Welcome! This online journal will share my news of new paintings and upcoming exhibits, tips and notes with friends, collectors and other artists. Please visit often and enjoy!

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- Latest sketches

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Longmont Artists' Guild Members Show Opening Reception

at the
430 Main St., Longmont, CO 80501
October 9 – November 7, 2015

Artist's Opening Reception
Friday, October 9th
Free parking in the back

Come join the fun! Refreshments! Wine cash bar!
Meet the artists! Beautiful artwork for sale!
Vote for your favorites!
Award ceremony at 8pm!

Friday, October 2, 2015

PAAC Annual Paint Out in Grand Lake

I returned on Sunday from three days of painting alongside 39 other artists in my first participation in the Plein Air Artists Colorado Annual Paint Out. The event was very well organized, and took place in the town of Grand Lake and the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The weather was perfect and the Fall foliage was beautiful. My family came along and had a great time with campfires, swimming in the lake, hiking, and painting too.

I feel very encouraged that I was able to test a new easel and new paints (acrylic), sell one of my paintings and win Artists' Choice Award at the exhibit! This came as a total surprise, as I was trying a new medium and working hard to simply produce a painting that would not look too shabby alongside the work of all these experienced, talented artists. To win the vote of professionals I admire was a great honor. 

More details on the paintings, the event, and the lessons I learned, in upcoming posts...

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Painting Parenting, or Making Time to Paint

Being a dedicated father is taking time on Saturday morning to go with my sons on a longish bike ride and then treating them to cookies and juice at their favorite coffee shop, where they love to play with their toy cars at the low coffee table...

Being a dedicated artist is finding time in my busy schedule to paint, even if it means bringing my paints and easel with me on the bike ride to the coffee shop so I can add a few more touches to my painting in progress in the 15 minutes the kids take to play...

Painting parenting is not rare: Carol Marine painted while her child napped; Ali Cavanaugh painted while her baby played in the playpen. I have sketched my children while they played in the sandbox, or rode their bikes around me or tried the monkey bars. I started sketching construction machinery after I discovered the boys would be quiet for a long time observing the constructions site on weekend mornings. At times the boys will pull out their own sketchbooks and doodle alongside me.

Sometimes there is enough time to do some work; sometimes I barely get started before the kids need to move on, need to use the restroom, get hurt, or somehow need assistance. Persistence pays off though; those little sketches done at these opportunities keep my visual mind and my hands nimble for more serious work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Sandstone Ranch in Acrylics

Sandstone Morning, acrylic on board, 8x10, plein air

This is only my third attempt at painting in acrylic, and the first acrylic done en plein air (done on location at Sandstone Ranch park in Longmont on Friday). It was quite a departure from working in watercolors, but the same challenge of rushing against the hot, dry weather.

I used Golden Open acrylics in five colors: Titanium white, phthalo blue, transparent red iron oxide, yellow and naphthol red light. I covered the board with a thin warm orange layer, drew the main large shapes with red oxide, blocked the darker shapes of color before applying the middle and light tones. I must say I really like the Rosemary & Co brushes from the Ivory line that I am using.

I wish I had done a thumbnail value and composition study but I was concerned about the time and wanted to start right away... it would have helped me improve the design, by avoiding lining up the foreground rocks with the cliff, and making the grass line at the bottom less repetitive with the one farther back. Well, working my way through a new medium is hard enough, I think this ended up pretty nicely all things considered.

Visit my new Facebook page: Facebook/MarcioCorreaArt

Friday, August 14, 2015

A Gate of Opportunity, watercolor on paper, 12x9

This week I painted on site at Harvard in Cambridge, MA. I set my tripod easel in a tight corner in front of the tourist information office, about the only spot protected from the rain and from the groups of tourists. I painted directly, without a preliminary sketch or any drawing in pencil.

Many artists and students have concerns about using M Graham and other honey based watercolor brands in plein air work, especially those who have folding palettes with wells on the lid... But I used a folding palette and M Graham colors on this painting and even though it was a warm, very humid day, the paints did not run or spill. I stored my palette vertically in the bag, and kept a wet brush inside it, and it did not cause any problems. The paint was tacky in the wells when I reopened the palette at night in the hotel, but there were no spills. One reason is that the paint had been poured in the pans much earlier; if I had just added fresh paint the night before I may have had problems. At any rate, the only M Graham colors I have tried which have cause spills at all have been cobalt teal and cobalt violet--I no longer carry those colors in my plein air kit for that reason.

Friday, July 31, 2015

A snapshot of me with my two pieces at the opening reception of the Plein Air Artists Colorado National Exhibit last night in Boulder. 
The Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery was packed with artists, guests and collectors. It was exciting to see so many friends and get to meet so many top level artists, whose work I had admired in magazines, books and videos. In fact the whole experience was that of walking through the pages of the Southwest Art magazine. It is such an honor to be included in this show. The exhibit is open until August 30th and is well worth seeing--and prices are very reasonable too!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Crested Butte Revisited

Generation Gap, watercolor on Yupo paper, 14x11

This is my studio piece from my plein air study done in Crested Butte (see my previous post). It was good to revisit this scene while everything was still fresh on my memory.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Crested Butte on the 4th of July

We had a wonderful trip to Crested Butte to visit our friend and great artist Peggy Morgan Stenmark. What a beautiful place, and so many subjects to paint! After the 4th of July parade, I did a couple of sketches and completed this 12 x 9 inch plein air study on Elk Avenue. I set up in the only quiet, shaded spot I could find amidst the buzz of the tourist crowd. The stage with the band and the food court were only a half block away... The shade did not last long, a couple of families congregated on the same spot, and there were many passers-by who stopped to view, ask questions, comment and tell me about their own home towns. And I did not realize I had been painting in front of a gallery until artist Ann Sharkey came out to introduce herself! I did not do any planning and just tried to capture a bit of the scene and ended up overworking it, but it was only meant to be good practice and fun, and so it was.

Monday, June 29, 2015

RRWS National Exhibit Bronze Medal

June has been full of nice surprises. The latest was the Bronze Medal at the RRWS National Exhibit in Moorhead, MN. I was not able to attend the opening ceremony last Tuesday, but did have a chance to see the show before it opened and the worker in charge of setting up the lights was kind enough to take this snapshot of me by my painting "No Left."

This piece retires from exhibits with a nice history. Initially, it was not successful and collected several rejections at shows, until I revised it by darkening the building and shadow on the right, and created a lead into the painting with the spatter on the foreground. After the adjustments, it was accepted into a local, a State and two national shows, and won an Honorable Mention and a Third Place Award.

It is a painting I love, not only because it shows one of my favorite places, San Francisco, but because its overall realism is undermined by the abstraction in the shadows and details, and I find the interplay of the two very intriguing.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Shadows of History at the LAG Exhibit

Shadows of History, watercolor on paper, 9x12

Finally back home from a long trip... I was unable to attend the Longmont Artists' Guild 2015 show, but heard it was very successful and learned my painting Shadows of History won the second place award for watercolors. It was great to have a chance to display some of these smaller paintings, as a lot of other shows have size restrictions.

This was one of the first paintings I did without the use of a pencil drawing. I was really pleased a how well the straight lines ended up, and at the positive/negative design of the fence, which prevented it from being too conspicuous and restrictive. I am very glad juror James Whartman saw merit in it as well.

The subject here is a view of a farm setting at the Littleton History Museum during a paint-out. I did a different scene en plein air and captured this view with my camera. Years later, I did this painting from that photo but could still remember a lot of the light and atmosphere of that bright summer day.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Plein Air Artists Colorado National Exhibit

Niwot Farm in Summer, watercolor on paper, 12 x 16

Summer is the time for plein air painting, and for plein air shows. I got great news that Niwot Farm in Summer and another of my paintings got selected for the Plein Air Artists Colorado 19th National Exhibit in July and August at the Mary Williams Fine Arts Gallery in Boulder.

I have sketched and painted at this site a few times in different seasons. It is a beautiful scene at a convenient location, except for the lack of shade, which causes a constant glare on the paper and makes the paint dry too fast. Still a very enjoyable experience and a thrill to face the challenge to capture the subject before light conditions changes too much. The more I paint onsite the more I regret the times when I have to use a photo as reference, as I'm more aware of all the distortions the camera causes. Colors are interpreted by the camera in a way that is very different from how we see the objects, especially the contrast with lit areas and shaded areas. The lens also stretch the field of vision and makes any distant objects appear much smaller and farther than in reality. And of course any close objects will have their perspective skewed.

One of my goals for this plein air season is to increase the ratio of completed paintings done on site, as opposed to only sketches and studies. This means I will have to focus more on technique and speed of execution. Another idea I'm toying with is to try painting on yupo en plein air... At first thought it seems impossible, but they sun and wind usually dry the paint so fast it might be doable with the right approach. Well, we will try and see where it leads.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Best of Show at State Watercolor Exhibit 2015!

My five year old son receives the Best of Show award on my behalf

I received an incredible early birthday gift this year: It was a big surprise and a bigger honor to receive two awards at the 2015 Colorado Watercolor Society State Watercolor Exhibit! My painting No Left won an honorable mention, and Twin Elevators was chosen Best of Show by juror Rick Brogan! It was even more special to have my wife and children in attendance at the Award Ceremony to enjoy the moment with me! My two sons were elated to share the limelight and receive the award bags on my behalf.

It is great to get such recognition for my work; these are two of my favorite pieces and I am thrilled that the juror saw merit in them. Thank you, Mr. Brogan! I owe this and other recent success to great instructors that have inspired and guided me along the years, but in particular to Mr. Arne Westerman, whose workshop in 2013 really drove home to me the pitfalls and strategies of design. I did not even get accepted to this show two years ago, but since I started critiquing my own work and applying the learnings from that workshop, I got an award in 2014, and top award this year.

Congratulations to the CWS and its President Greg Chapleski, show chair Gary Nichols and all their collaborators for another beautiful show, with many of the best water media artists in Colorado, and for the successful Opening Ceremony, very well attended on this sunny Saturday afternoon at the Lone Tree Arts Center in southern Denver.

 Family photo with Twin Elevators at the Award Ceremony

 No Left, Honorable Mention at the State Exhibit

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Just Before the Storm

The Red Garage in Winter, watercolor on paper, 9x12

This winter in Colorado has been very kind to plein air painters. Lots of sunshine and mild temperatures. Last week, for instance, we had a cold front and very low temperatures on Monday and Tuesday, and then warm days again towards the weekend. I managed to get a long lunch break on Friday to paint this scene in Old Town Niwot, just before the next storm moved in and brought snow for the weekend. My plein air group was painting at the canyon west of Boulder and I did not have enough time to travel that far, so I set on this location roughly five minutes from my house.

The muted colors of winter make colorful elements such as this red garage by the old Grange building really stand out. I am using a technique of direct painting, without a pencil sketch, with just some general guidelines in permanent orange to define the major shapes. It is exciting to paint without the pencil boundaries but the drawing accuracy suffers.

I parked the car, opened the passenger door and painted from the passenger seat, with the tripod easel set in front of me by the open door. Only five minutes into it, and the owner of the restaurant next door was sweet enough to come by and offer me a more comfortable chair. I politely declined; I wasn't going to be staying long. Ironic that 99% of the time I stand to paint and no one had offered a seat on those occasions... And I was too focused on the painting to realize I should have taken the opportunity to order a cup of tea or coffee...