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May 23, 2013

Here, There, In, Out, Away, Home, and the 2013 Carmel Art Festival...

Sometimes what we do as traveling painters boggles my mind. We come together from what is often already a beautiful location in the world, we shake hands, hug, then paint like madmen for a few days before scattering apart like particles from smashed atoms. Only a few days ago I was down in Carmel, California with my fellow painter Anton Pavlenko, in one of the most stunning areas on the West Coast (if not the world) intensely painting with some old friends and making new ones, competing for cash awards and sales, joking, having fun, and eating and drinking together after dark in hidden pubs and eateries. Then getting up in the wee hours of morning and doing it all over again the next day. And finally, frantically polishing up the work and framing it in the back of the Jeep before hanging it on a peg board wall for the moneyed set to collect. Intensity and focus poured into a mere sixteen hours of light.

Then, boom, it is over and we run back to our respective worlds and leave it all behind. Anton and I rocket up I-5 back to Portland, Oregon, out from under the sparkling sun and back into the gray and green. Roos Schuring flies off to Holland and re-emerges on Facebook to send everyone love and kisses and that she is now busy cooking dinner for her two young children. Marc Dalessio and his lovely wife Tina pop back to his new hometown of Zagrev and start answering emails. Carol, Al, and Sergio stay for another day or two to push more paint around but make it back to Petaluma and Santa Rosa, California before I walk in my door. Artists like us are the new peripatetic itinerants. Traveling artist who are quasi-homeless, being hosted in one part of the world before heading off to another, and for the most part we are content to be so. (right: A painting of me painting my ribbon winner at Cypress Point, by Roos Schuring)

It really does boggle my mind. Our predecessors couldn't do this. It would require weeks, if not months, for Church, Bierdstadt, Hill, or Moran to crate their gear up and get to a painting location. It would take days for Constable to load up his rented coach and ride it out of London – as it did for Monet and his crew to head off to southern France. Now everyplace is just a plane flight away. (Okay, in some cases, a plane flight, a ferry, plus some arduous overland traveling, but who can quibble with the point?) Hans Versfeld, Roos' traveling companion and fellow Dutch painter made it home before Anton and I did and he had a 15 hours flight.

Then last night, my wife and I invited some friends over who wanted to hear about my  trip. And view the remainders I brought home. They were the same friends who joined me on my recent trip to Spain and Morocco just to hang out while I painted. And as we were sipping a nice Bordeaux by the fire – yes, I lit a fire because it's been 40 degrees F and pouring rain since I came home! – I casually mentioned I had just signed and faxed off a contract to teach in Tuscany next May. And suddenly, there we all were, leaning in over an atlas on the coffee table, planning another trip. This time to Croatia. Launched from Italy.

Just like that. As if thousands and thousands and thousands of miles mean nothing. 

What a world. So much to paint, so little time...


Here is this year's work from the Carmel Art Festival – I hope you enjoy it:

"Ghosts in the Evening" 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, CA
(A companion piece to "Ghosts in the Morning")
16 x 20 | oil on mounted linen | Sold

"Living on the Edge" Cypress Point, Pt. Lobos, CA
(An Honorable Mention Ribbon Winner)
20 x 24 | oil on mounted linen | Sold

"Going Down to the Beach" Carmel CA
QuickDraw Painting (iPhone snapshot)
12 x 16 | oil on mounted linen | Sold

"Emerald Waters" China Cove, Pt. Lobos, CA
(Roos set up right behind me and as I worked and she kept shouting: "More paint!")
12 x 16 | oil on mounted linen | Available

"Garrapata Winds" near Big Sur, CA
12 x 16 | oil on mounted linen | Available

"A Crack in the Pinnacle" Pt. Lobos, CA
12 x 9 | oil on mounted linen | Available

"Living in the Edge, Overcast Study" Pt. Lobos, CA
12 x 9 | oil on mounted linen | Available

"Living in the Edge, Sunlight Study" Pt. Lobos, CA
12 x 9 | oil on mounted linen | Available

"Ghosts in the Evening Study" 17 MIle Drive, Carmel CA
12 x 9 | oil on mounted linen
(No photo available; traded to Marc Dalessio)

12 reader comments:

Kirk said...

a nice concise observation about the traveling and journeying sans the emotional roller coaster we process inside. There's "away" and suddenly there's "home" and the rapid shifting back and forth can create a whirlwind effect inside which we rarely have a chance to process. I've just returned from Texas, edited and gave a speech about painting travels and am unpacking to repack to leave for Bonaire.The house and studio are topsy-turvey.... As you said this would have represented Months for our predecessors followed by months in the studio. Thomas I really like "Garrapata Winds" near Big Sur, CA. Its got a type of range of color I do not recall seeing on your palette (likely the scene itself) It had a power and weight, a bounding sense of the land mass as if you captures the millions of tons of earth and billions of gallons of water that lays siege to it daily. Nice work see you in Easton or sooner-Kirk

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Thank you Kirk. Have a great time in Bonaire. Will you be stopping in Curacao as well? I look forward to seeing you in Easton. You'll have to tell me all about it. And I look forward to your appearance on Jimmie Fallon tonight.

eric bowman said...

Love the glow on the left edge of "Ghosts in the Evening" -- congrats on the HM award!

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Thanks Eric. Will call after returning from Central Oregon. Off to do some local painting over the weekend. Have a good one with the family yourself.

David Westerfield said...

Nice work Thomas. Hope to see you at another event sometime. Or if you are ever planning that artists retreat somewhere, let me know.

Arty Quin said...

Stunning work and great story Thomas! We are indeed blessed to be able to live such lives.

Brenda Boylan said...

You express the craziness of these painting events so concisely. (You should write a book, Ha Ha!) They sure a lot of fun and bring out the best in us.
"Ghosts in the Evening" is a beautiful piece Thomas, love the warm light coming through and the twisty trunks. Loads of movement, much to admire.

Richard Robinson said...

Great work Thomas! Wish I was there with all y'all.

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Absolutely, Richard, It would be great to paint with you! Carmel, California is only another 2400 miles past Hawaii so next time put more gas in the jet. (grin)

Celeste Bergin said...

man alive...these paintings are awesome! Love every single one of them!

denise said...

Any pieces Oregon Coast?

Thomas Jefferson Kitts said...

Yes, Denise. Check out my Facebook page for last week. I did two watercolors near Cannon Beach...