Will you be careful?
I know that you’re only running an errand
here at the corner
and that you’re not dressed for a long journey.
Your kiss is light
Your look calm
And tranquil are your hand and foot
But behind this corner
another part of the world,
after this moment
a sea of time.
Will you be careful?
"Afscheid (Farewell)," Adriaan Morriën
Translated from the Dutch by AD Capili
Earlier this summer, my friend Shiho Nakaza and I went on a little art adventure that included a week in Amsterdam. We participated in sketchwalks (during a record-breaking heatwave in July) as part of the 10th Urban Sketchers Symposium. During one of the walks, a few us stumbled upon this idyllic corner of the city. Entranced, I found some shade and set to work. I was pressed for time and after a while, was not quite hitting the mark, so I decided to leave it a bit unfinished and work on it more later. I didn't pick it up again until I returned home. Some of my fresher marks inevitably disappeared, but in the end, I think it conveys more of what first drew me in.
In my all-too-brief time in Amsterdam, many points of interest were lost on me as I rushed, like many a tourist, from here to there, oblivious to the history beneath my feet. I found out later that the official name of the little park that overlooks this scene is the J.W. van Overloopplantsoen. "A green bank of the Plantage Muidergracht, sandwiched between Hortus and the former Zeeman Laboratory of the UvA, named after the Dutch Nobel Prize winner Pieter Zeeman who reportedly received Niels Bohr and Albert Einstein here. Heroic ground.... JW van Overloop himself was slightly less illustrious. He was a local resident who fed the pigeons every day in this park. He called those pigeons 'my sisters', according to writer Adriaan Morriën who also lived there." ( source: idovergagen.nl )
I’ve since read that the poem above is inscribed on a monument at this little park, but I don't recall seeing it there. At the time, I didn’t know anything about this place, or about some of the darker passages of history that took place nearby. I just sat there with J.W.'s sisters, sipped my coffee and tried to soak in as much as I could before I had to move on.
Last Sunday was one of those picture postcard perfect days we are cursed with here in San Diego. It was a great day to catch up with the San Diego Urban Sketchers and try my hand at capturing Little Italy and its iconic sign. If you've never been, it's a bustling place with very little parking, lots of tourists, and the constant excitement of airplanes on their steep approach to nearby San Diego International Airport. To give you some idea of the number of landings, check out this crazy video: io9.gizmodo.com/5965233/five-hours-of-planes-landing-at-san-diego-international-airport-in-less-than-thirty-seconds
I lucked out and got a prime parking space, then parked myself between an electrical box and some big terracotta planters. After I penciled things in and laid down a few light washes, I decided to adjust my own angle of approach. Since I'd gotten a late morning start, I decided to finish my sketch in the afternoon when I'd have some bigger shadow shapes to play with. I then met up with the rest of the group, and after a life-affirming bagel and coffee, returned to the scene of the sign.
Sargent supposedly said, "An artist painting a picture should have at his side a man with a club to hit him over the head when the picture is finished." I probably could have used a good 'club man' when I got back to my little sketch, but in the end, it was still a pleasant little picture, which is all I really set out to make. Done, I popped back into the café to re-charge before heading back home. At this point I was seeing paintings everywhere, so I decided to get one more in just for fun, Only this time, I tried a different approach: no pencil---just squint at the values and 'ready, set, paint!'
UPDATED 6/11: This post was updated to reflect changes in the timeline of this event. Deadlines have been changed to allow more artists to submit artwork.
The show opening has been pushed to June 21 to coincide with the artists' reception, and painting days have been extended through June 14 so that more artists may participate. The deadline for submissions has been extended to June 15.
Artists: Please download REVISED prospectus, attached at the bottom of this post.
From the flyer: "In conjunction with the 2nd Annual Succulent Celebration artists are invited to paint at WaterWise Botanicals and submit their best work for acceptance into a juried show to be held at ArtBeat on Main Street Gallery in Vista."
WaterWise Botanicals is a 20+ acre nursery/grower with display gardens on Old Highway 395 in Escondido (See map below). As part of this year's Succulent Celebration, they have teamed up with ArtBeat Gallery in Vista to hold a plein air event and show.
First prize is $200 and it is FREE to participate, and FREE to enter up to two submissions to the juried show which runs June June 21 -- July 6. Artists are encouraged to paint any time from 8am -- 5pm during The Succulent Celebration, which is Friday, June 6th -- Saturday, June 7th. Also, to encourage more artists to submit entries to the juried show, they are allowing artists to paint on-site any time from now through June 14th during business hours Monday - Saturday 8:00 am – 5:00 pm (CLOSED Sundays).
I'll be painting there during both days of the Succulent Celebration. Hope to see you there!
For more information, please email email@example.com.
ArtBeat On Main Street Gallery
330 Main Street, Vista, CA 92084 (760) 295-3118
32183 Old Highway 395, Escondido 92026 (760) 728-264 (map below)
Spring has sprung here in San Diego and that means more sunshine and outdoor events. I thought I'd highlight a few that feature art or plein air painting, including some upcoming events in which I'll be participating.
This post is not a how-to but a reflection on what it's like to be new at painting outdoors, as well as a shameless promotion of my upcoming plein air class. But first: I have a confession to make.
It's been a few months since I've painted outdoors. I really have no excuse. Living in San Diego, I certainly can't blame the weather, especially after having watched from afar artist Marc Hanson paint four plein air paintings a day for a month in frozen Colorado.
As mentioned in my previous post, I am participating in Art in the Pines at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve. The event, in its fourth year, is a two-day "...celebration of nature through the interpretive eye of the artist." This month, California artists can be observed painting throughout the reserve as part of the plein air painting competition. Awards will be announced Saturday May 4th and paintings and other nature-based artwork will be available at an outdoor sale near the visitors' center May 4th and 5th. Hosted by the Torrey Pines Docent Society and the Torrey Pines Association, the event benefits children's nature programs at the reserve. Come on out and see me make a painting while I try to keep hold of my hat and easel. Visit torreypine.org for more info. Did I mention there will be tacos? And coffee?
I'm a newbie participant in the monthly artwalk that takes place at Old California Restaurant Row in San Marcos. The artwalk is a relatively small but lively event that occurs alongside, but separate from, a car show. I think it creates a nice mix of people who can appreciate creativity on many levels.
This past Sunday was my second day out there and I'm happy to report that some very nice people took home some of my art! It's so gratifying to feel that bit of appreciation for what you do and how you see the world. And it's heartening to know that there are people in your community, aside from your fellow artists, who actively make art a part of their lives.
I'm a little bummed that I won't be there for the next one in May, since I'll be participating in Art in the Pines; but I'm already planning for the artwalk in June.
So thank you, art appreciators, for supporting the art in our community as well as this particular starving artist! For more info on the artwalk and car club event, click here. Or to check out their Facebook page, click here.
And I do mean "BIG," because this template forces me to SHOUT TITLES IN ALL CAPS. Apologies.
If you've somehow landed here, I'm guessing we've crossed paths somewhere in the art-o-sphere, maybe at the intersection of plein air painting and watercolor?
In future, I'd like to post about my own adventures, and hopefully not too many misadventures, in painting in the great outdoors.
I have a passion for plein air painting. I try to capture and share the moments of beauty I find. You can see some of my work online at: