Mineral Point Wisconson's 4 day plein air event was better than ever this year (this was my third time). It's a very unique and friendly town of 2400 people, all of whom seem to own a dog. Walking dogs appears to be their chief pastime. The exception is Enzo the leash trained cat. Enzo recently crashed a Lands End photo shoot. The shoot was for a Japanese edition of their catalog and he's apparently quite a celebrity there now. Bye bye Hello Kitty...
Speaking of which, I'll explain the chiaroscuro reference in the post title: Many towns have a lovable character whose "parts inventory" is a bit light, or who has been rendered so by circumstance. Mineral Point has Don, who hangs out in the park and offers to get you a soda if you happen to be sketching. Fort Madison artist Carlene Atwater was painting in Don's territory and gifted him with a portrait she whipped out using colors remaining on her palette from a street scene (the woman has skills). He sits on his park bench now, hugging it like a teddy bear and showing it to anyone interested.
The chiaroscuro part is this: Carlene did that kindness about the same time Nazi maniacs in Virginia were running people down in the streets. It's a light and dark world.
Anyway, here's what I painted (I hope Carlene and Gin Lammert post what they did on their blogs, too). The first day I headed west of town to try some of this area's unique drift-less zone (in the last ice age glaciers chose to hang out near Des Moines rather than Mineral Point).
That evening they held the Nocturne event and I struggled with this office front. Watching artists at night is becoming a popular event among the locals. A guy sat on the curb behind me watching, till the last brushstroke at 11:20. Did I mention it's a unique town?
Next morning offered up this alley scene with a cool shadow pattern. Amazingly, the car stayed there for the whole session. A first for me, and it also took first place and Artists Choice. I was stoked!
The organizers of this event go out of their way to treat the artists well with gourmet luncheons and dessert soirées. The artist company is first rate and area has something for everyone in terms of subject matter. Sales are good too. This year they sold 40% of the work produced, with a strong emphasis on the Nocturnes. I highly recommend this event.