Wednesday of Plein Air Week II

The class arrayed on the hill above the Clark

Today we walked calmly up the hill behind The Clark (two of us wisely bringing our stuff with us because we knew we weren’t going up and down and back up again!) and we painted as the clouds came and went and light played on the hills. The only logistical problem of this hill is that it’s a cow pasture and as such has a lot of cow patties so you have be a little careful walking but more importantly you can’t just plop your bag and stuff down any old place. Just sayin’. Sometimes it has cows in it too.

I did not overlook any cow pies today. I found a place between some trees to stash my backpack. I did manage to pick up some nice quin gold deep on my sweater sleeve which I was able to get mostly out using a wet rag that was handy. One of the times that using a water-soluble paint is an advantage.

I thought I’d start out today doing a sketchbook painting before doing a flat paper thing. Too fussy. So I tried to work simpler with each piece and that was pretty successful.

Prepping the palettes

Today was the day I sat down with my two “travel” palettes to refill and reorganize. I will be doing a week of plein air over at the Clark at the beginning of October so this will give them a little time to set up and behave. I’m waiting for the Fed Ex guy to arrive with my new tripod, having realized the other night the head on the other one wasn’t working right – it looks like it’s missing a part. It works but doesn’t lock the plate in place. So here’s to v.2.

My goal today is to get it all into a backpack. Come on Fed Ex guy!

Painter…

I signed up for another weeklong painting class (not just watercolor – do your own medium, but plain air with some bonus stuff from The Clark) through IS183.org. October 1 is too early for real snow, right?

The painter of the future will be a colorist in a way no one has been before. — Vincent van Gogh

Sunday Road Trip

This morning, it couldn’t quite make up its mind re rain but then the sky opened up to blue and the car pointed northward.

I wasn’t convinced I’d get a chance to paint without getting rained on, so I headed up to Bennington. Wandered around the Old First Church’s graveyard where Robert Frost is buried and looked at a lot of other interesting gravestones. Many of them had quotes on them, including Frost’s with its oft-cited “I had a lover’s quarrel with the world”. There’s a nice little trio of birches planted near the Frost family graves.

I thought this was an interesting snippet of verse made more interesting by the problem of gravestones being vertical rather than horizontal:

Could modest worth elude the grasp of death
This virtuous fair had ne’r resign’d her breath
She ne’r had wing’d the long, the glorious flight
To seats of bliss, to realms of sparkling light.

Then I drove down 7 enjoying the views of Pownal VT. This led me right to The Clark. I went in and got tagged (being a member includes free entry) and filled my waterbottle before walking part way up the hill. There I sat in the shade and painted while people walked up and down the path. I could watch them visiting with the cows who at one point took over the paved path. A woman walked by with two chihuahuas and I soon heard serious barking but the cows didn’t budge. As the trio walked back past me I mentioned I’d heard some attempt to do cow-herding? The lady laughed and said these were city dogs and had never encountered cows before but now they had. And hopefully the experience would have tired them out for the remainder of their trip home.

Here’s what I painted, first in my sketchbook and then two on paper. Little kids were curious as were many adults. One boy asked me LOTS of serious questions: what was the second pot of water on the ground for (brush cleaning)? why were there no cows (will do them last. He pointed right to the spot where the cows SHOULD be!) had I done the painting lying on the grass too? (yes). A couple people told me I’d “nailed” the clouds. One lady told me she did acrylics because she didn’t get how to keep the colors separate in watercolors. Ah…

For more photos, here’s a Flickr album to click on:

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Sunday at The Clark

I went over to see the new exhibit at the Clark: Women Artists in Paris, 1850-1900 and had a good time looking at the paintings. First off, they are, as a whole, much larger than you might expect. I will have to do more reading about this – maybe it’s what people who’ve been to real painting school do.

I took down this quote, her reflection on being an artist after returning to her homeland of Finland (where she did not exhibit for a decade):

How right you were when you wrote about museum men, critics. They kill everything that is your own, beautiful and alive, and take what is already a success. The little and poor just paint and struggle, they can die unless they love their work, then they live, rather briefly, yet forever.
— Helene Schjerfbeck, 1919

After enjoying the exhibit, I took some paint supplies up the hill and painted awhile.. There were a lot of people around and they came and went frequently. Many people commented on the little bit of trash that someone had left in the sculpture/building we were in, the Crystal, but no one picked it up to carry down the hill; I did though when I left. If there had been a broom handy, it needed a good sweeping out of all the rocks that kids bring with them.

Then it was off to have dinner with Mom and that was the end of my travels for the day.

May Day, 2018

Happy May Day! I took myself on a little vacation from writing today, after writing a poem each day for all of April.

It was warm and mostly sunny and I had reserved a spot in a rare books something at the Clark. They’d sent a reminder email and I was thankful and I’m so glad I went. Besides hearing about the library and its collection and how to access it, we heard about an interesting array of “childrens” books – and passed them around the table to look at! There was much surprise expressed about this. I think we all expected either to be just shown the books or to wear gloves. One of the books was from the late 1600’s – considered to be the first known instance of the idea of Mother Goose – from France! It had been rebound by Mr. Sterling and was beautiful, as were many of the selection – beautiful marbled endpapers, beautiful illustrations and typography. A man who sat near me taught me how to look for the bookbinder’s signature. A good and welcome new skill.

I went with a bit of time ahead of it to do a little painting, of course and it was a pleasure to sit outside in the warm sun.

Sunday at The Clark & Sketchbooks

Painting up on the hill:

Tomorrow I start a short online course about using sketchbooks so these warranted another look at in the last tour of Drawn from Greatness. Degas and Cezanne! There was also a sketchbook (noted that it appeared to have been used as a phone message book…) used by Jackson Pollack. No photos allowed of that one.