Plein Air Painting

September 29, 2011

Even though the trees haven’t turned color here yet, The weather has been so perfect, moderate temperature and little wind, that I’ve been painting outside twice this week.  Autumn is absolutely the best time for it.  On Tuesday I painted with several other Lawrence, KS, artists at the overlook to Clinton Lake.  I wasn’t thrilled about going there because I had painted there a couple times this summer in a class.  But now I was going at a different time of day, morning, in a different season and the view had changed.  Most noticeable was a field of those yellow flowers with brown centers in the foreground.

I’ve noticed before how butterflies seem drawn to the bright colors on my palette and it happened again out here.  The same curious butterfly alighted on my palette several times.  I shooed it off before its tiny feet could become anchored in a blob of paint.  I still have some work to do on the 12″ x 16″ canvas, but I have a good start and like it better than what I painted this summer.

On Wednesday morning I drove out in the country to the home of an artist friend where several of us gathered to paint and then eat lunch together.  Her husband had mowed a path wide enough to drive a car through a pasture back to a small lake.  The rickety looking dock was hardly wide enough to hold both my chair and the TV tray I put my palette on, but the view was too good to resist.  It was a sunny day and the trees, grasses and weeds on the far shore were perfectly reflected in the still waters of the lake.  As a focal point one large tree in the center of the scene had a clump of bright red vines clinging to the trunk.  Yes, I know that it’s poison ivy, but it does look great in autumn from a distance.

It was such a peaceful scene with no man made noises at all.  But there was plenty of sound.  Insects humed amidst the trees.  Birds twittered and occasionally a fish surfaced and plopped back down into the lake.  A light breeze rustled the leaves. An artist couldn’t ask for anything more, except to hope that as I’m painting as fast as I can neither my palette or chair with me in it will topple over.

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