Sunday, April 18, 2010

When There's a Will, There's a Way

My last blog entry was about the generosity of strangers. Unfortunately, not all strangers are created equal. Late this afternoon, I was kicked off “private property” while painting. After all the years I’ve been plein air painting, this was a first.

My dear friends and fellow artists, Amanda Fish and Larry Bates have been visiting since Thursday. We’ve painted several scenes throughout Sonoma and Napa. Several vineyard pieces from our time together are on my website’s fresh paint page.

But, back to the story. The three of us found a beautiful late afternoon vineyard scene. We were impressed with the “certified organic” sign at the property entrance. Missing was the “artists keep out” sign. The row of eucalyptus trees along the road made for shade and there was plenty of room for our three easels. No grapes were harmed in the making of this painting. Well underway and who should drive up the driveway, but a Lexus SUV. Mid brushstroke, the car stopped, the tinted window on the passenger side descended, and I began to think we might not be offered an invitation to explore the property fully like my apple orchard stranger. When a plump wagging finger poked out of the now open winder, we half expected the “this is private property” lecture that followed. We promptly left, but luckily digital camera shots were taken prior to starting the painting. Although I would have loved to have finished it entirely plein air, when there is a will, there is a way. No one was going to ruin this gorgeous Sonoma afternoon. When it is finished in my studio, I'll post it. Here is another vineyard painting, Rows and Rows, 8 x 6, I painted while Larry & Amanda were in town.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Generosity of Strangers

There are days when driving around to find the perfect composition consumes as much time as the painting execution. Fairfield has hidden beauty as found in Apple Orchard Blossoms above. While exploring recently, I met the owner of an apple orchard. When he found out I was a plein air artist, he generously welcomed me to paint throughout his property as often as I desired. Over three days, I worked on this painting and found it quite a challenge as I had never painted apple blossoms before. This view would not have been available to me had it not been for the generosity of the orchard owner. During my second outing, workers were burning a pile of dead tree limbs in the field of my painting. So that day, I turned my attention to this 5 x 7, Edge of the Apple Orchard. One of the many joys of outdoor painting is never quite knowing what you will find and remaining open to a plan B as well as the generosity of strangers.