I started this air show painting last week, from a reference photo of a Colorado friend who attended the show earlier this month. Though the scale was a bit daunting at only 11×14, I finally got around to finishing.
This is the result of a two-hour plein air excursion in Des Moines. Though it is not finished, I am hesitant to paint on it again to guard against altering its freshness.
I’ve been driving around the surrounding farmlands this summer and fall, taking photos of future paintings. I just got around to facing, and finishing this one, after starting it a month ago, and being intimidated by the light in it.
Farm life subject matter is something not to be overlooked in Iowa. In fact, it’s a challenge not to consider when looking for striking compositions here in the prairie.
To quote, and borrow a phrase from baseball, “I’m seeing the ball really well right now,” I’ve got 10,000 hours invested in getting to where I can execute this sky and palette. If you go out early in the morning and look, meditate, on the color in the atmosphere, you will soon see that, starting at the horizon, all six colors (the three primary, the three secondary) are there. Follow me: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet. From bottom to top. So fun to paint. Enjoy.
I am beginning to drive around the state of Iowa more often, scouting for those special places that may be painted in the early or late light of day. This was a barn just east of Adel, Iowa that I found interesting enough to sketch out. The light, however, is the thing I am after.
This year, in many ways, is a moving year. One major change in my orbit is to get outside and paint more plein air. Here is a little one hour sketch, in order to begin to stretch the plein air muscles.
Three night paint out in Des Moines, in association with Mainframe Studios, Salmagundi, and the Polk County Conservation, began at the Lauridsen Skate Park downtown. This was my Friday night entry.
I’ve lived in the State of Colorado twice in my lifetime. Loveland Co. for one year in 1975, before returning to Iowa to attend University. (ISU.) Then again for six years throughout the late 1980’s in Colorado Springs Co. I knew the state well and, often miss the open range feel of the West.
I painted this very view only a week ago at 12×12. Here is a larger version. I enjoyed the sky and clouds from this vantage point during an early morning rain shower skirting by to the east.
This is a Work in Progress. Des Moines is, or was, home of the Travelers Life Insurance Company and, this rooftop sign is an iconic part of the downtown cityscape. I’ve still to add the letters under the Umbrella and, it is basically all the farther I intend to take it. Cheers.
Since first posting, I’ve updated the painting to include the letters of the classic sign.