Thursday–the New Monday

Monday of this week got lost between Labor Day and catching up on the workload. And I don’t have much to show for the weekend either! So no new great art today. Instead, some aimless ramblings around the subject of painting en plein air.

Sometimes you hang onto a thing because it represents a memory. Same goes for a painting. The one above depicts the parking lot of the Sears Auto Center in Salem, NH, on the day that I had the flat tire on my way, with Sharon, to paint at the Boston Arboretum. This may not be one of my masterpieces, but I daresay it’s not bad for a parking lot. Especially an empty parking lot. How bad is it when an empty parking lot is the most interesting thing in sight? So I love this one like I love the crippled kitten I just adopted. (Can’t talk more about the kitten until I have a photo or painting to illustrate the story.)

Another memory committed to painting is this sunset, experienced somewhere, not sure exactly where, in Rhode Island this summer.

I believe I can safely posit that no sunset can successfully be captured en plein air. This is therefore obviously from a photograph. The size is 8 by 10, but I am considering a larger version of it. Maybe as large as 30 by 40.

Oh, and speaking of largeness, I just bought one of those Gloucester easels–the type of easel I compared to a teepee in an earlier post. Brand is Beauport, and Artists Supply Warehouse had such a deal on them that I could not resist, with the encouragement of Stapleton Kearns. Not his money, of course, but when one needs someone else to validate one’s crazy spending decisions, one must seek the advice of the one person whom one can count on to validate said crazy decision. Why crazy? Because I had previously resolved to concentrate more on portraiture and studio work as opposed to plein air landscape painting. The Gloucester easel means going big–16 by 20 and up–in format. Going big in plein air painting is a new commitment, a major commitment.

Acquiring the easel is only half the way toward large format outdoor painting–I’ll have to figure out a way to deal with the larger wet paintings. I may need a supply of larger brushes. I’ll need a large paint box to rest on those two bars creating the “V”–my current pochade box has a lid that I’m afraid will cause it to tip backwards if the box is not attached to a tripod. And I will definitely need a sherpa–my granddaughter’s Great Dane might have to be pressed into service.

Tomorrow I will try it out for International Plein Air Painters annual paint out. We will be at Lake Massabesic, with parking close enough that the wet painting and the weight of my gear should not be an obstacle. I should also be able to find something more interesting to paint than the parking lot itself, but who knows? It’s a pretty, woodsy parking lot, and I could be onto a series.

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