I recently returned from a joyous whirlwind of visiting family in England with my husband, the Brit. I’m pleased to report that although I usually manage to squeeze in a few watercolor studies, this year I was able to use fast-drying oil paint and make a few small oil paintings as well.
First, let me share with you the sketches I completed in my faithful 5 x 8 travel moleskin watercolor sketchbook:
As for the oil paintings, I used Windsor & Newton Griffin Alkyd fast-drying oil paints on my go-to 6 x 6 gessobords:
I spent this past weekend in Santa Fe and despite the chill found time to make a small 6 x 6″ study from the rooftop of my hotel in the late afternoon sun. The sky was really interesting and changing every minute.
On Sunday I joined other Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM) on a paintout to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument to absorb more of this state’s stunning geological formations. There was a cave at the top of one of the hikes that was used by prehistoric peoples. The charred ceiling of the cave is evidence of their fires. The layers in this formation erode at different speeds and this created a bench inside the cave. How I longed to climb up and sit in it! I’m sure everyone who visits feels that way.
I enjoyed my hike and commune with the landscape but because the park was quite busy with hikers and people moving through I actually drove to another more secluded spot where I fell in love with the shadowy cliffs (below).
In the top right corner you can see another PAPNM member under her white umbrella painting the tent rocks.
If you would like more frequent updates on my works in progress or other inspirational occurrences in my day-to-day life, find me on <a href=”https://www.instagram.com/jdodington/”>Instagram</a> (jdodington) where I make frequent photo posts. It’s free to make an account and you don’t have to post actively in order to follow people and enjoy their photographs.
I just got word that I have been juried into this year’s Plein Air Festival in Santa Fe. It seems fitting that the last post I made was after an exhilarating painting trip at Ghost Ranch because I used those paintings in my submission. The third painting I submitted was “Boating in the Canyon” (below).
Plein Air Painters of New Mexico (PAPNM) will host the Fourth Annual Santa Fe Plein Air Festival in the Land of Enchantment. Fifty (50) artists will be selected to participate in a seven day event from Friday, June 3 through Friday, June 10, around Santa Fe and Northern New Mexico (within a defined zone). InArt Gallery will display the participants’ best two works along with special award winners. The show will hang through July 4. Daily guided paintouts will be provided for those who want to paint in a group setting. Events will include a Kick Off Fiesta, an Enchanted Skies Award Event, Opening Reception and Awards Ceremony.
I was thrilled to get this news while in Santa Fe this past weekend, painting the amazing landscape that surrounds the city. Stay tuned for another one of my “Plein Air Journal” posts coming soon.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of painting the famous Ghost Ranch scenery with other PAPNM (Plein Air Painters of New Mexico) members Mary and Marilyn. As I had a bit of a longer drive than the other two, by the time I arrived at the ranch they were already lost in the landscape. It only took two minutes up the rough gravel road past the campground to find them though. Their reflective umbrellas stood out in the pale yellow grassy hills. Both painters were already hard at work, absorbed in laying down the outlines of their pieces at their shaded easels. I commenced to set up my not-so-professional camping chair with a purple polka-dotted umbrella bungie-corded to the back. hahaha.
It was an excellent morning that started cool and warmed up quickly. By noon we were all a bit too warm and after lunch headed down to paint from more shaded areas. I set aside my painting of the giant rocky cliffs and planned to pick up where I left off in the cool of Sunday morning.
Mary and I chose to paint from the portico of the worship building. Our view: Cerro Pedernal, locally known as just “Pedernal” is a narrow mesa in New Mexico. The name is Spanish for Flint Hill. The sky was doing amazing things with big dramatic clouds sweeping over the mountains while the cottonwood trees flamed a brilliant yellow.
Marilyn set up under the large shady trees near the dining hall. Not too long after she began painting we could see from our portico another painter had set up near her and I can understand why. The view of rolling hills and mountains in the distance was really captivating. All the yellow in the trees and scattered leaves also lent the whole scene a decidedly autumn feel, something that hasn’t reached Portales yet.
After the ladies finished their second pieces Husband and I bid them farewell, ate fajitas in the dining hall and retreated to our adobe abode to read and collapse.
The following morning we enjoyed breakfast in the dining hall again and it really felt like we were kids back at summer camp. What a nice feeling! I got myself a hot apple cinnamon tea to go and headed back up the hill to set up my painting again.
Just a half-an-hour drive down the highway from Portales lies the tiny town of Elida. The 2000 census reported 183 residents and I’m fairly certain there are fewer today. Despite its diminutive size the town has bright storefronts (all of them closed), giant shady trees and lots of artfully scattered abandoned farm equipment. It’s a painters paradise really. Today was a blustery one so I painted from the passenger seat of my car.
Just half an hour outside of Roswell New Mexico (aliens, yeah yeah…) is Bottomless Lake State Park. These lakes are sinkholes and range from 17 to 90 feet deep. The greenish-blue color created by aquatic plants is what gives the lakes the illusion of great depth. Husband and I drove out there yesterday afternoon and I managed to get a painting done before the sun went down and the flies came out to play.
It was an exciting weekend of art openings for me. The Plein Air Painters of New Mexico opened their juried fall show on Friday night at the Santa Fe Art Collector Gallery. Many of the painters I knew from past “paintouts” were in attendance and I got a chance to meet many others. The highlight of the weekend was winning an honorable mention award for my painting Galisteo Basin Preserve! The award came with a generous gift of art supplies and some encouraging comments later in the evening from the awards judge Lorenzo Chavez. The show is open from October 3 to 25th at 217 Galisteo St. in Santa Fe.
And if that wasn’t enough excitement for one weekend, the following day Husband and I drove to Albuquerque for the opening reception of the New Mexico Watercolor Society Juried Fall Show. There we enjoyed a fantastic spread of food (green chili cream cheese on mini bagels, spanakopita, fruit, cheese, cake… just to name a few drool-worthy options) and met some incredible artists. The gallery was an adobe building with high ceilings, huge wooden beams and large windows overhead that streamed in natural light. An exciting show in a beautiful space. Go check out the show, open from October 4th to 25th, 10AM to 4PM, Thursdays to Sundays, in the Fine Arts Gallery of EXPO-NM.
This evening, to beat the back-to-school blues I prioritized painting. This is NOT to say I am not enjoying the chaos and excitement of being back in my library with all the new students and returning students… just that I need this part of my day to keep me sane and to recharge.
Dragon was enjoying her favorite window ledge snoozing spot and I enjoyed listening to the rain coming down as I painted. My best friend from high school entrusted me with her precious yellow tea cup years ago and it is my watercolor painting vessel.
At the WPA studio I met artist Jo Lagattuta. Jo had to complete a pre-requisite course in Albuquerque in order to pursue her Art Therapy program in Santa Fe. Never did she realize she was going to fall deeply in love with this medium and make it her own for years and years to come. Check out her art on the WPA website.
Here is Jo using sun exposure as part of her printmaking process…
Here is some footage of the Painting with a Twist event. Basically the idea is bring your own booze, (I did not and there were many others who weren’t drinking either) listen to music, follow the lead painter and leave with a 16 x 20 acrylic painting! It was a LOT of fun and I think it would be the best couples date idea too.