Saturday, January 25, 2014

Ravine Gardens - coming up!

What: Plein Air paint-out
When: Saturday, February 1, 2014, 9 AM to 1 PM
Where: Ravine Gardens State Park, Twigg St., Palatka, FL

It's February, and folks here in Florida can be out plein air painting!  Okay, though if the last week or two is any indication we may well need our long underwear and gloves, LOL.  But our plan is to meet next Saturday at Ravine Gardens State Park, a small gem in our state park system, located in Palatka. A ravine runs through the park, and there is a loop road that circles the ravine from above, and will offer us many options for plein air painting.

Various spots along the road offer spectacular views down into the ravine itself.

Ravine Gardens is one of the centers for the annual Azalea Festival, scheduled this year for March 1-2. However the azaleas are already starting to bloom, so there should be even more of them brightening up the landscape by next weekend.

There are a number of decks along the roadway that offer great spots to set up an easel and look down into and around the ravine for inspiration.

For the adventurous and hardy there are hiking trails down into the ravine itself.

Lots of opportunity to view wildlife also, as well as many birds singing in the treetops.

If you like to include man-made elements in your landscape there are picnic tables, suspension bridges over the ravine, and wooden bridges over ponds and streams.

Though if you choose to paint at the water you better keep an eye on your surroundings!

At the entrance of the park, at the far left in this photo (pretty hidden I admit, but I didn't get a good shot) is a large covered pavilion and picnic area, and there is plenty of parking. The locations around the loop road all have limited parking, not enough for all of us. So this pavilion is a great spot for us all to gather around noontime or so, and have lunch together, and share our paintings of the morning if we choose to do so.

As long as we've all made the trip to Palatka we should make a detour down to River Road, and see some lovely old Victorian homes.

And stop and see the Larimer Art Center,  home of the Arts Council of Greater Palatka. Not quite Victorian, but this building is also historic, built in 1929.

This is where our spring member show is going to travel to after it leaves its original location at the Cultural Center at Ponte Vedra Beach. 

The Larimer is close to the historic St. Johns River, which is another plein air opportunity right there, if anyone chooses to make a day of it. I hope to see lots of you there.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


Well the First Coast Pastel Society is now two years old. We had our first official meeting in January 2012. We've done a lot in the last two years - we are now a member of IAPS, we've had two member shows (one juried and one open to all), we've hosted workshops with Kathleen Galligan and Michael Chesley Johnson. We have an upcoming workshop with Casey Klahn and another juried member show.

Alas, your faithful blogger, however, had an issue at home that prevented me from attending the kickoff meeting for the year, so I've had to rely on comments from other attendees about the meeting, and our topic of discussion: : "Paint what you love or pain to sell?"

So some impressions from the meeting:

  • About 12-15 paintings were examined. Suggestions made mostly about frames, matting to encourage sales. Found that everyone raised their hands when asked if they painted for pleasure. Discussed pricing particularly area pricing. Our area is lower than other parts of country. Stories shared. We said we needed more discussions of marketing.
  • We noted that pricing is very regional. Do we undersell ourselves?
  • Do we sell low to keep work moving?
  • Do you paint for potential sales, like giving donations for charities, piece to friends?
  • 100% said we paint what we love, not what sells.
  • We all said we paint more to get recognized than to make a living (very hard!!!)
  • Lyn suggested that if we get posts from PSA painters and see something we like, go to their website and see how they price things.
  • Make decisions about who is your market
  • Possibly offer prints as a lower cost alternative. Carron is attending an event on Tuesday and will get info about getting prints made.
  • We discussed what can legitimately be called a "giclee"
  • Lyn suggested we get a "thick skin" regarding people's comments about our work.
  • Discussion of framing for a gallery vs a juried competition. Show framing is different from gallery framing. What is your objective? Richard McKinley says the frame is “the dressing on your painting”.
  • Mat and frame should not be same width. If you do not use a mat, use a wide frame.

  • Stay tuned to this space for more details about our upcoming plein air day at Ravine Gardens State Park in Palatka, our interesting March meeting, our workshop with Casey Klahn, and our member show in May!