Tag Archives: Soda City

6 Tips to Improve Your Plein Air Painting Experience

Popcorn's Ready 5.5 x 17 inches Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor boo ©2017 Lucinda Howe Not for Sale

Popcorn’s Ready
5.5 x 17 inches
Watercolor on Strathmore Watercolor book
©2017 Lucinda Howe
Not for Sale

If you haven’t painted outdoors (“en plein air”), you might be hesitant to meet up with a group of painters and get started. I encourage you to join in the fun.

On Saturday morning, I joined the About Face group at Soda City market in Columbia, South Carolina. I was running late, so I had only an hour to work before critique and lunch. The market was busy, so I knew I couldn’t capture a lot of detail. I decided to work small in a watercolor book. I sat on the low wall at Boyd Plaza near the Kettle Corn tent. The man rang the bell every time the popcorn was ready. Although you see only the painting, I remember the ringing of the bell, the smell of the popcorn, and the movement of the people, dogs, and strollers. For me, the best part of painting in a busy environment like Soda City is the memories of the sensations I experienced while painting.

If you would like to try outdoor painting, here are 6 tips to get you started….

  • Supplies- Pack your kit with easel, paints, supports, brushes, tools, bug spray and sunscreen. When I started plein air painting, I would go out in my back yard and paint, and I always forgot something.   I’d go back into the house to get the paper towels, then I’d go back for the bug spray, then the kneaded eraser, until I finally had everything I needed. Then I made a checklist to be sure I had the essentials when I ventured out with a group.
  • Scouting – When you arrive at the site, scout around. Look at the angle of the sun, take photos, think about composition before you select your spot.
  • Shade – It’s important to be in the shade for the sake of your skin. Also, your canvas should be in the shade or the painting will be too dark when you take it inside.
  • Small Supports – Sketchbooks, small panels and canvases require minimal paint and can be completed in a couple of hours. It’s more satisfying to complete most of the piece on site than to just get started before time to quit. Painting small also forces you to narrow your focus and simplify your composition. Save the large canvases until you have more experience.
  • Senses – Outdoor painting is not just about what you see. Observe the smells, tastes, sounds, and feelings that surround you as you paint.
  • Sharing – Be sure to share your drawing or painting with others. You’ll learn from group critique, but you will also be able to share your unique view of the experience with others. I’m always amazed at how all the artists have different perspectives on similar subject matter. Isn’t that what visual communication is all about?

As we move into spring, there will be more opportunities to paint with plein air groups and to pack your art supplies for vacation travels. If you would like more information about painting with a group around Columbia, SC, contact me. If you don’t paint here, paint somewhere!

Posted in Plein Air Also tagged |

Wine at Soda City

Wine at Soda City 12x12"  Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas ©2015 Lucinda Howe

Wine at Soda City
12×12″
Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas
©2015 Lucinda Howe

Soda City Farmer’s Market on Main Street is open 9am-1pm on Saturdays.  It’s growing bigger every week.  There’s a variety of farm produce, crafts, yoga, and prepared food.  The About Face plein air group gathered to paint there on September 19, 2015.

I selected a spot across from Mercer House Estate Winery where I was attracted by the contrast of the white tent against the dark background of the building and trees.  It was not very busy there near the intersection of Main and Taylor early in the morning.  I think most people went to the coffee tent first.   But it wasn’t long before people and dogs filled up the street and people were stopping for the wine tasting.

Mercer House Estate Winery at Soda City market, Columbia, SC

Mercer House Estate Winery at Soda City market, Columbia, SC

I started my painting on a red canvas, as usual,  and made a simple line drawing. Then I applied acrylic paints in vivid colors to capture the action of the market.

Soda City

Mercer House Estate Winery at Soda City market, Columbia, SC

The colors and smells and movement were almost overwhelming and hard to capture on canvas.  I narrowed my scene down to one tent, but another artist, Alice Marcel, put lots of tents and people in her painting.

Alice Marcel captures the color and activity in her painting.

Alice Marcel captures the color and activity in her painting.

When we finished at 11:30, we had a dozen paintings set up for critique.  As a group we observe and analyze each piece, make suggestions for improvement, and encourage one another to keep painting.  To me the critique is the most valuable part of plein air day because I always learn something from the other artists.  On this day, I came home and made a few minor adjustments to my painting from critique comments and the result is Wine at Soda City at the top of this post.

Paintings ready for critique

Paintings ready for critique

Posted in Acrylics, Plein Air

Supporting the Arts

This past weekend I went on the Columbia, South Carolina Open Studios tour with two other artists, Glenda Keyes and Barbara Yongue.  In the past, I have opened my studio to the public on these tours and was sad that I was not able to visit the other studios, so this year I wanted to support the tour as a  visitor.

We started early at Soda City Market on Main Street for Inda Coffee, microgreens and kale from City Roots, and Sicilian Coast goat cheese from Trail Ridge Farm.  I also found a cute Nana by Sally clutch at the market.  I like how Sally Peek puts together unusual combinations of colors and patterns.  This one has my favorite blue/green gray colors in a bold floral pattern with gray and white stripes inside.

Sophie Clutch Nana by Sally Peek Purchased at Soda City Market Columbia, South Carolina

Sophie Clutch
Nana by Sally Peek
Purchased at Soda City Market
Columbia, South Carolina

 

Interior of Sophie Clutch Nana by Sally Peek

Interior of Sophie Clutch
Nana by Sally Peek

When the studios opened at 10:00, we started in Cayce at the newly opened pottery studio of John and Venetia Sharpe.  They have a variety of sturdy food-safe serving pieces and decorative raku vases.  I may need to have a party just to use this beautiful bowl….

Food-safe serving bowl Pottery by John and Venetia Sharpe Cayce, South Carolina

Food-safe serving bowl
Pottery by John and Venetia Sharpe
Cayce, South Carolina

We visited several other studios along the way.   I’m endlessly fascinated by the way artists make use of tiny outbuildings, vast industrial buildings, repurposed objects, and expensive rare materials to make art.

Near the VA hospital, we found beaded jewelry and a flame working demonstration at the studio of Betty Evans and Carolyn Ramsey. (Do you notice a color theme developing in my purchases?)

Sterling and bead earrings by Carolyn Ramsey Earrings by Betty Evans

Sterling and bead earrings by Carolyn Ramsey
Glass earrings by Betty Evans

Finally, my favorite artist on the day’s tour was Nancy Butterworth in Shandon.    She makes delicate pottery using impressions of leaves of fatsia, collards, and other bold leafed plants with earthy glazes.  In case you missed Open Studios, she’s having another sale this coming weekend.  For more information, contact her at nkbutterworth@gmail.com.  Of course, I have already picked out the best pieces, but she might have a few pieces left for you.

Pottery bowl by Nancy Butterworth Columbia, SC

Pottery bowl by Nancy Butterworth
Columbia, SC

I was impressed with the quality and variety of art available on the tour and enjoyed the opportunity to meet and talk to the artists.  It is great fun to come home with unique pieces and the memory of a fun day.

As always, I would love for you to buy my art, but if you don’t buy art from me, BUY ART SOMEWHERE!

Posted in Business Also tagged |

Impression of Soda City

Soda City

Soda City Market
11×14″
Oil on gallery wrap canvas
©2013 Lucinda Howe

On Saturday the About Face plein air group painted at Boyd Plaza in front of the Columbia Museum of Art.  We were practicing painting in an impressionistic style to promote the final weekend of the Monet to Matisse exhibit.  Some of the artists painted a costumed model and other scenes in the plaza while I painted my impression of the busy Soda City market on Main Street.

 

Posted in Oil Painting, Plein Air Also tagged , |