Friday, September 26, 2008

My 5th October at Ghost Ranch, NM

I'm preparing for my next trip to paint on location out West. I'll be joining other members of the High Desert Painters for an 11 day painting trip to Ghost Ranch, NM and then Taos, NM. This will be my fifth October in a row at Ghost Ranch, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have found and experienced this place. Staying there is a painting retreat but it's even more a spiritual retreat. Something about the place feeds my soul. No tv, no cell phone service, no shopping, modest housing, simple meals at the cafeteria, a variety of skies and weather, the company of like-minded individuals, a chance to focus on a passion, getting out of your routine and comfort zone both physically and mentally - all these things combine to make it an amazing experience. And I can see the horizon all the time! Living in North Carolina with the dense forest all around me makes me feel claustrophobic at times. We have green trees everywhere. I used to love the privacy that the woods gave us but now I'm longing for open land and big skies.

Now that airlines are charging more for extra luggage and are checking the weight limit of bags carefully, I've begun travelling even lighter when I travel to paint. I've cut back on my painting gear and supplies and I've also cut back on the clothes I pack. In my next post I'll talk more about that. I'm also researching painting locations so that will be a good topic to share as well.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Along Boylan Avenue

Along Boyland Avenue 16x20 oil
This painting is from an April 2008 plein air event and Gallery Show that I participated in called Local Color Paint Out. This coming Saturday Sept 27 '08 there is another paint out event here in Cary, NC called Cary Gallery of Artists Paint Out. I'll be out there painting somewhere in our Cary downtown area! Look for me!

Monday, September 15, 2008

My Studio

I'm in the process of re-arranging my studio so I took a few photos to help me in the planning process. Consider this the "before" picture. This area will be devoted to painting -- with my paints and supplies stored in the shelves on the right. An electrician will be wiring this room and adding lots of daylight fluorescent lighting.
There's more area in the unfinished basement that I will use for canvas storage, etc. Next to the hallway above there's a large room that will be used for framing, more storage, and shipment staging.
Next to the unfinished area of the basement is this nice -- currently messy -- room with lots of north daylight and a killer view to our wooded back yard. I'm redoing this room and moving these art supplies to the unfinished area. Then I'll paint the room, add track lighting and bookshelves, and turn this room into a cozy library, office, and gallery.
Here's an exterior door off the patio leading to the finished area of the basement shown above. There's a second door to the right that goes into the unfinished area. Can't you just see the sign "Van Wyk Studio" on the door?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Verdant Fields

Verdant Fields 11x14 oil
A small farm nestled against the hills on the edge of verdant fields. I painted at Ann's studio while in Ruidoso, NM during a much needed rain storm that made music on the studio roof. The general composition was inspired by a photograph but the colors are the invention of my imagination.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Rio Hondo, New Mexico

Rio Hondo 24x30 oil

As the day ends and the sun's rays are low in the sky, the cliffs and shadows along the Rio Hondo show magical colors, when you quiet your mind and look for them. This is the Rio Hondo near its juncture with the Rio Grande in northern New Mexico.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Hellroaring Creek, Yellowstone

HellRoaring Creek, Yellowstone 11x14 oil
During our family's visit to Yellowstone NP last summer, we hiked in the northern section and climbed down a steep passage into the Hellroaring Creek area. I snapped a photo looking down and painted this piece from that photograph.

This work will be entered into the "Bird's Eye View" themed show at the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC. I look forward to seeing how other artists interpreted this theme.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

First Place award

North Harrison Ave, Cary, NC 30x40 oil

I am pleased to share that "North Harrison Ave., Cary, N.C." won first place at the "New Beginnings" show in Raleigh, NC held at Crossroads Campus, Grace Christian School. This typical Carolina farmhouse is the lone remaining sign of the agricultural tradition in my area. It stills stands near our neighborhood, noticeably out-of-place on a new, busy 5 lane suburban road - a road that was a quiet country lane only a few short years ago. I painted this in early spring before the towering oak trees sprung their leaves.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

North of Taos, NM

North of Taos 8x10 oil on panel

I get out my work and have a show for myself before I have it publicly. I make up my own mind about it–how good or bad or indifferent it is. After that the critics can write what they please. I have already settled it for myself so flattery and criticism go down the same drain and I am quite free.
- Georgia O'Keeffe