Sunday, June 24, 2007
Quail Roost Farm
Saturday began with overcast skies and, for me, chilly weather. I was well prepared with my gear (thank you, my dear art friend!) --- a comfortable chair, lap table, and a marvelous alternative chair that held camera, paint, paper, tissues, water, water bottle and more that acted as a mini table for either my legs! LOL or palette (thank you, Lorraine!!).
I met the group of plein air artists from all around the region, some traveling two hours or more to get to our site. Most of the artists in the group are oil or pastel painters, and my friend Kathleen (http://www.geocities.com/gwinnettart/) who does fabulous watercolors was unable to make the event.
This fairly new plein air group (I undertand there are about 50-60 folks on the mailing list) was begun by Nancy and Harley Brookshire (http://www.outdoorpainter.org/). These eager and incredibly generous folks organize the ventures, choose the site, bring lunch, drinks, snacks, and offer enthusiasm and excitement for plein air. They typically hold an event each month.
We met at Quail Roost Farm in Durham -- a huge (over 800 acres) farm that was once a dairy farm and now a horse farm with riding schools, equestrian events and more. GORGEOUS barns, ponds, fields, trails, horses were there for us to paint.
The morning began with overcast skies, warming up slowly with the sun playing peek-a-boo with us all day long. After beginning a sketch or painting in cloudy gloom and then having the sun come out and brighten the scene changing EVERYTHING, I can only admire Karen Winters (www.karensblog.com) even MORE for all the glorious work she does in plein air. Talk about a challenge!
Nonetheless, I found a landscape I thought my novice abilities might be able to handle and parked my car and gear alongside. There was a wonderful clump of chickory (cornflower) against the pond and I spent the morning painting the scene. The birds, bees, one or two horse riders kept me company, and various artists would leave their spots and drop by for a chat and a bit of encouragement. Harley was a saint and would come by offering water and snacks as we painted. Were we spoiled!
We took a break at lunch and met at the sign-in table for more chat and site and work discussions. A truly wonderful group of artists.
After lunch, most folks selected another area to paint. More about that tomorrow.
What I learned -- plein air is plane challenging! But being outdoors all day was wonderful! We were graced with a warm day (low 80sF!) and though the sunlight was inconsistent, it was so balmy and so peaceful --- that if I did nothing yesterday but sit and watch everyone, it would have been worth the serenity and companionship!
I don't know how other plein air groups conduct their events, but having someone take care of site arrangements, lunch, drinks and details was a gift beyond measure -- giving us all time to focus entirely on our passion.
I also have to admit to a tad nervousness (LOL!!) about joining a group of artists who know one another and who have been at their art far longer than I! And to face barns (dang perspective!!! LOL) and horses (very new to me!) also contributed to a bit of fear. However, I am thrilled to say that the group's friendless, gernerosity , and encouragement helped to assuage my fears -- and I had a blast! I will definitely do more of these ... and again, thank YOU for your encouragement and Kat for introducing me to this group of wonderful artists!