Plein Air Westhampton

Plein Air Westhampton was my final major plein air event for the summer. This one was much closer to home, in Richmond, Virginia, which normally would have made it a cinch logistically. However, with a child in primary school and a new puppy at home, I still wasn't able to do morning-to-night painting because Westhampton was about an hours' drive round trip from where I live in Ashland. 

Nevertheless, I got five good paintings out of the week. I felt really lucky to be a part of this inaugural plein air festival. I had the best time painting at this event. The vibe was imbued with excitement and comradery, but it was also low pressure at the same time, which I think helped my painting overall. This event took place in a really lovely part of old Richmond in a neighborhood filled with stately homes, old churches and charming shopping areas. Works painted by the 20+ participating artists during the week were exhibited in an outdoor tent during the street party called Party On the Avenues held on the final Sunday.  It was a well attended show that seemed to garner a lot of interest from the local press and public, and I had a great time painting in this charming district. Being primarily a landscape painter, I really surprised myself by how much I enjoyed painting the street scenes, and the experience left me feeling like I really want to do more with this subject matter. Three of my paintings sold during the event, and one of them was an award winner! It was such a harried week with my back and forth schedule that I regret not getting better photos of my paintings before the show, but I'm including some shots I was able to snap of the paintings I completed during the event. The two remaining paintings are on display at a local Westhampton gallery called Palette Paint and Home .

Floyd Plein Air (In Retrospect)

In addition to my travel up to Maine in June, I participated in two plein air festivals this summer. This was the first summer I have done this many "away" events in a long time but now that my daughter is getting a little older I felt like the time was right to give them a shot. The first was Floyd Plein Air, which took place in and around Floyd, Virginia in August. I had fully intended to live blog during this event, but I had zero internet or GPS anywhere in Floyd (not a great look for me, but somehow I survived ;-) ) I participated in the inaugural event for this festival a couple of years ago, under the name of "Plein Air Crush". This time around the festival was extended from a long weekend to an entire week. The weather was much better this time, which meant my paintings weren't covered in a layer of fine dirt like they were the first time around. Floyd is was a truly scenic venue for a plein air event, organized by the Floyd Center for the Arts.  I met a lot of very fine painters during the event, but I found it to be equal parts congenial and competitive. Congenial because I really admired and respected the participating artists who took part in the event, but competitive because there was definitely a competition aspect (judges and awards given) which always adds a layer of stress ( at least for me) to the experience.

Nevertheless the event was a fun fledgling festival, and I had the chance to paint some beautiful scenery for an entire week, which culminated in a show at the Floyd Center for the Arts. Here are a few of my pieces painted during the festival:

VIDEO- Art Talk; A Maine Experience

Happy Fall everyone! I have spent so much time traveling and painting this summer that I have hardly had any time to post except on the fly on social media. So these next few posts may actually be a bit of a summer recap. First up, Maine. As you may have read here and on social media, I spent a couple of delicious weeks in June painting the Maine Coast during an artist's residency on the island of Vinalhaven. 

Gallery Flux was kind enough to have hosted a pop-up exhibit of my work for this trip, as well as an artist's talk about my experience painting there. Even though it was a nice and intimate setting, I'm not all that comfortable with public speaking, but I actually had a good time, and the attendees were all very gracious and patient. Thank you to Gallery Flux for hosting me and making this little film. 

The paintings in this exhibit represent my impressions and experiences from the island of Vinalhaven, Maine, where I was fortunate to have spent a fortnight in June as an artist-in-residence. This video, taken at Gallery Flux in Ashland, Virginia is an artist's talk I gave in conjunction with my September show featuring paintings from my residency.  

Island Mystique

Some of the most romantic and beautiful moments of my Vinalhaven, Maine residency were when I awoke to see the island enveloped in mysterious fog. Attempting to paint that fog from life, however, takes actual work and perseverance. The shifting atmospheric effects on the land and the oh so subtle value ranges require astute concentration and alertness in the midst of the peaceful stillness. 

Not too far from where I was staying sat a lovely field of wildflowers fronting some wetlands. Purple-violet lupines, as beautiful as any hothouse flower, grow wild throughout the region in spring, as do buttercups, pink clover, daisies, Queen Anne's lace, and numerous other beauties I wasn't able to name. 

 "Lupines in the Mist", Oil on linen, 11x14" (SOLD) ©Jennifer E Young

"Lupines in the Mist", Oil on linen, 11x14" (SOLD) ©Jennifer E Young

My 11x14" plein air piece (above) found its home on the island, but I wanted to return to that experience back in the studio while my memory of it was still fresh.  I painted the larger version with a slightly different angle to include the hint of wetlands in the background in order to give it a better sense of place. Click through on the image below for more info.

So many paintings, so little time!

Going through my notebooks and photos from my Maine trip, I'm made aware of just how many paintings I have swirling around in my  consciousness, and never enough time to execute them all. I guess it's better than the alternative of a dry spell, but only slightly less frustrating.  

The reality is that I'm a mom with a family and a household and a very busy summer on top of it., and since my return from the trip I have had to work in fits and starts, and not without some failure. Still, I do what I can to make time for art. Here's my latest, which was first attempted on site but had to be aborted when the wind turned my painting into a virtual kite! 

 "Evening at Carver's Harbor", Oil on linen, 16x20" ©Jennifer E Young

"Evening at Carver's Harbor", Oil on linen, 16x20" ©Jennifer E Young

Those boxy shapes you see are lobster cages. They are kind of an iconic symbol to me of this town. Vinalhaven once had its heyday as an island for quarry mining, but workers later turned to lobster fishing for their livelihood. The sun rises at 4:30 a.m., so I was told the fishermen are up by 3:30! Now that's dedication. A far sight more dedicated than I was on the evening I attempted to paint this scene. After my painting did a face plant there was nothing left to do but resign myself to the realities of the wind and eat a delicious lobster roll as consolation.

I have another Maine piece on the easel that I'm hoping to complete this week, and then I am off to Floyd, Virginia to paint with my fellow plein air painters in the Floyd Plein Air Festival. This is a week-long event of painting in the mountains, farmland, and vineyards in and around Floyd. I participated in the inaugural event a couple of years ago and we had lots of clouds, wind, and some rain. Here's hoping the weather is a little more cooperative this time around.