On Wednesday I went to beautiful Chanticleer to paint. It was a magnificent day and the gardens are as always simply exquisite. I am trying to warm up for the Wayne Art Center Plein Air Festival which is next week. I have never participated in a Plein Air Paint Out before.
When I applied to enter, I thought it would be a good way to force myself back into the wilds of painting outside. I had no idea I would be painting with 29 of the best plein air painters in the country ... or that I would have to bring my still wet canvas back to the art center framed, the same day I painted it, each day for five days.
So I had to figure out how best to frame a wet painting and try to get into some kind of shape to paint outside again after a year or so of contentedly painting in my studio with brief excursions outside to look for material.
My first outdoor painting was my last post, completed in my garden, a quiet place to be with not too much weather turbulence. My experience at Chanticleer was quite the oposite. I positioned myself in front of a very big scene with lots of people walking by talking to me or peering over my shoulder. I had a very tiny canvas. The sun was moving in and out of clouds constantly. I ended up with something of a mud pie. The interactions with people were all pleasant—especially the boys from Valley Forge Military academy who were polite as could be. After I explained what I was aiming for in the painting, one of them said, "Good luck Ma'am". Ah ... so sweet, he could probably see I needed some luck.
Well here is the mud pie. I have "photoshopped" the image to give some indication of what I was aiming for in the second image. Still pretty bad. I will try not to paint in such a busy spot and not tackle such a huge scene next time.
Looks like this is going to be quite a learning experience.