Monday, January 14, 2008

Apex Musings


gunbarrel at night
Originally uploaded by sketchalina
I wanted to try capturing the light and colours out our window at night. When I started this background was all one big sheet of fog. As soon as I'd sketched the buildings it lifted to reveal this complex but very interesting pattern of shadow and texture.

There was a time when I painted exclusively from photos. I thought people who painted from real life were crazy, that you'd never get a good end result because the light and atmosphere kept changing, things moved or went away. Now I find that's exactly what I love about working 'plein aire'. I look at some of the sketches I've done over the last year, and the reference photo's I've taken just as I'm about to leave the scene, in case I want to make adjustments later. The photos never really show the good stuff. Perspectives may not be perfect, and it's more challenging to judge what's going on with angles and colour relationships when they're not flattened into a convenient two dimensions for us, but there's more freedom to interpret, to respond to what's there. I love it! It's so much more about the experience of doing it than it is about the result.
I painted this curled up in a corner table by the window of Fresh Tracks Cafe and Bistro while Greg hung out with his friend James and daughter Ashley. I keep intending to paint something simple, like the snow on the roof here, and then get caught up in all the other details in the scene. Oh well, it's all fun. I nursed a single Chai Latte through this whole sketch and almost but never dipped my brush in it once! I must have been deeply absorbed in what I was doing, because Greg popped in twice while I was here and we didn't even see each other.

Weekends up here are so relaxing. It's a half hour from our house in town, but a world away. I'm no longer drawn to shredding up the hill (my last venture there ended in an ambulance ride and a Christmas spent immobilized and stoned on painkillers last year) and love to just kick back, watch movies, have hot tubs, walk the dog. We talk and plan, cook, eat, dream, all the good stuff. When we get back to town we feel like we've had a break. Greg actually pulled the 'For Sale' sign off the side of the condo this weekend.

Now we're back in town. I have a presentation and a speech to write and we've got a host of 'must do's' beckoning. As we drove home we realized that there's not one evening this week when at least one of us isn't obligated to be somewhere. On the highlight side, there's a reception I have to attend for an award I've been nominated for (best home based business of the year - business excellence awards) tomorrow night. The busier we get, the stronger my desire to take March off and go hang out in Mexico for a month gets. Ha! An email just popped into my inbox from my friend Marcela in Mexico as I was typing that sentence. Coincidence? I think not. I love that stuff.

2 comments:

Kate (Cathy) Johnson said...

Oh, this is wonderful! I'd like to invite you to join my new Flickr group, if you'd like...we're here:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/plein_aire/

rjw said...

Hey Carol

Loved the Fresh Tracks Bistro sketch. Know how you feel when you are there. I stopped in for my favourite Americano and was the first one in early in the morning, first one... Fresh Tracks- get it? Thanks for the hospitality and great fun you guys.
Your Tri buddy in WR.