Saturday, June 28, 2008

Olathe Golf Course

I went out tonight intending to paint some clouds, but they dissipated too quickly so I settled on this lovely view of the Olathe Golf Course, near Olathe Lake (it looks like the golf course is closed). I got started a little late and was not able to finish before the sun went down. I think this view deserves another attempt.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Field Setup

Using the bicycle as a base for plein aire painting has its advantages and disadvantages:

  1. Bicycles can go where cars cannot.
  2. Gas prices are irrelevant!
  3. There is never a problem finding a place to "park".
  4. I feel more in tune with my surroundings and better able to recognize creative possibilities.
  1. I'm at the mercy of the weather (that's what raincoats are for).
  2. Limited to what can be transported (keeps things lean).
  3. Requires some physical effort (so does painting).
  4. Range is somewhat limited (less likely to waste time wondering what's around the next curve).
I'm sure my list is not exhaustive and it may be just a little bias, but hey, that's what blogs are for!

I use a pannier (saddle bag), to haul supplies and mount the pastel box on the back rack with small bungee chords (I bored small holes in the sides of the metal pastel box to accept the bungee chords). Although I bought a two-prong kickstand, I've found placing a chord around the handlebars and staking the two ends in the ground, is the most secure way to hold the bike in place. A velcro strap is placed round the front wheel and frame to stabilize the wheel (see photo). The corners of the small drawing board were rounded off so it would fit better into the pannier and not interfere with pedaling. I am sure there will be additions as time goes on. but for now, this setup seems to work.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Mabee Library, MNU

Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

A quiet Saturday morning on the MidAmerica Nazarene University campus.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

BAK 2008 Sketches

For the last 7 days I've been pedaling my way across Kansas with some 800 other bicycling enthusiasts on the "BAK" (Biking Across Kansas). We completed our journey today in Atchison, KS. We were spared from the tumultuous weather that whirled around us and for that I am thankful, but my prayers go out to those who have lost loved ones or have been left homeless. Thanks too, for those who prayed for our safety.

"South of US36"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

This was my first attempt of the trip. I set up on the crest of a hill where I could see the bikers filing past on US 36. I would join them again, soon enough.

Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

Just southeast of Atwood I spotted this scene and set up on a dirt road. When I left I notice numerous burrs sticking to my front wheel. Pulling them out, I heard the ominous "pssssss" sound. Fortunately the tire held until I got back to the school where I spent the next hour patching holes (four that night and one the next day). I learned my lesson about off-roading in western Kansas!

"Solomon River at Beloit"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

The Solomon River was running high and the barn swallows were busy collecting supper as I sketched this scene (I think that's what they were). Near the end of the drawing session a white-tail doe slipped into the woods in the bottom left corner of the picture.

"South of Smith Center"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

After an exhilarating (exhosting) climb on US 281, south of Smith Center, we were greeted with this stunning panorama.

"Granary in Norton"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

We'll I'm pretty certain this was in Norton. Maybe someone can confirm this for me. I should have kept better records. The strong shadow crossing the street was from the cylindrical grain silos off to the right.

"Stubble Field"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

I found this beautiful scene just outside Smith Center. It was a clear day and the early morning sun racked across the field revealing glorious colors. As I packed to leave a stray cow emerged from the woods at right and moseyed across the field.

"Looking East"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 5.5"x11"

The morning was somewhat misty as we headed North out of Beloit on highway 14, but by the time I started drawing, the sun had broken creating strong contrasts and colors.

"Four miles from Horton"
Pastel on Mi Tient paper, 8"x11"

Most of my sketching was well off the BAK route, but this view was only a few yards from Prairie Road, near US 73. To the two young ladies who stopped at the intersection to apply more sunscreen, a few more minutes and I could have added you to the picture. :)

BAK is an amazing undertaking of planning, organization and cooperation. It provides people like myself, the opportunity to experience Kansas in a unique way and share in the experiences of others along the way. I have been inspired and enriched by the people I've met.

Among my goals for BAK was a personal challenge to produce at least one sketch per day. The Kansas landscape provided plenty of inspiration. If you were a BAK participant you may recognize some of the scenes.