Thursday, July 12, 2012

The First Blush of Spring in New Harmony, IN

"Peony Garden", New Harmony, IN  9" x 12" plein air oil on canvas panel

I see that I've been very negligent about sending blogs this spring with new paintings, so I'll try to catch up with all the new paintings by sending several blogs in a row.  The first plein air painting event in Indiana each year is the April paint-out in New Harmony, the historic village at the tip of the boot of Indiana near the Wabash and the Ohio River.  As I've said in other years, it was where the Utopian, Rappite community founded the first kindergarten and public library.  It then was purchased by the Owen family who were intellectuals, explorers, and geologists who consequently founded the National Geological Survey there.  Carl Bodmer was the fabulous artist who documented the flora and fauna with Maximilian as they explored westward from New Harmony.  Quite an impressive legacy for a tiny village.  With the wonderful philanthropy of Jane Owen, who just died at about 97 years, the village has been restored.  If you should be traveling through Kentucky or Indiana, it's certainly worth a side trip.

"Peony Garden" was painted at the edge of town in a commercial peony garden.  The peonies are picked by hand just as they're about to bloom and then shipped by air, overnight Federal Express, to customers all over the United States and further.  Most of the painters didn't know there is a peony garden because normally they don't flower in April.  This has been such a warm year that all plantings were a month a head.

Each year at this Indiana Plein Air Painters event, there is a "Field to Finish" competition.  During the paint-out, artists paint a field study not larger than 9" x 12".  Then during the year, they paint a finished painting that can be up to 18" x 24".  This was the first year that I entered that competition, and I was happy to be one of the winners, with my paintings being the judges favorites.  Here they are:

"New Harmony Creek plein air field study", 9" x 12" April 2011, oil on canvas panel

"New Harmony Creek" 18" x 24", oil on linen canvas, July 2011

This creek feeds into a large pond with a small waterfall.  This is the field study that I painted this April for the competition next year.   Later this month, I hope to complete the finished painting which will be either 16" x 20" or 18" x 24", haven't decided yet.
"Falling Water in New Harmony Pond"   9" x 12" plein air field study, April 2012

Over one hundred painters painted together this year from all over the Midwest and beyond.  It's quite a fun event.  If anyone reading this would like information about the Indiana Plein Air Painters or would like to consider attending the "First Blush of Spring" next April, please contact me or IPAPA.

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