08 October 2011

San Luis Obispo Plein Air 2011

This year I was lucky to be juried again into San Luis Obispo Plein Air. It was my third event of the year after Telluride, Co and Sonoma,Ca. So I was a bit weary. Never mind that some people think nothing of doing 8 to 9 events a year. That's like a full time job, honestly. But fortunately, my hosts this years were out-of-this-world accommodating and gracious. My own room, with studio and workshop, can I just stay forever? Alas. No. But because I've done this event quite a few times, I felt very  comfortable with the area as well. I know where the ATM's and gas stations and tire shops and coffee shops are. Heaven.

"The Long Shadow" 11"x14

As a personal challenge and in order to not stress myself out too much: ALL my work was done in same route.  10 paintings total. From San Luis through  Los Osos Parkway to MontaƱa de Oro and Morro Bay. No running around like a mad man. The weather was amazing with plenty of clouds and some rain so everything was a study in shifting light and fresh cloud upheaval. 

"Passing clouds" 14"x11"

I never planned anything. Not even the Quick Draw day when you have to chose a spot and paint for a determined amount of time in a determined location. I just let things catch my eye. And so they did in abundance. I could paint here fro a year and never tire.  One weapon I have become accustomed to: I brought with me my Isaak Levitan book for inspiration . I would browse it in the morning and the lyrical mood of his landscapes would get my engines revved up. I think it is obvious that it had some influence. Not may buildings or people, just landscapes as lyrical as I could make them.  I think this bringing a book or clipping book with you is such an essential tool when you are ready to go painting. Just looking at what you admire sets your eyes into extra-preceptive mode. 

"Seagull Sunset" 9"x12"

In any case, I am happy that I am actually pleased with most of my work. Sales were dismal, ah, the economy, the economy. Plus I wonder how many more walls are left without paintings in a smallish area like San Luis. May be we have saturated the whole thing with our doodles? Many unhappy painters. 

"Morro Lagoon. Sunset" 8"x10"
I am not sure myself if I want to put myself through the ring again but I just enjoy it so much purely from the painting and company aspect of it. I am not sure if these events are going to be around for long supplying America with millions of square feet of painted canvas. All I know is that I will keep doing it as long as it is feasible.

"Morro Harbor" 12"x16"
Quick Draw "Gradma takes control" 12"x9"


Marian Fortunati said...

Hi Jose.. I'm sorry the event wasn't more successful.
Your paintings were all wonderful!!!

Judy P. said...

These paintings are so great to look at, the skill and soulful quality really shows, even in these digital images.
'Millions of square feet of painted canvas'. I've only been painting a couple of years, and work hard to improve. But sometimes I think that way too- so much canvas out there already, why should I bother with mine? Art sure is tough, proof being that your work does not get the attention it deserves.

Jose L De Juan said...

Judy, Manet exclaimed after seeing Velazquez's art in the Prado "Why do we paint at all?" I think the answer is because we can't help it. Manet kept painting vigorously needless to say and Velazquez be damned. Of course there are those canvases that rise above the "millions of square feet" and become part of our culture, they are meant to be rare and unique, sometimes circumstances lift them up, sometimes the rise above by themselves. Not everybody recognizes their merit at once. Not every good painter becomes known. I am not so worried about recognition even thought it would be nice to have enough to make a living from art. Pisarro's paintings were used as aprons in the Franco-Prussian war, nobody has done that to mine yet :).
Does it matter? I think it doesn't matter at all. My friend Alex Schaefer summed it up very well recently: " I'm done painting for the future, the future can take care of itself, I am painting for right now." Months later he was selling one of his paintings for 25K. You never know and that's the adventure.