifer Hill, one of the founders of the Carmel Art Festival 16 years ago.  The painting also received the “People’s Choice” award for best painting as well which means that this piece will appear on the poster for the 2010 Carmel Art Festival as well as all marketing materials.

Afternoon at Rocky Point, 14 x 18, "Jennifer Hill" and "People's Choice" awards

Afternoon at Rocky Point, 14 x 18, "Jennifer Hill" and "People's Choice" awards

Awards at these shows are an interesting thing.  Judging a show of 120 paintings must also be just as interesting.  As artists we can never believe that the quality of our work is acknowledged solely by the awards they do or do not receive.  This is achieved through the constant desire to grow as an artist and to learn from one painting to the next. For our next painting to be better than our last. To Persevere.  I must admit that this is easier said than done. Next month in June I’ll have the opportunity to experience the other side of awards; I’ll be judging the show for the “Western Society of Artists” annual show in Northern California. My desire is to be objective, not looking for work that fits my particular style but work that’s accomplished regardless of style or medium.

The Auction

Later that evening 5 paintings from the show went to live auction.  Any work receiving 10 or more silent auction bids go to live auction. I was lucky enough to have both of my paintings go to live auction both selling for well above their retail values.

The “Quick Draw”

The next day all of the award winning artists participated in the “Quick Draw” event.  Each artist is given 2 hours to paint an image and return it framed ready for the show and silent auction. I chose to drive to Pacific Grove to paint the dunes. A bit of a risk considering the driving time (about 15 minutes). This gave me about 1 1/2 hours to paint, a few minutes to frame and the remaining time to drive back to Carmel (I like to keep things exciting). The painting went well. The piece was very popular among the artists and patrons and sold very quickly. Unfortunately I have no image of this painting to show.

Conclusion

All in all the show was a huge success.  I enjoyed a few days of painting and seeing old friends that I haven’t seen for a while. But it was also very good to get home to my family. I’ve been away from home for the better part of 2 weeks participating in this event as well as Sonoma Plein Air.

Carmel Art Festival: 2 Days of Painting

Thursday, 1st Day of Painting

The first day of painting kicked off with foggy weather. This had to be a big bummer to those artists who participated in the Sonoma Plein Air which had numerous days of bad weather.  For my first painting I decided to head towards Asilomar and Pacific Grove to paint the red ice plant and dunes found on the coast near the Pacific Grove Golf Course.  The sun was coming in and out but the morning was filled with mostly heavy fog.  I was able to make a few quick color notes of light and shadow on the canvas when the sun made short appearances. I titled this piece “Asilomar Tapestry”.

Asilomar Tapestry, 12 x 18, Oil on Linen, SOLD

Asilomar Tapestry, 12 x 18, Oil on Linen, SOLD

I finished the painting in about 2 hours and left the location and headed towards Carmel via 17 Mile Drive. I came across Michael Obermeyer painting along the Spanish Bay Golf Course.  I hung out with him for awhile and had a few laughs,  Michael’s always good for a few laughs. Once he finished his painting we went to Carmel to take a break and have lunch.  Artists Jesse Powell and John Burton also joined us for lunch.  After lunch we all headed to Rocky Point.  Rocky Point is about 20 minutes south on Highway 1 and is notorious for being a very windy location.  Let me just say that I HATE painting in the wind.  I would rather paint in almost any other type of weather.  Thursday was no exception, the wind was howling. I set-up along  the shoulder of Highway 1 and started my second painting. With cars and trucks racing by I quickly blocked in the painting.  I was tucked under the rear door of my SUV to avoid as much wind as possible, didn’t help much.  I had to paint with one hand constantly on the easel just to keep it from blowing away.  I realized at some point that I should take the painting out from under the rear door of my car to check the colors of the painting. (it was a little dark under the door)  The colors were awful!! Flourescent!! None to pleased, I quickly started to correct the colors with a lot of paint and very fast brush strokes that contained a bit of anger.  The wind is still blowing hard and I’m not happy, I’m even talking to the wind saying “I’m not leaving”.  At one point I lost my focus and turned to get something out of the back of my car and as I turned back towards the painting I noticed the wind picking up my easel, brushes, paint thinner and painting and throwing it all into the ditch.  The painting now had dirt and rocks stuck to the wet paint. This was not going well. I even entertained thoughts of just packing it in and leaving.  But I wouldn’t give in.  I was planning on doing this piece days before the event so I soldiered on.  I started by wiping off all the dirt and rocks and of course much of the painting as well. Once that was complete I began to repaint.  Wind is still howling. I remained patient and about and hour later I had fixed the painting.  It even looked better than before the “incident”.  I often find myself working better in situations like this, it forces me to focus more clearly and to paint more quickly and intuitively.  I had a vision in mind and stuck to it.  Painting outdoors is often about fighting the elements; rain, fog, cold or howling wind and persevering.  I consider this piece one of the best pieces I’ve ever completed for the Carmel Art Festival.

Afternoon at Rocky Point, 14 x 18, Oil on Linen, SOLD

Afternoon at Rocky Point, 14 x 18, Oil on Linen, SOLD

After I completed this painting I was exhausted. I packed things up and retreated to the interior of my car (without my tail between my legs) and headed back to Carmel.  I met up with Kim Fancher Lordier and Bethanne Cople at Carmel River Beach. We just hung out on the beach and talked art for about an hour then headed off to dinner in Carmel.

The first day of painting was full of challenges but I was very happy with my work. I also noticed that my easel was damaged to the point of not being able to get it closed.   Just another day of painting on location, it’s not for the faint of heart. Day 2 would not be much easier.

Friday, 2nd Day of Painting

During the week of the Carmel Art Festival I stayed at the home of artist friends Brian Blood and Laurie Kersey in Pebble Beach, not a bad place to lay my head. They were very gracious hosts who also invited Michael Obermeyer to stay with them as well.  I woke about 6:00am to find that, once again, the fog was thick and very wet. Heavy mist fell and coated everything and looked like it had rained. I headed off to Pacific Grove to paint a grove of cypress trees along the coast, one of my favorite spots.  This would be the perfect day for one of my moody tonalist paintings, perhaps something with the sun coming through the fog.  I set up to paint and quickly started having problems with the heavy mist that continued to fill the air.  The mist was getting on my canvas prior to me blocking in the big shapes.  This caused the paint to not want to stick.  (here we go again) I decided to start the same painting again on a dry canvas, this time getting the large shapes quickly blocked in before the mist had a chance to do it’s thing.  For the most part this worked. I was able to complete the painting in about an hour or so.

Jewel of Pacific Grove, 12 x 10, Oil on Linen, SOLD

Jewel of Pacific Grove, 12 x 10, Oil on Linen, SOLD

After this painting was complete I decided to call it a day. I had finished 3 paintings for the show and 2 of them needed to be turned in later that evening.  I headed back to the house to sign, frame and photograph the paintings.  I decided to turn in my paintings “Afternoon at Rocky Point” as well as “Jewel of Pacific Grove”.  These 2 pieces would be part of the show that started Saturday morning. After turning in the paintings I spent the rest of the evening having dinner with some  artist friends in Carmel.

Carmel Art Festival 2009

The Carmel Art Festival takes place this week.  About 60 artists from around the country will gather in Carmel for the annual festival which kicks off this coming Wednesday evening.  We’ll spend 2 days painting in Monterey County.  I plan on making at least 1 trip down to Rocky Point along highway 1.  Each artist is allowed to show 2 paintings from their 2 days of painting. The show and sale takes place Saturday.  The quick draw event takes place Sunday morning.  My work received the “Best of Show” award in 2006 and “Artist’s Choice” and “People’s Choice” awards in 2007. Hope to see you there.

Sonoma Plein Air 2009

The Sonoma Plein Air event was held this past weekend.  About 40 artists were invited to Sonoma Valley to paint for 5 days. I consider this event one of the best run events in the country.  The artists are very well taken care including being offered free housing from the generous citizens of Sonoma Valley. My host family, who I’ve stayed with for the past 2 years, is one block from the Sonoma Town Square.

The beginning of the week was filled with a mixture of clouds, rain, mist and fog. Fortunately this type of weather fits my approach to painting on location.  I found myself on a number occasions parked under the rear door of my SUV trying to keep my painting and palette dry.  The sun made it’s appearance late in the week which made for some great sunrises and sunsets.

I’ve posted my favorite painting from the week.  This piece was painted on one of those foggy, moody days that I love so much. This piece sold at the auction Friday night.

Jewel of Sonoma, 18 x 12

Jewel of Sonoma, 18 x 12 SOLD