Thursday, June 7, 2012
A couple of weeks ago, while I was reading the local newspaper, (they still do make such things, by the way) or in my case, looking at the pictures, I came across an Artists Call to participate in a plein air event at the Boothbay, Maine Botanical Gardens. Now, I'll be honest-- it wasn't so much the chance to paint flowers that got me interested, or to visit a lovely spot that I'd never seen before, but participating artists got to get in for free.
So on a beautiful Memorial Day, Ellen whipped up a lovely picnic lunch of fried chicken, potato salad with fruit salad for dessert. Since I considered this a regular work day, I had my usual for lunch: a package of Ring Dings. Her lunch sure looked good, though.
Anyway, since I had never been there before, I didn't want to bring my painting gear. I know me; I would've picked the first plant I saw as close to the car as possible. Instead, I wanted to explore the gardens to check out potential painting spots. So with sketch book and camera in tow, we set off to explore the 250 lovely acres of woods, shoreline and, of course, flowers.
The Botanical Gardens are a mixture of natural terrain and man-made motifs. Normally, when one paints landscapes, we try to incorporate design into the mayhem of Nature. Here though, the garden was set up with picturesque designs in mind. So really, everywhere I looked, I could spot a good scene to paint. But it wasn't until we had our lunch that I found my spot. Way in the back corner of the Garden, near the Rhododendron bushes is a beautiful, serene waterfall. Water and rocks-- right up my alley! I grabbed my sketch book, and went at it.
I prepared my masonite panel later that day back at the studio. Unfortunately, it rained hard for the next two days, so I had to twiddle my thumbs and wait for the sun to come back. When it did, back to the park I went. I hiked way back to that secluded spot, set my gear up in what was mulch, but was now ankle deep mud, swatted the mosquitoes, and went at it. Most plein air types (of which I am not) hate to paint in the middle of the day. The sun shining directly overhead make the shadows run and hide under the rocks, and completely washes out color. Also, it's easier to find the right color when the sun is angling lower in the sky. We really don't have a tube of color that can match the highlights of a noon-time sun. I find all of that a challenge. Bring it on! So my picture is of the falls at lunchtime.
The participating painters will have a selection of our efforts hanging at the Botanical Gardens until the end of the month of June, with a reception on June 14th. Hope you can make it!
I think you'll have to bring your own Ring Dings.