I haven't done much plein air-- usually it's hard to find time where I can go outside interrupted for an hour or so. I've been lucky these last few days, beginning with Sunday. It was still a little foggy, but I went out anyway, dragging my not so stable box of pastels, a board with paper taped to it, and a chair.
Walking around for a few minutes, my basic impression was that we certainly need to spend some time cleaning up outside. Luckily, we have nice views, and I settled down in a chair to paint the view west of my house, which is a grove next door. It got wiped out in the 2007 fire (like ours), and has since been replanted. There's a small building there, so I chose that as the focal point and got started.
The session went relatively smoothly, and the result follows:
"Next Door" (9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper)
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The next day, the fog burned off a little earlier, so I thought I would try again. It took me longer to find a subject (I wasn't as jazzed up as I was the day before), so I headed further down the property and again turned west. An hour later, I was sore, irritated by bugs, and ready to stop when I heard a car pull up along our property line. It was a large SUV, complete with a u-haul, dogs who had to pee, and a screaming toddler (whose mother screamed back so loud I had to walk up and make sure that's all she was doing to the poor kid). They finally left, and I headed back down to clean up my mess. Somewhere along the way my pastel box had taken a dive into the weeds. I picked as many pieces of chalk out as I could, finished my work, and headed back up to the house. I was pleasantly surprised when I took a glance at the piece later (I was sure it would be as big a mess as my painting session had been).
"Neighbors" (9 x 12 chalk pastel on paper)
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And finally, I got to try an afternoon painting session while the little one slept in the shade. It wasn't planned, so I had to dig some oil pastels out of my art box in the shed and set up shop. This time I opted for a more comfortable chair (made a HUGE difference), a lightweight table, and a hat (sadly, my daughter's beach hat-- all I had in the car). I never thought I would be one of those painting ladies sitting outside in a floppy hat, but it was hot out and I knew I wouldn't survive without it. I had to stay close to the baby, and concentrated on the blooming cactus plants on our bank:
So far, I'm feeling comfortable with the whole plein air style. Among all the visitors I've had come up to observe me (lizards, rabbits, hummingbirds, hawks, BUGS), there's one I haven't dealt with yet that I know will be a factor Sunday: people! I'll be sharing the next few days' works, along with the final experiment-- painting at the fair.
To see more of my works inspired by local scenery, click here:
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