I knew today would be blog day and I knew I wanted to have a new painting to blog about, but I sure didn’t know how much I would resist actually painting something outdoors. It’s my big dream. I should wake up in the morning excited at the possibility of trying it, right? Instead, I’ve been a little bit terrified of trying it, all week long. I procrastinated most of the week away and then, yesterday, I decided I really had to make myself paint something – anything.
I put on some old clothes. I checked my painting kit and made sure all the paints were in there, along with brushes, tiny canvases, a small panel, flow medium and a collapsible container for water. I checked my Sta-Wet palette to see if the paints had stayed wet. They had. I got a bottle of water and I started looking around for some kind of container to bring the yucky water home in. That stumped me for a while. Then I went to the garage to look for my tie-dyeing apron. I did not find my apron, but I did find lots of empty dye containers. I rinsed one out and put it with my painting supplies.
It was getting pretty warm outside by then, so I packed a couple of small cans of Coke in a cooler and put that with my painting supplies. I added a folding chair to the growing pile of things I was planning to load into my car. I put some larger canvases in a bag. I started loading these things up. It took several trips to the car and back, but I finally felt ready to venture out into the world.
I got in the car and drove to a nearby park. I drove around the park, looking for something I could paint. Nothing caught my eye. I drove to another park and started slowly driving by the playground, while mothers of small children eyed me with suspicion. I saw an attractive wooden building I remembered from my Girl Scout days, but there was no way to park close enough to it to paint it from my car. By this time, I had decided that I wanted to stay in my car. I didn’t think I would be shy about painting in public, but it turned out I was not just shy, but terrified. I wanted to find something I could paint from my car. I kept driving.
Finally, at the other end of the park, I spied a wooden fence and a small palmetto. I thought that I might be able to paint that. I parked the car. I took out a sketchbook and did a quick sketch of the scene. I quickly realized that all that stuff I learned about perspective would come in handy if I could just put it into practice on that fence. I did my best and finished my sketch. Then I pulled out a toned canvas and started sketching on that.
Soon, I was ready to try adding some paint. I looked around for my Sta-Wet palette. It wasn’t there. Somehow, I had loaded my pile of supplies into my car and left the Sta-Wet palette at home. I couldn’t paint without a palette and it was getting pretty hot in the car by then, anyway, so I gave up and went home.
This morning, I tried again. I looked at the canvas with the sketch on it and the perspective was really pretty horrible. I decided to try a whole different park and whole different idea. The park I found today has a lake with trees around it. This time, I had loaded up my Sta-Wet palette, so I could actually try painting once I finished my sketch.
Sigh…I still have no idea how to paint a landscape en plein air, but I plan to learn by trial and error, and that means I have to make a lot of errors. It’s hard to share this early attempt, but I am trying to remember that I will get better and my later attempts will look great when compared to this one.
I’m counting on it.