Do you remember that song back when you watched Sesame Street ..."one of these things is not like the other"? Well, no 17 is that one. Up to this point I've painted still lifes, animals and a run of portraits, but no landscapes. I decided to do something about this. A local art gallery has a plein aire group and I joined it. Once a month, in the warmer months they get together as a group and go paint. Plein aire implies completed in one setting. So during this outing we have about 3 hours to set up, sketch, and paint something.
I generally paint very slowly, so this was to be a big challenge in just in completing it in the time allowed. It is also my first landscape. Then throw in, just for good measure, it was a dark and grey day. Oh, and one more thing, it is a grey building!
I had never been to this small town where we were to meet. The directions I had been given would have been ok if I knew were anything was, but I didn't! We were set to start at 9am. I finally found the place about 9:20. Then I set up and didn't actually get started until about 9:30.
Painting out doors is new to me, so really enjoyed that. Unfortunately, there is one thing I hadn't considered. Lack of restrooms. I had wanted to be really awake and alert for this expedition so I fully drank a whole pot of coffee before leaving the house. This mistake won't happen again!
About 11am I needed to use the restroom. By about 11:30 had really had to go. I could have packed it all up and found a bathroom and come back, but my chances of getting exactly the same angle again were really pretty low, so I continued on.
By noon I was not alone in needing a restroom. And by 12:30 I believe there was lots of hurrying to finish so everyone could find a bathroom. Keep in mind all the angles in the building we were painting. This was not an easy subject!
The project was set to wind up around 1pm, but around 12:45 we started packing up so we could go find our respective bathrooms.
So that's how my first plein aire painting was completed. "FORTVILLE GRAIN" is not like the others for many reasons. It's a landscape, it was not painted from reference photos, it was painted plein aire, and it is by far the quickest painting I've done! All in all, I don't think it bad. Though I'm told "you are an artist, you never think it is good enough!" I still think next time I'll drink a lot less coffee before I go.