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February 20, 2012

Away from the Daily Grind - Part 2

(Here is Part 1 of this series)

In January I put five videos of artists painting outdoors ("away from the daily grind") into one post. In today's post there are six videos. There will be more posts with more videos coming up.

There's a seemingly endless supply of videos of artists working outdoors, and I have hunted down and watched several dozens of them, looking for the ones that I like best for one or more reasons. Some are done as trailers for DVDs that are for sale -- That's okay with me, as long as they are interesting and show one person painting or drawing alone. Many show a group of "plein air" painters out together, usually with a teacher, and I leave those out (I believe there might be one or two exceptions to this, but no more, among all the videos that I will eventually show on these posts). I'm sure that painting in a group is a useful and enjoyable experience for those artists, but I'm most interested in one person (sometimes with a companion who holds the camera, but most often taking care of the camera themselves) trudging by themselves to some place that intrigues them enough to make them go to all the trouble.

It doesn't matter to me that these individuals often produce very "unprofessional" camerawork, or that they don't come across as experienced speakers (sometimes laughably not. :-). Those things aren't important. What's important is that they're out there away from their ordinary living conditions (and sometimes they are in very uncomfortable or even dangerous conditions), working on their own to wrestle a drawing or painting out of something they're experiencing at that moment, using the equipment that they have chosen themselves, and that they can carry under the circumstances.

Okay, here are six videos, showing artists outdoors at the Grand Canyon in Arizona, in Sicily (Italy), in South Africa, at a beach in California, in the Peak District (U.K.), and in Hong Kong. I hope you enjoy going outside with them.


This one is not for people who are afraid of heights

4 minutes, 5 seconds

Hiking along a narrow trail at the edge(falling away at both sides) of the Grand Canyon to get to the place she thinks will be perfect for capturing the mules coming up the trail, she says near the beginning: "My main goal is not falling, and keeping this pack on...It's a little heavy." Even before that my heart skipped a beat when I saw her view of the edge of the canyon (as I am afraid of being in high places...even just a few feet off the ground). She was not only carrying her easel and other supplies on her back, but at the same time carrying (and aiming) the camera. This video definitely takes my mind off my own problems, but the truth is that it scares me half to death (which is a new problem). I wouldn't do this much for my art as I don't want to die, especially in such a horrible way as falling off the edge of a cliff. (One has to be alive in order to draw and paint, right?) This is definitely making art "away from the daily grind," but it makes the daily grind seem to me - at least while watching this - not so bad after all!


SKETCHING TAORMINA, SICILY - Artist: Rob Carey (Jan. 5, 2012)
3 minutes, 7 seconds

This artist knows right away after looking at all that is there in front of him what will make an interesting, charming composition, and he goes right to work, sticks with it, and finishes it up while he has the opportunity.


3 minutes, 22 seconds

This artist lives in a little village near the location where he's painting (at the ocean's edge), having moved there "because it wasn't on the map." So he had already escaped "the daily grind" to some degree even before trekking out to his painting sites. I see he has a very small canvas, no doubt not only because it doesn't take nearly as long to apply the paint (light changes fast as clouds move about in fast-changing weather conditions and only the essence of the scene can be captured when time is limited) but also because a small picture can be easily made secure in the wind.


1 minute, 42 seconds

This artist was at an artist's "paint out" in San Luis Obispo, when a storm started moving in, apparently putting an end to the "paint out," so she took the opportunity to paint at a nearby beach. Although the incoming storm brought strong winds, she was able to wedge her easel into some rocks to keep it secure. Realizing the clouds were changing fast, she painted those first.



3 minutes, 34 seconds

While Timothy Haglund's wife was stationed near the Peak District National Park (U.K.) for seven months as a visiting professor, Haglund painted in the Park three or four times a week no matter what the weather (freezing temperatures, high winds, frost on the ground, etc.), taking about three hours to do a painting.


PAINTING A FISH FARM BRIDGE by Hongkong Artist Kwong Ko Wah
3 minutes, 31 seconds

And now for something that seems completely different than what you see in the first five videos, above....Yet, as is the case with the others, it's an artist, painting alone, from life, in his own way, a subject that, one assumes, appeals to him and that he himself has chosen.


There will be more posts with videos of individual artists working "away from the daily grind" all over the world. The last post with these videos are from the U.S. (two of them), Spain, Australia, and Thailand.