Thursday, June 27, 2019

"Two Gander Afternoon", 12x16, oil, plein air, two gander farm, Downingtown Pa., land art events, Farm to Table plein Air, Brandywine Conservancy

"Hazy Afternoon- Two Gander Farm", 12x16, oil

Two Gander Farm is an organic farm in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, and one of the Brandywine Conservancy properties on which the Farm to Table plein air painters are allowed to paint.

When I got there the skies were overcast and threatening rain, but as soon as I set up the sun came out briefly, and the landscape changed, revealing beautiful warm light on the tops of the pink rhododendrons and a nice roof shadow from the huge tree next to the farmhouse.

The farmhouse itself was in shadow this time of day, except for the roof, and as the sun started going in and out, I found myself struggling to get the correct value on the white farmhouse. I knew there was a lot of reflected light on it, making it appear warmer than it actually was, but since reflected light is still in the shadow family, I continued to struggle to get the value correct.

After about an hour of painting, the sun was gone and I realized that it was not coming back. Should I scrape out the lit roof with the tree shadow and make it an overcast day, which it truly now was? These are the dilemmas that face plein air painters all the time!

Suddenly I remembered what had attracted me to the scene to begin with. It was those few pink flowers in light that had caught my attention and so I knew I had to continue with the scene that I had started.

I don't think I pulled off the correct value on the white farmhouse, but overall I was happy with the painting anyway.

This painting will be available at the Farm to Table plein Air exhibit in October. For more information about the event, please visit my website here.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

"Dappled Morning"-12x16, oil, Brandywine Conservancy, Farm to Table Plein Air, Land Art Events, Chadds Ford, Pa., plein Air. MAryanne Jacobsen art, red barn, Chester County Pennsylvania paintings, impressionism, dappled light

"Dappled Morning"-12x16, oil

I have been attempting to document on this blog the paintings from my recent trip to Pennsylvania, in which I am painting as a juried artist in the Farm to Table Plein Air event, which will culminate October 26th at Rose Hill Farm with a palette to palate extravaganza open to the public. The event will benefit the Brandywine Conservancy, and tickets to the event will be available in September.

The above painting was painted on the first morning at Fenton Farm in Chadds Ford. I had blogged previously about how much I enjoyed painting at this gorgeous property. This first morning I felt like I was in heaven. Birds were chirping all around me, roosters were crowing and a gentle waterfall was cascading over the stone wall at the entrance to the property.  The weather was as perfect as an artist could want,  and our hostess, Mrs. Fenton, is an absolutely lovely woman, who went out of her way to be helpful and make all the artists feel at home.

The painting in progress........

There was dappled light everywhere , and the challenge for me was to make notes on my drawing so I would remember which areas were in light and which were in shadow as the light changed. There was a lot going on in this scene, and I had to keep editing and deciding what to leave in, and what to leave out.

I was almost at the point of calling the painting done, when the tree above me suddenly decided to rain down a pollen deluge! Within minutes, my painting was covered with little greens specks!

Not sure if I got them all out or not, but whatever remains will add some character to the work, I'm sure!

To learn more about Farm to Table Plein Air, Land Art Events, and the Brandywine Conservancy, please follow this link to my website.

Monday, June 24, 2019

"Spring Greens", 12x16, oil on panel, land art events, Brandywine Conservancy, Chester County barns, Pennsylvania landscapes, plein air, Maryanne Jacobsen art, Farm to Table plein air

"Spring Greens", 12x16, oil on panel

Here is another painting that I did during my recent trip to Pennsylvania, as I painted as a juried artist in the Farm to Table Plein Air event.

This was a lovely property on the outskirts of West Chester that had numerous out buildings, a Springhouse, barn and gorgeous historical home. The morning was incredibly bright and sunny but just as incredibly windy. I chose to paint the barn because I liked the overlapping tree shape against the roofline and the light and shadow patterns.

But I found that it was all I could do to hold onto my easel, and it managed to blow over twice before I finally realized that I had to hold it with one hand and paint with my other hand. My brush washer holding my solvent took off as a flying projectile at one point, and the grass and my apron were instantly sprayed with solvent. I also lost the S-clip that held my brush washer to my easel and that annoyed me greatly since I knew I'd have to paint the rest of the trip with the solvent holder on the ground. Only a big deal if you have a bad back, which I do.

The lady painting behind me (a pastel painter)  had brought a brick, and she used that to weight down her easel. I didn't have a brick, and so I painted the entire time with the disadvantage of having no more solvent and having to hold onto my easel for dear life.

The painting progressed anyway, but I knew I'd have to make some corrections to the perspective in the end, because I couldn't adequately measure and paint with only one hand free.

With all that green, I knew some vivid color was needed, and since there was evidence that some marigolds and day lillies had been planted around the barn and fence, I took the liberty to embellish their growth in the painting.

I have to admit that that was the fun part of this painting- putting some flowers in at the end. In addition to losing  my solvent and S-clip, I ended up with poison ivy on my arms as a result of scouring around afterwards and trying to find the little clip! (Which I never did find.)

This is one of the paintings that will be included in the Farm to Table Plein Air culminating event on October 26th. For more information please check it out on my website!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

"Hayes Clark Bridge at The Laurels Preserve", 12x16, oil on panel, The Laurels Preserve, Brandywine Conservancy, Plein Air adventures, Farm to Table Plein air, The Farm at Doe Run, Chester County paintings, covered bridges of Chester County Pennsylvania, Hayes Clark Covered bridge, conservation

"Hayes Clark Bridge at The Laurels Preserve", 12x16, oil on panel

The Laurels is a preserve that is part of the Brandywine Conservancy in Chester County, Pa. According to the Conservancy's website "Native Americans once fished the streams that are now called Buck and Doe runs. Millworkers harnessed the water for gristmills and a steel rolling mill during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. For decades in the 20th century, the King Ranch grazed cattle in lush pastures adjacent to the streams."

This painting was an effort on so many levels, but that's how it sometimes goes with plein air painting. As a participating artist in the Farm to Table plein air event, The Laurels is one of the locations that we are permitted to paint at. Although a Chester County resident for many years, I was not really very familiar with the West Marlborough area of Chester County where the Laurels are located, but I headed out that way anyway with a map in hand, thinking, "How hard can it be to find this place?"

That was an understatement. The map from the Brandywine Conservancy was Greek to me, as I was totally unfamiliar with how to get to the roads named on the map. My navigation system on my phone was just as confused as I was, and the Google map on the Land/Art Events site did nothing to help me, either! Although I had started out in  mid-afternoon, I knew that the Preserve was open till dusk so I thought it would be a piece of cake to fit in a painting on such a sunny afternoon, no matter how long it took to get there. 

But getting totally lost was not part of the agenda, and as I grew more and more frustrated with the directions, I suddenly realized that  I was almost out of gas! My car usually warns me with a signal, but I was driving a rental that I was unfamiliar with. By now I had driven up and down Doe Run Rd. a couple dozen times looking for Apple Grove Rd. and yet I had not noticed a gas station for miles and suddenly I was filled with panic.

I suddenly remembered that my cousin, entrepreneur Dick (Richard) Hayne, had a farm out here somewhere called The Farm at Doe Run, where they make award-winning cheeses. Was he anywhere nearby, I wondered? I reasoned that he must be since I was on Doe Run Road! If I was able to find his farm, would he happen to have a gallon of gas available? I suspected that people living in such rural areas must have gas cans around!  I hadn't seen Dick in many years since my sister's wedding and as I drove past acres of gorgeous , verdant fields looking for what might possibly be a cheese farm I suddenly saw it- a Landhope Farms gas station! Hallelujah! 

It took a while to figure out how to operate the gas tank, but once I had gas in the car and had relaxed a bit, I was once again determined to find the Laurels, so I went along Doe Run Rd. looking for any sign or marker that might help me out.

Finally I saw the sign for Apple Grove Rd. and just beyond it was an almost obscure sign on a fence post that announced the Preserve. Jeez Louise they must not want people to come here, I thought!

Driving up the road a bit, I eventually found an empty parking lot, dragged my stuff out of the car and headed for the latched gate. Ominous looking clouds were gathering in the sky by now, and I kept hoping they would disappear. I headed up a gravelly dirt road wheeling my art stuff in a suitcase and hoping I'd find a place to paint that inspired me.

But there was nothing- no inspiration and no sign of people or even wildlife. I made an enormous effort to keep moving although the suitcase was not cooperating. I was walking along what was either Buck Run or Doe Run Stream or possibly the Brandywine, but the water, trees and all that green just seemed too overwhelming to paint after the stress of the past couple hours.

I suddenly remembered that another artist had painted a beautiful red, covered bridge here and I was determined to find it! According to my conservancy map, there were two covered bridges in the Preserve and they certainly looked like they couldn't be that far away from the parking lot! 

But boy was I wrong. After what seemed like an eternity, I finally came to the first bridge, which wasn't red at all, but a drab ugly grey, plus the skies had clouded over and there was no sign of any sunshine. At this point I had no desire to keep looking for the pretty red bridge! The scene before me was straightforward,  and a decent composition , and since I had painted covered bridges before, I knew this was my best bet at snagging a quick painting at this site.

By now it was late afternoon, and I set up quickly and laid in my darks which covered most of the canvas. Then out of the blue, the sun broke through and the scene looked totally different. The bridge was nestled into a dark little space fringed with leaves from the neighboring trees lit by sunlight, and the path through the open field broke into light just past the bench and fenceposts. I quickly adjusted the color notes in the foreground field and path, and worked on the focal point, which was the light on the tree leaves against against the dark bridge opening. Suddenly the painting started to come to life!

But then the sun was gone again and I began to hear thunder in the distance. I knew I had enough information to finish it now, and so I quickly packed up and headed back down the gravelly road, hoping the trip to the car would somehow feel shorter than the incoming trip had been!

I no sooner got to the car then rain started pelting the windshield! 

Wow.  What an afternoon! Just another plein air adventure to add to many others, I thought. Happily, this one ended well!

To learn more about the Farm to Table Plein air event which will culminate in an art show and sumptuous  locally grown food event, please visit my website here. Tickets to the event will be available in September. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

"Jenny's Peonies", 12x16, oil on panel, peonies, Brandywine Conservancy, Farm to Table Plein Air, Brandywine valley, Chadds ford, Pennsylvania, land art events, chester county , plein air painters

"Jenny's Peonies", 12x16, oil on panel

I recently returned from a trip to Pennsylvania's beautiful Chester County area, where I painted beautiful fields, streams and local farms that are part of the Brandywine Conservancy.  The Brandywine Conservancy protects and conserves the land, water, natural and cultural resources of the Brandywine-Christina watershed. As someone who spent the majority of her years in this beautiful area, I'm so happy to be able to be participating in a plein air event that benefits the conservation of these valuable resources!

Of the many places that I got to paint on this trip, I do feel that the Fenton Farm in Chadds Ford was possibly my favorite, maybe as a result of charming Jenny, the owner and gracious hostess who made us artists feel enormously welcome as we painted on her grounds while she tended to her beautiful gardens, goats and other animals and birds. (even a peacock!)

Also exciting for me, were the peonies in bloom in the garden in the front of the main house. Peonies are a favorite flower of mine, and since you can't grow them in Florida, and they have such a short life span, I felt incredibly lucky to snag a spot to paint while they were still blooming.

The painting in progress....

This painting will be included in the Farm to Table Plein Air event in October, featuring an art show and locally grown food- a true palette to palate extravaganza! More info about tickets to the event at my website under "upcoming events".