Last February, I participated in the Maui Plein Air Invitational. There were three Quick Draw events. One was at the Lahaina Harbor, another at Canoe Beach --and the last one at the Montage Resort at sunset. The light was so beautiful.
Many of the artists were set up to paint the beautiful Hawaiian model. They caught my eye as an exciting design to try to capture. The artists and their easels were silhouetted against a dark hedge in late afternoon light. But it was so complicated it intimidated me.
I only had a short time since it was a quick draw. So I walked up and down the beach three times looking for another stunning view that captured my attention that was not so complicated. I went back and looked at this artist group one last time and decided. Just go do it! This is a timed quick draw so I wasted a good 45 minutes talking myself into this painting. All the artists were set up painting the model with lots of collectors watching with anticipation..
I began by deciding my design strategy and massing in the shapes of the artists to make sure I could fit in everyone. Then I started to find all of the shapes of each person, their gear and to try to capture each artist's gesture.
I did the dark of the hedge last and went around each subject and each artist's easel, carving out the negative shapes. I handled the trees in a very loose manner and made sure that the dark values of the trees were softened so they didn't compete with my subject.
All the while, the clock was ticking, people were coming up to me, watching, visiting taking photos and chatting. It was a huge challenge.
In the end, I was tickled, and so relieved that it turned out.
We had to get these paintings in a frame and deliver them to the exhibition right away. The collectors were lined up out front to purchase. When they opened the doors "Frantic Creativity" was the one of the first to go.
I was exhausted, elated and looking for a glass of vino. With strategy and sheer determination I had survived. YES!