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.

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3 thoughts on “Carmel Art Festival: 2 Days of Painting

  1. Hey Kevin – thanks for the recap! Almost like being there – sorry I missed all the fun this year. The paintings you did look really gorgeous!

    By the way I saw the big cow at Sekula’s. Fantastic!

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