Update: Below is the last larger plein air piece from the trip. It took three days, and I had to hold the canvas with one hand while painting to keep it still in the high winds.
Afternoon Light, Korčula. 50 x 70 cm, oil on linen.
Vrnik. 70 x 90 cm, oil on linen.
Here are a few more plein air landscapes from this summer on the island of Korčula, in Southern Dalmatia.
As I said in the last post, the weather has been really difficult (it’s supposed to hail today), so I haven’t gotten as much done as I would have liked. I’m hoping for one more day of sun to finish up the other larger plein air pieces I have going. I’ll try to post them before I leave for Italy next week.
In the meantime here are a few more of the smaller sketches:
The Terrace. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Market Stalls, Korčula. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Afternoon Light, Korčula. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Here are a few paintings from last week on the Croatian island of Vis. This trip I was actually there for another project, and the weather was bad a couple of days, so I didn’t get a lot of my own work done.
Street in Vis #2. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.
These first two are sketches for a larger painting I’ll do in the winter. I wanted to see the light effect at two slightly different times of day.
Morning Fishing, Vis. 25 x 35 cm, oil on panel.
Other artists have asked me which Croatian town I think is the best for painting. I’ve only seen a fraction of them all, but at the moment I would put the town of Vis, on the island of Vis, in first place.
When you get to Vis and the locals find out you’re a painter, they all say that the town of Komiža (on the western side of the island) is the best place for plein air painting. Apparently, artists have said it has a special light. Every time I hear about a ‘special light’ it turns out they’re just talking about the sunset. At any rate, I think the subject matter is better in the town of Vis. Komiža suffers from the same problem that many of the prettiest towns in Croatia all suffer from: It’s too compact. Korčula, Zadar and Rovinj are the same. Don’t get me wrong, these are some of the most beautiful towns anywhere in the world. But from a painter’s perspective, there are only a handful of views from outside the town and then one is left with narrow streets, often crowded with tourists. They’re great to visit, and stunningly photogenic, but for a long painting trip I think one would get bored quicker than in Vis.
Stari Grad, on Hvar would be my runner up at this point. While small, it also has a lot of open views. Dubrovnik and Hvar are both incredibly beautiful, but the crowds of tourists make painting in the centers difficult (because of the cruise ships they roll over the historic centers like a wave of people in the mornings).
On the other hand, these places are all close together, and moving around is relatively easy in Croatia, so ideally one would paint in a number of locations. If anyone wants my recommended itinerary, feel free to drop me an email.
I spent the last week cruising around the islands of the Dalmatian coast with my gallerist Ann Long, her husband, and some friends. Before photography it was normal for British and American travelers in Europe to take a painter with them to record the trip.
The mechanics of painting on a boat took some getting used to. The boat turns a lot when at anchor, which restricts the choice of foreground. Then there is a lot of wind and the movement of the waves is annoying. Next, the decks of boats are notoriously fragile, so I had to be very careful not to get any paint on anything. I also cut corks to fit on the bottom of my easel so as to not scratch or scuff the deck. While I’m used to painting portrait commissions in houses where I have to be careful about my paints, the wind and the movement of the boat add new challenges. Later the crew explained that since it’s a working charter boat, their decks are designed to take any stains or damage as the crew will quickly sand it off.
Morning Light, Šipan. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Two of my favorite plein air painters, Charles-François Daubigny and Edward Seago, both owned boats that they painted from. I was looking through their work before I left on the trip. One of the problems with painting from a boat is the foreground is always going to be water, which is a view that I don’t really associate with.
En Route to Vis. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Afternoon Light, Vis. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
The rest are painted from solid ground on the various islands where we stopped.
Here are a few of the sketches I did the past two weeks in Southern Croatia. The Dalmatian coast is stunningly beautiful. We had beautiful weather, the food and wine are great, and it’s still relatively inexpensive as far as European beach towns in August go.
Corner at Sveti Nikola, Korcula. 20 x 30 cm, oil on panel.
Bar in Korcula. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Rampada, Korcula. 35 x 23 cm, oil on linen.
Street in Korcula. 35 x 25 cm, oil on linen.
Jet-Ski Rental on Primosten. 18 x 25 cm, oil on panel.
Dubrovnik is especially beautiful, though the crowds in August are not for the faint of heart.
The Cathedral from Poljana Boškovića, Dubrovnik. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Gardens on Lokrum. 35 x 25 cm, oil on panel.
Umbrellas in Gundulic Square. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
Church in Dubrovnik. 25 x 17 cm, oil on linen.
Street in Dubrovnik. 30 x 20 cm, oil on panel.
There are a few more that still need a lot of work. I’ll post an update when they’re finished.