Thursday, September 15, 2011

Plein air adventures...

watercolor sketch, Arnold Arboretum, 12 x 9


Ah some plein air adventures are just too good not to share.  Last Sunday I went up to Arnold Arboretum, a hugely favorite place of mine, to do quick watercolor sketches and check out places I want to spend more time at with my oils.  So I sat down on the stone wall and it was the perfect situation, a big flat wall, not too high.  The light and temperature was just right and NO bugs, a plein air painters dream.  Lots of people strolling, walking dogs, some peeked, most just kept sauntering by, many smiled.  Towards the end of my time there an elderly couple sat down right next to me so I figured they'd chat but no they didn't seem to notice me at all.  After a few minutes he took off his shoes and socks and began inspecting, with the help and  great interest of his wife, some oozing sore on his foot and his toe nails.  La la la la la....just keep painting, don't listen.  I have a toe nail phobia, don't really like feet in general and he was being very descriptive.  I started to hum lightly trying to block the chatter.  She gets up and leaves never once even glancing my way.  He puts on his shoes and socks (phew) sits for a few minutes, gets up, comes over, I look up and he's just staring at the painting (the one above) which was almost finished, then he looks at me and says "Dappled" then walks off.  I stared after him trying not to crack up.

Soon I was up and moving to the next spot.  Now we are in a real plein air painting situation, muddy, almost no place to put anything, exposed, no shade and LOTS of mosquitos - didn't bring the spray!  Finally got situated and this is a much more high traffic area but they can't get to me, no sane person would wander into this mash of bushes and bugs but it was the best view of what I wanted to paint.  Lots of people took pics of me working and think I'll end up on a bunch of Facebook pages.  But one time I looked up and an Asian man is filming me!  Ah my first art movie, wonder what I looked like.  I wasn't in this spot too long because sitting still I got devoured by mosquitos and it was pretty awful.  The painting got ruined because at one frustrating moment before the watercolor dried I swatted at a particularly thick collection of mosquitos on my leg and smeared the paint.  I wrapped up and moved to a more bug free area to enjoy lunch and the rest of the day.

I'm going back this weekend but will bring the bug dope and do my hair so I look better for more filming opportunities..just kidding.

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