When To Put Down the Brush?

It’s been a long time since I’ve done plein air. Since having my children it’s been easier to be a studio painter. Painting in the open air teaches you to paint in the moment, to rely on the gesture and the medium, to lay down your poetry on the canvas quickly before the light changes or your fingers freeze or the bugs chase you away!  Plein air works are known for having a freshness and vibrancy that their over worked studio counterparts can sometimes lack. It’s a good lesson for all artists and one I struggle with daily. When to put down the brush!

That brings me to my recent foray in plein air, against good advise, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and continued to rework my persimmon painting once back in my studio. Every painting is a learning experience, but I put it to you, do you prefer my pre-studio or post-studio version better?

Marie Cameron plein air persimmon painting pre & post studio 2012

My plein air persimmon painting pre & post studio – which one do you prefer?


Plein Air Party

What makes a plein air party you may ask?

A gorgeous day, a stunning location, a mess of easels, paints, mediums, gloves and canvases or boards and you’re good to go – oh yes, and most importantly a whole whack of talented artists!

What makes it festive is a hot barbecue, a cold beer and a mountain of mouth watering desserts. Add in a painting and gift exchange, some lava soap and hand lotion all is merry and bright!

Artist Diana Leone and her husband Ed hosted the LGAA -PA holiday party this year and it was time for me to break out of the studio and brush up on my plein air skills. Most artists chose to paint a view of the meandering Calero Creek but I went with the Leone’s magnificent persimmon tree. I must say, I so enjoyed sitting underneath that canopy of impossibly orange fruit set against that brilliant blue sky, watching the flock of marauding starlings and listening to the croaking of bullfrogs – I didn’t really care how my painting was turning out! So when artist Kevin Kasik came to climb the tree and harvest what he could reach, I was only to happy to get out of the way. Not before a plump, ripe persimmon practically fell into my lap – and my, it was sweet!

Calero Creek- photo Marie Cameron 2012

Calero Creek meandering along in the morning light of a Californian winter.

Plein Air Painters - Photo Marie Cameron 2012

Plein air artists setting up to paint along the creek.

Artist Hershel Abelman - Photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Hershel Abelman blocking in his values with a persimmon underpainting.

Artist Rebecca White - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Rebecca White ready with her palette knife!

Artist Kathy Carlquist  - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Kathy Carlquist adding the last touches to her view of the Calero Creek.

Artist Diana Leone (portrait) - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Diana Leone laying in her color. Visit her website at www.dianaleone.com

Artist Cynthia DeBenedetti - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Cynthia DeBenedetti  capturing the moment.  www.cdebenedettistudio.com.

Artist Ellen Howard - photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Ellen Howard setting up her easel. Visit her website www.ellenhowardart.com.

Artist Will Maller - Photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Will Maller setting up for plein air.  His website is willmaller.com.

Artist Will Maller's Set Up - photo Marie Cameorn 2012

Will Maller has sketched in the work with persimmon orange, start with a spark!

Will Maller's Paints - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Will Maller’s paints could be a great painting too.

Persimmons and Sky - photo Marie Cameron 2012

The Leone’s Hachiya Persimmon tree was dripping with ripe fruit.

Marauding Starlings - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Flocks of marauding starlings liked them too!

Sitting Under the Persimmon Tree Painting - photo Kevin Kasik 2012

Working on my persimmon painting under that big beautiful tree.

My Inspiration - photo Marie Cameon 2012

This view was the inspiration for my painting.

Fresh Persimmon Painting - photo Marie Cameron 2012

And the result before I let Kevin have the tree.

Kevin Kasik Persimmon Harvesting - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Artist Kevin Kasik harvesting persimmons on high.

Kevin Kasik Out on a Limb - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Kevin Kasik out on a limb.  See his work at www.kevinkasikart.com

Kevin Kasik Tossing a Persimmon - photo by Marie Cameron - 2012

Kevin Kasik tossing persimmons to artists below.

Kevin Kasik in Persimmon Tree 1- photo Marie Cameron 2012

This is my favorite one of Kevin Kasik in the persimmon tree with the tub ready below.

Tub of Persimmons - photo Marie Cameron 2012

One of two tubs filled with very ripe fruit – someone is going to be busy!

Lava - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Keep it clean party favor – best soap ever! Thanks Diana!







Ripe Persimmons

Persimmon Tree - Picchetti photo Marie Cameron 2012

Picchettti persimmon tree ornamented with ripe fruit, photo Marie Cameron 2012.

The storms have past, stripping persimmon trees of all their leaves, leaving their fruit dangling naked and ripe for all to see. This tree at Picchetti tempts hiking visitors to wade through poison oak and blackberry brambles to see it they can pocket a few. Picking wild fruit is a primal urge my mother and father-in-law and son couldn’t pass up while on a family hike over Thanksgiving. While they didn’t harvest many (two actually) they were all the sweeter for the effort!

Persimmons are not only decorating trees all over the valley but hanging on gallery walls too! Here are two great works currently on exhibit at the Los Gatos Museums Gallery by member artists, Susan Elwart Hall (susanhallstudio.com) and Betty Turrentine McGuire.

Stages of Life oil painting by Susan Elwart Hall - photo Marie Cameron 2012

Stages of Life oil painting by Susan Elwart Hall – Los Gatos Museums Gallery

Persimmons oil painting by Betty Turrentine McGuire photo by Marie Cameron 2012

Persimmons oil painting by Betty Turrentine McGuire – Los Gatos Museums Gallery

So, what to do with this abundance of persimmons?  The Fuyu (above) can be eaten like an apple but with the softer Hachiya I like to make persimmon chutney which is especially delicious with duck!

  • Persimmon Chutney:
  • 1/4 c chopped onion
  • 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 1/4 c lemon juice
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp grated lemon peel
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 6 peeled ripe Hachiya persimmons
  • Reduce all ingredients over medium heat adding persimmons at the end.