May 31, 2012
I painted outdoors yesterday on the land of an artist friend who lives in the country. Six of us were there, more than usual. The weather was perfect, no wind, neither too hot nor too cold. “Everything is so green,” I remarked to our hostess. It is hard, at least for me, to paint a scene of unremitting green, trying to figure out how to vary the color. Then we entered her extensive garden. When we came to where the blueberries were ripening, I knew I had found my spot. The branches had an almost Oriental feel and the ripening berries ranged from pale green to almost pink to a deep blue.
Plein air painters often attract kibitzers, people mostly, when artists paint in public spaces. But painting in the country, I’ve noticed that even the wildlife are interested in what I’m doing. Once I had a deer stand behind me only about eight feet away just looking. Yesterday it was the butterflies who were most curious (Hackberry butterflies my friend said). Several of these delicate brown and beige little creatures landed on my easel and canvas over and over as the painting progressed. But I fear the curiousity of two of them may have caused their demise when they landed in blobs of acrylic paint on my palette and could not extricate themselves. I helped them pull loose as best I could, but weighted down with paint, they didn’t seem able to fly and quickly fluttered to the ground.
At noon we artists sat on the porch talking and eating the lunches we had brought, happy and cheerful after a good morning. But two of our number have cancer. One has had surgery and is now doing chemo. The other, after a reoccurence is having surgery soon. When we will meet again like this is hard to tell. But I will have the memory of this day and when I finish it, a painting of blueberries.