Friday, October 17, 2008

Painting in the rain

You don't always get beautiful weather for painting.
However, if you travel this far to paint, YOU PAINT!

Our first day of painting was the only rainy day we had. Luckily I had just gotten an new Umbrella set up from Artwork Essentials.

Peter and I found Colin painting in the parking lot for the ferry to Monhegan and decided to set up next to him in the rain.
We were getting some blowing rain on our palettes, but it was not too bad that we could not go on.

"The Laura B", 8" x 10" oil on linen, Frank Gardner © 2008
Private Collection

The Laura B is one of the ferries that run from Port Clyde to Monhegan Island.
The misty fog on this rainy morning made for a real nice effect. I painted on this one until the fog lifted quickly and the scene changed so drastically that we could not go on. There were boats moored and an Island behind the boat and pier.
I put a few finishing touches on this one here in the studio, but it is pretty much the same as I came home with.
One thing I notice is that I make the cabins on my boats too tall. I adjusted this one down with the aid of a photo reference.

I was painting right along the water's edge and it was cold.
I know.
FYI, the EasyL umbrella comes with a little chord that you tie to the umbrella part and the extension arm part. The umbrella part is made so it can blow off in a gust and not knock over your whole set up.
That is a REALLY good idea.
Trouble is, I did not think that I needed to do that and this being my first day using the umbrella, it blew up and off, did a couple of rolls, and landed in the water. I quickly stepped in before it had a chance to drift too far away. Then I tied it on like it is supposed to be.

Since I was talking about umbrella set ups the other day. Here are some shots of umbrellas that some of the other painters had.

Peter Kalill painting the same scene.

Colin Page painting a house in the rain with his umbrella set up and his nifty landing vehicle that he uses to go plein air painting along the coast.

Eric Merrell, Peter Kalill and Colin Page under the tent

After abandoning our first location we took shelter in a tent left over from a party the night before. It was on a dock at the co op pier and had a few good views. I think there were 8 of us painting under there at one point.
The wind was whipping the rain around and I don't think it really kept any of us very dry.

I may post my painting from under the tent another day. I am still thinking about a few things.

That evening many of us had not had enough frustration, so we set up on the front porch of the house we rented and painted off into the woods. That piece is almost a complete failure, but you never know what might happen to it. I wish I had taken a photo of the scene I was painting, it would have improved my options on that one.

Jerome Greene sitting, Paul Schulenburg with the red cap, and my new EasyL Lite paint box and my EasyL umbrella.

I like this umbrella a lot. It is tall, so I can get it up and away from my face when I need to. I like the silver on the outside and black on the underside. That is a real plus in the strong Mexican sun because it helps cut down on the glare. It is the only umbrella I have ever used. So I can't really judge for sure.
Several of the other painters said they liked it better than the ones they had.
I had never used an umbrella before, but it really helped out a lot. I was always twisting my set up around trying to get the palette and painting in the same light. Now I can just set up where I want.

I added these new shots of the umbrella broken down and the clamp. The strong clamp really sets it apart from some of the other umbrellas I've seen.


Anonymous said...

I appreciate seeing photos of plein air painters out in the elements.Nice to know there are others who do it too. I've been doing acrylic studies from my own file photos, so I don't go out much any more. But last weekend I did go out and it was good to know that I still can do it.

innisart said...

Thanks for the heads up on that umbrella. I've been looking for a new one, and that one seems like a good choice!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks for checking in Karl.
I prefer sunshine, but I can handle some rain and cold once in a while.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Matthew. It is a great umbrella. I realize that I should have posted a photo of the clamp. It is real sturdy. I'll try and add a close up pic of that on Saturday if you want to check back.

Lots of good info on your blog!

Anonymous said...

That painting is SO MOODY.....
Dickens. But America......Melville.
Fabulous. Thank God for that rain to inspire this epic image you made!
And, thank God for whomever invented that umbrella and tent to make the way for you to be in the rain! I haven't even read what you wrote, usual......but it seems these other commentators were pretty impressed with your uber-umbrella set-up!
: )
as always,

Daniel Peci said...

Cool Blog,,nice to see painters fighting with the weather out there:)

Dean H. said...

Really like your rendering of the fog shroud! Battle those elements...they don't stand a chance against plein air painters!!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg. Interesting how you describe the painting with authors, I like that.
I dont know about epic, although that is in line with the Dickens/ Melville comparison :) It IS only 8" x 10".

The umbrella is good. Eric's fro the last post would have to be the Uber- umbrella.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Daniel. That was probably the worst day except for some wind and clouds.
Last time I was painting in Maine it was a lot more extreme.
Thanks for stopping by.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Dean. Fog is not something I paint very often. I liked how it muted the color and simplified shapes.

Unknown said...

I'll seek out a painting umbrella post haste. Beautiful painting! If I wasn't sitting around waiting for a baby I'd of come down and joined you guys.

Anonymous said...

I think those authors' books are only 5"x7" - or 4"x6" - and in their originals, perhaps smaller than that. HA HA so there!!! EPIC stands!
: )
: )
: )

Anonymous said...

but, yes, I'll concede the uber umbrella to Eric.
: )

Alicia PadrĂ³n said...

Oh!!!!!!!! Those colors... the mood... that atmosphere... its so perfect Frank! This image captures the moment perfectly. It feel so spontaneous too. Maybe is due to the fact that you painted it in the wet and cold, I don't know, but it is amazing.

I think you can't go back now my friend, every time it rains and people run to find shelter, you on the other hand, HAVE to go look for your easel, paint, raincoat and umbrella and head out there. It's your duty.. you owe it to the world, to your fans (specially to me ;o)). Because that talent of yours cannot go to waste, no no sir.. your art belongs in a museum for everybody to see :o)

Frank Gardner said...

Post Haste! I always liked that phrase, but don't think I have ever used it Eric. I'll have to try and fit it in somewhere.
That would have been great to see you Eric, but waiting for that baby is where you should be. Any day now, right?

Take good care of Julie. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog for any news.

Christine Mercer-Vernon said...

great post. it's very interesting getting an inside look at your trip and seeing so many pictures of everyone painting. i'm intrigued at how different everyone's setups are.

this is a fabulous painting, wonderful values and grey tones. beautiful.

Frank Gardner said...

Ha ha Solveg! That cracks me up. Good one!

Frank Gardner said...

Ay Alicia, que pena. ves mi cara roja?

Glad you think it is spontaneous. I felt as though I stepped on some of the spontaneous parts back in the studio.
Actually, I don't own a rain coat. I just get wet.
Thanks for your support!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Christine. There was a wide range of set ups, but some similarities too.
I had three different easels with me on this trip. Kind of like car camping!
I'll work up a post on the different types of set ups. I wanted to get more shots of that stuff and of the colors on everyones palettes, but I did not want to be that creepy blogger dude. Ha ha.

Frank Gardner said...

Matthew, I don't know if you are receiving follow-up comments, but I've added a few shots of the clamp at the bottom of this post.

Barbara Pask said...

I really like this painting Frank. It sure feels like a gray, wet day. I admire you for putting up with the challenges of plein air painting. I try it once in a while but the conditions have to be just right, I'm a wimp.

innisart said...

Thanks Frank for the pictures of the clamp. I wasn't getting the follow-up links, so I really appreciate the direct message from you on my blog. Thanks for the compliments, too.

I had been thinking of the Shadebuddy umbrella combo from Judsons, which is inserted into the ground (, but I'm leaning towards the one you purchased now.

Eric Merrell said...

Another umbrella I've seen available these days is the ShadeBuddy, made by Guerrilla. I've seen a few artists using them and they had good things to say.

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Barb.
The bad weather overcast light pose a good challenge.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi again Matthew. The clamp is nice and sturdy.
I checked the shadebuddy out. It looks good and the diameter is slightly larger, but there are too many rocks in the ground around here. or what if you are on a pier etc..?

Frank Gardner said...

Hey Eric, Yeah, Matthew mentioned that umbrella in the comment above. I checked it out. The sticking it in the ground around here would be hit and miss. Real hard sometimes.
Also, the clamp and hardware on the EasyL one looks a LOT more substantial.
If I were to get one that sticks in the ground, I would go with the one you have.
I have also seen some on Gurney Journey blog that are free standing. I think he calls them C stands or something. They look pretty good.

Anonymous said...

i am trying SO HARD to come up with something Dickenesque to say about clamps...........

Anonymous said...

and......did your one-year blog anniversary go by unnoticed last month?
um....I think it's been a success......
: )

FCP said...

I also purchased the art essentials umbrella, and it flew up and away when I was at Macpherson's pond. Luckily, Peggy Chang from art essentials was in the workshop with me and was super gracious in helping to secure the cord as you described (I had not read the directions!). Once secure, as you noted, there is no more danger of gusty winds toppling the set-up.
Thanks so much for posting photos of the trip. It is so much fun to see the paintings, artists and location. What an incredible challenge the weather imposed, but the painting turned beautifully. I love the mood of the gray day, proof once again, that you can paint anything well, and keep your wonderful sense of humor all the while, Frank!
thanks for sharing,

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Not enough frustration...heheh.
I painted in the freezing Monhegan rain and came to my senses and went home (to Barbara Hitchcock's cool litte apartment) and painted a still life ;)
Intrepid, you are!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Solveg, No, my first post was Oct. 30, 2007,

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Faye. Ha ha, At least you have an excuse. I read the directions and ignored them. It is really a good idea to have it blow off before it blows OVER the set up.


Frank Gardner said...

Hi Mary, it does not take much up there to turn rain to freezing rain.
I think that no one wanted to be the first to give up.
Like I said, you don't go all that way to not paint.

Anonymous said...

Painting in the that's dedication to your art. I just love the atmosphere in this piece....just wonderful!

Anonymous said...

dickenSesque......oops.......still haven't thought of anything dickensesque or even melvillesque to say about clamps..............sigh.....

: )

Paula Villanova said...

I love gutsy plein air stories like this one and the effect you achieved was definitely successful and worth it. I'm trying to figure out a way to paint safely outdoors in the snow this winter; not sure if it will happen yet but we'll see. Your painting completely captures the essence of a lovely but inclement day!

Frank Gardner said...

Thanks Alexandre!

Hi Paula, thanks. Stay warm and stand on a scrap of old carpet to insulate your feet.

Marian Fortunati said...

I love the moody atmosphere in your rainy painting.
When the elements aren't pleasant, I find it really really hard to keep painting, so I admire your persistence!! It worked!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Marian, I guess the true test would be if I were to go out in the rain here at home.
I traveled a long way and was with a bunch of other artists. That helps to keep you out there.
Thanks for checking in.

Anonymous said...

Nice painting.

I have the same umbrella. My only complaint is the ball joint is very rough vs for example the ball joint on my tripod.

I also had the top part blow away when I didn't fasten down the tie string good enough. As I was chasing down the umbrella, my easel blew over. Great day.

Paula Villanova said...

Thanks Frank for the suggestion of standing on a scrap of carpet when painting snow scenes...great idea!

Frank Gardner said...

Hi onpainting. I did not notice that about the ball. My guess is that rough would make it more likely to grab well and not move.

Good story. You always have good stories.

Frank Gardner said...

Best of luck with the painting in the snow Paula.
Tip two: try and stay close to your car.

Bill Sharp said...

I love this painting, Frank. And it's always fun to hear the story behind it.

I can feel the rain on my face as I look at this one.

Frank Gardner said...

Hi Bill, I appreciate your comment. Thanks.

Joan Breckwoldt said...

I could use a vehicle like that to carry all my stuff out to location too! :) funny post, you made me laugh out loud.