Summer into Fall

November 6, 2016

"I love borders. August is the border between summer and autumn; it is the most beautiful month I know. Twilight is the border between day and night, and the shore is the border between sea and land. The border is longing: when both have fallen in love but still haven't said anything. The border is to be on the way. It is the way that is the most important thing."

-Tove Jansson


The summer seems to have flown by, October passed, and now it is November. I've been steadily teaching portrait and plein air classes through the Columbus Cultural Arts Center, and moved into a new place, which has enough space for a home studio. In June, I had a whirlwind trip to the west coast, to be at the wedding of one of my dearest friends. She got married in Carmel Valley, which is one of my favorite places in the country. Although I didn't have the time for plein air sketching, I did get the chance to make a little portrait sketch of her, while she sat having her hair done before the ceremony.



I also had the chance to visit my parents' home and spend a little time with both my grandmothers, they and my parents took my suggestion of coming to Carmel for the weekend while I was there.




Another highlight of the summer was a trip to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. My partner Amery and I drove our trusty van up through Ohio and Michigan, up to the D.H. Day Campground in the National Park. It was so beautiful there, I could have stayed for months just hiking and drawing and painting and swimming in that clear water of Lake Michigan!



Fall began with a new experience for me- participating in the Ohio Plein Air Competition. The competition was hosted by a gallery in Bay Village, near Cleveland - BAYarts. On Thursday evening I checked in there, with a bag full of blank canvases and panels. After stamping the backs to ensure they were blank when the competition started, I spent all of Friday and Saturday painting en plein air, within the boundaries of the competition. This included all of Cuyahoga County and Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The two places I was most drawn to were Beaver Marsh in the national park, and Huntington Beach in Bay Village. 


For anyone who is unfamiliar with plein air painting, "plein air" is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning "open (in full) air". This means setting up outdoors and completing a painting onsite, immersed in the elements and the landscape, and without the use of photo references. Small adjustments may be made in the studio, but I find that most of the time I don't like to add much.  Here is some of what I painted over that weekend.




And the adventures continue! Until the next time I set aside enough time to try to sum it all up, stay tuned by following my updates on instagram under mjwardart.

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