Wednesday, June 30, 2010

South Jersey and the Art Spirit.

This is the image I saw on my ceiling as I opened my eyes on this past Sunday morning, at 7 a.m.
As usual on the weekend, I'd planned to visit my Dad, but this beautiful,  welcoming
spectrum of color was, for me, an invitation from the "Art Spirit," to also go painting.

Throughout our years of marriage, my wife Louise would kid me about knowing every country
road in South Jersey. Having traveled the roads is one thing, but venturing out  to find a spot
that is waiting to be painted, and with the right light, is a whole different "mind-set." I came over
a rise, (yes, there actually are hills in S.J) and saw these back-lit outbuildings, and pulled over.

As I set up my easel I was glad that I was getting an early start on what was to be another
hot and humid day. A gentle breeze was moving across the expanse of fields, and the distant
sounds of children's voices...and an insistent crow on the humming wires above my head,
told me I was not the only creature up and about on this beautiful Sunday morning.

And on weekends in S. Jersey, there are always the bikers.
A few asked if I needed help, thinking at first that my car surely had broken down.

Just before actually starting to paint, I usually do a small  "Value Study." It functions as a little road map and reminder, as the light continues to change, of what it is that initially made me want to paint a particular subject. It's the building of the cake, before any thoughts of icing.

In a very graphic sense, here is what I am concerned with. This is the abbreviated "value scale" I use, to interpret the various degrees of "lights and darks" that are in the subject, and eventually, in my painting of that subject. The first square is white, or the very lightest "Lights." The next square is the "Lightest Mid-Value," the next is the "Darkest Mid-Value," and finally, The "Darkest Darks," in the composition. None of this is written in stone, but it gets my brain heading in the right direction. You can see this thought process in the sketch, above. And that's my lesson for the day, to all you non-artists.

And after about an hour and a half of pleasureable painting, here is the finished water color.
I liked it. The crow seemed to have liked it, and my  Muse liked it.
Life is good.                                                                                 (Water color  8-1/2  X 11" $110.00)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Deer Isle Is Calling.

Now that summer is officially here, there is no denying the siren call of Maine.
We Ternays became "Maine-iacs" back in 1972, when we started going to the
Haystack Mountain School Of Crafts, on Deer Isle.

Within a few years we bought our little piece of Deer Isle; three1/2 acres, with
600 feet of shoreline, at the very end of a cove. We paid $9000. for it.
In 2000 Louise, our 3 sons, and 15 foolish friends who volunteered to help,
built most of this cabin, in 2 weeks.

Being in Maine all these years has changed and effected our family in so many ways.
For me, of course, the opportunities for subjects to paint, are unending.
Here are some of my most recent paintings, from the past few years.

"Rocks In Mist; Early Morning." Oil on panel. 5 X 7" $110.00

"Toward The Mainland". Oil on panel. 5 X 7" $110.00

"Burnt Cove Boat House." Oil on panel 5 X 7" $110.00

"Diver's Placenta Tree." Oil on panel  5 X 7" NFS

"Porch View Of Our Cove."   SOLD

We can hardly wait to get up there.

Monday, June 21, 2010

This Artist's Father; an "Homage."

Looking back on my childhood, it now seems very "Norman Rockwellian," to me.
Having parents whose roots were as farmers, and also owners of the local Country Store,
certainly contributed, in a big way, to forming me as the artist I continue to be.
Note that the price of gas, in the early '60s, was .31 cents a gallon.

 Here are my parents, Bud and Helen Ternay, when they were dating,
in the thirties. Dad's first name is actually William, but the nickname "Buddy" stuck
because everyone agreed he was quite the handsome man, and looked a lot like
a popular movie actor of the time, "Buddy" Rogers.

This is a picture of my Dad and me, when I suspect I was about three.
Pop had stopped working in the local Feed Mill, and had returned to his first love,
farming, to provide for his young family. As someone who has always enjoyed
communing with his fellow humans, he soon was selling vegetables out of the
back of his truck, as a "Huckster." Buying the store up the road was an obvious
next move.

To this day, at the ripe age of 97, he still enjoys driving around the farmland he's known
and loved all these many years. He ventures within a 10 or 15 mile radius of his house,
which sits in a field where I used to sweat, as a kid, picking cucumbers under
the hot, humid, South Jersey sun.

Over the years Dad  became well known for making wonderful "Subs," and during the
holidays, delicious Pumpkin Pies. When he finally retired and turned the store over to my
brother Bob, Pop was honored as "Citizen of the Year,"  which really irked our Mother,
'cause she, most definitely, had been right there at his side, working long hours pumping
gas, filling shelves, and raising her sons, just as Pop had done.

Throughout his life, our Dad has enjoyed taking naps, in the afternoon. I suspect that
ritual, and also never having smoked or drank, has contributed to his ongoing longevity.
He sent me to Art School on money made playing "the Horses," which he still does.

 He can tell you the history of every horse he ever bet on, the jockey who rode him, and
what everybody ordered for dinner, on the drive back from the track, 30 years ago. 
And for the past 10 years, he has been singing many of his favorite old songs, like
"Send Me The Pillow You Sleep On," into his tape-recorder, and doing so
"A Capella," in a strong voice. He's been known to leave his songs on the message
machines of female friends, who call him every day, to see if he's OK.     

Although this tough old South Jersey farmer is slowing down more than a bit,
I cannot tell you how many times, as we enter his Doctor's Waiting room for
a check-up, he smiles at a fellow patient, and asks. "You know my only problem
these days? Too many Birthdays!"
I can only hope to be so fortunate. And in fact, I am.
Bud Ternay is my Father.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Lower Merion PaintOut; Day Two.

Here is the process I went through to attempt to capture the feeling of light, in the scene above.
My first marks on the panel were the placement of the warm spots of sunlight,
the "lightest Lights", and the calligraphic rhythm of the "Darkest Darks," which
established the linear movement throughout the horizontal composition.

After about two and a half hours of painting, and adjusting my easel to keep my painting surface out
of the insistent sunlight, here is the finished painting. We had a 4 p.m deadline to finish painting,
somehow pop the art in frames, and deliver them to the home of the hosts of the fundraiser.
It was hot, and the deadline loomed! (Oil on panel, 12 X 24" $1900.00)

When I finally arrived to deliver my paintings, I found my always elegant painting partner, Nancy Herman,
finishing the task of putting together easels, with Mary Beth Hughes, the artist who oversaw the "PaintOut" part of the fundraiser.

Entering the house I was greeted by the sound of classical music. In the living room
I found an old friend, Deborah Reeder, who is Director of the "The Philadelphia Trio."

I soon found a spot for the smaller of my three paintings, on an antique desk,just inside
the entrance hall of the lovingly restored mansion.

Adding to the tasteful decor was this buffet in the dining room, awaiting the arrival of hungry guests.

And on the back lawn, a "Caribbean" buffet, near the pool.  

Happily the threatened rain held off, and the crowd of guests representing
Lower Merion's "Mainline Elite," enjoyed the evening's offerings and opportunity
to mingle with old friends.

As did the artists, who participated in the two day PaintOut.
It will be interesting to see who participates next year.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lower Merion Conservancy PaintOut Part One

Last Wednesday and Thursday my dear friend Nancy Herman and I participated in
the Lower Merion Conservancy's Plein Air Paint Out, with about eight other local artists.

Nancy and I were the first artists to arrive at the Conservancy Headquarters.
Although tempting, we passed on the goodies offered by the thoughtful staff.

First order of the day was to get the backs of our canvases stamped with the image of a woodpecker,
which guaranteed the authenticity of our paintings having been painted during the two day period,
and not before. We then had to decide just where, among all the many beautiful historic sites
available in Lower Merion Township, to do our first paintings. 

I suggested we go to "Saunders Woods Preserve," a 25 acre former farm with beautiful meadows
and a steep, forested stream valley. We decided to take advantage of the rustic old Pennsylvania
stone barn, which at that hour was still being slowly revealed by the early morning sun.

Nancy chose a spot in front of the barn.

And I decided to paint on the shady side, with it's crusty textures, and view of meadow and trees, beyond.

Here is a close up of  Nancy's painting., nearing completion. To see the finished piece,
check out Nancy's blog.  And yes, this photo is upside down, as seen from Nancy's viewpoint.

And here is the finished painting done by me.
( Oil on panel  12 X 24"  $1,900 )

After a brief lunch, (a welcome retreat from a day that was beautiful, but getting ever hotter,)
Nancy and I meandered through the back roads of the Mainline, visiting more potential painting sites. Eventually we took advantage of having access to a sprawling, historic home, and set up our easels along
Mill Creek, with a wonderful view of the former Colonial mill, on the far bank. Here is Nancy's point of view. More of her paintings will appear on her blog, "Post Cards From Merion."

Here is my little painting of a part of the mill and stream below.
( Oil on panel, 5 X 7" $110.00 )

Before we called it a day, we decided to find the home where the Fund Raiser was to be held, on Thursday evening. Here is another friend and respected Philadelphia artist, Joseph Sweeney, taking advantage of the golden light at the end of the day, and starting another painting of our host's beautifully restored English Tudor home. In Friday's post, I'll regale you with our Thursday adventures,
and the evening's festivities.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rittenhouse Square Art Show, Friends, and Mentors

I've been attempting to stick to a schedule of posting on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. But last week
I was so busy participating in the Lower Merion Conservancy PaintOut that I missed Friday, and almost
missed seeing the Rittenhouse Square Art Show, one of the oldest outdoor art festivals in the U.S.
Since its beginning in1932, most of the participating artists have been "locals." But even in staid old
Philadelphia, the times they are a changin'.

These days the event has become very, very "upscale", and exhibiting artists come from
all over the U.S. It's now part of the the Tent Show Circuit, and Philadelphians look forward
to the spring and fall shows. I personally feel the majority of the "art" is pretty commercial,
appealing to buyers who are looking for that perfect image that will fit over their purple couch.
But I never begrudge an artist a sale, whatever their art.

Here are three very talented friends; Nancy Barch, Jane Miluski, and Pat Kerr.
I had the pleasure, for many years, of serving with each of them on the board
of the Philadelphia Water Color Society. Each is a seasoned veteran of Rittenhouse.  :

 And here is a fellow artist from down in my neck of the South Jersey woods, Ellen Gavin.
Ellen is from Millville, near my mentor at the Barn Studio, Pat Witt. Ellen does lush
Impressionistic oils, and like my other friends, she is very prolific. I had to wait my
turn, between her many customers, to take this picture. Ellen's smile reflects her good sales.

I was in the Rittenhouse show twice, way back when artists actually hung their art on clotheslines.
Once, when I was still in art school, and again, about ten years ago. I sold ZERO each time!
Here is a water color I did at the 2nd time, just to keep busy. (9x14", $110.00)

But my frail ego got its' strokes when, just a few years later, I was asked to be one of the two
judges for the show.
Such is the topsy-turvy life of an artist.