Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Plein Air Perils

Morning Over the Saybrook Point lighthouse
16x20, oil/panel
$500, unframed

Beside the Tracks, 9x12 oil/linen

$375, unframed

Today was a beautiful day. The summer solstice, the very first day of the summer! And it's a good thing it was such a beautiful day because everything else went wrong!!! I started out by zooming to McDonalds to grab breakfast. I had just enough time to do this. Then IT began. The person in front of me on the drive throught line had some kind of problem with his/her order and I waited and waited and waited. He/she finally pulled out of line and let the rest of us get on with it. I got to DEP park that has a long boardwalk that runs alongside the Connecticut River in Old Lyme, just gorgeous! I unloaded my gear to find that the artcomber cart that hauls my French easel was broken, the wheels wouldn't turn smoothly. Hmmmm. don't know what's wrong, so I decide it's best to leave it in the car rather than chance making it worse. OK, I find a fabulous spot to paint with a view of the Saybrook Point Lighthouse. I get out my brushes and one falls, perfectly vertically, and goes right through the space between the boards and into the water below. Oh well, I have lots of brushes (even if that was a favorite one) The painting goes along fine until I step back about 6 feet to take a good look at it and the wind (which was previously non-existant) kicks up and blows my easel over. I dive to catch my painting and it's plastered all over me, my black t-shirt now is covered with sky and my kahaki shorts with the color of the river. I look teriffic (NOT!) No real damage to the painting though, so I continue to work. Finish the first and begin a second painting. Painting is going along fine, time for lunch. I set my first larger painting on the bench while I break down my easel only to find it must have broke when it blew over and now the drawer and palette won't sat inside it when I carry it. Wondering how I'm going to manage getting a broken easel and two wet paintings back to the car. Hmmmmm? The French easel can carry a wet painting clamped to its top, which is what I intend to do. So I carefully nudge the first painting that's sitting on the bench forward to pick it up and it slips through the slats in the bench. I am NOT making this stuff up! One whole section of the painting is smeared and I spend 15 minutes repairing the damage. Good Grief!! If it wasn't such a beautiful day, such a beautiful place and the first day of summer to boot I could have really been in a bad mood. But the beauty of the day carried me along. I went to a local deli and got lunch( including a brownie to make me feel better!) came back and visited with the other artists in the group over lunch. It's not always easy out there without the comforts of the studio but I think it's still worth it! Despite all the annoyances it was a joy to be there and record my impesssions of a day and time that will never come again.


Jo Castillo said...

Ahhhh, Jan. Sounds like one of my days. The paintings are beautiful and as you say, the first day of summer.


Ed Terpening said...

The next time someone asks me "how long does it take you to paint one those", I'll point to your blog post. It's more then years of training, it's dealing with elements of all kinds, people, insects, weather, you name it!

Glad to see other plein air bloggers! Mine's at

Laura said...

Oh NO! What an awful series of mishaps! So glad you stuck with it, with such good grace, too. And look at the paintings that resulted--ample compensation ;D.

Jan Blencowe said...

Hi jo, thanks fore visiting! I left a comment over at your blog! Very lovely work! Thanks for visiting!

Ed...plein air is definitely not fot the faint of heart LOL. I've been to your blog many times...why on earth haven't I linked you here?? I will do that today!

Laura...somedays your the windshield and some days your the bug LOL...

Happy Creating everyone!