In Plein Air

June 22, 2011

The plein air class met once again at Potter’s Lake on the KU campus Monday evening at 5 p.m.  The weather was hot but not impossibly so and grew cooler as time passed.  I set up my easel rather precariously under a large tree at the edge of the lake looking toward the stone bridge that once again that evening for a little while was being used as a prop for photos.  The water beneath the bridge was a dark olive green overlaid with lighter olive green lily pads.  The evening was thankfully devoid of the rustle of wind with only the deep croak of frogs adding a background to the placid scene.  I used a 12″ x 16″ canvas and completed recording the image, although it will need touching up at home using the photo I took as reference.

I bought a backpack for this class and find it a great help in hauling water bottles, thermos, paper towels, plastic trash sack, snacks, etc. to the site in one trip.  I learned some time ago always to bring two containers of water in case one should spill and there is no source of water close by.  (I don’t think the murky lake counts.)  Also, don’t use glass water containers.  I was painting once sitting on a concrete walk when my glass water jar slipped off the TV tray holding my palette and shattered all over the place.

This morning I was once again painting in plein air but in different circumstances.  I was sitting in a friend’s yard painting her deep crimson day lilies.  Having the view I wanted meant sitting in the sun.  It’s always a good idea to bring along a hat and long sleeved shirt and to wear long pants.  This morning was also very windy and the wind was blowing toward me, threatening to send my easel and painting tumbling over into my lap.  I was painting with my right hand and steadying my easel with my left.  I use a paper palette because all I have to do to clean it is tear off a sheet.  But this means making sure I bring clips so that a page full of paint doesn’t blow upward at the unattached corners on a windy day.  But it was a gloriously sunny and cool morning and great to be outside in spite of the wind.

I’ve posed my painting of Potter’s Lake on the page showing paintings of Lawrence.

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