Saturday, June 20 - There were no meetings, my schedule was my own, so allowed myself extra sleep and headed up late Saturday morning. It was going to be a hot humid day, heat in the upper 90s, typical climate for the middle of this North America continent. By 10 o'clock I was on the road with breakfast inside. 11 am I was in Marceline, and by noon I was painting beside a culvert shaded by a magnolia tree. My red vehicle was parked on the same side of the street to let neighborhood traffic know I was there. My ritual began with spraying bug repellent over arms, legs, neck, and face - eyes closed tight. Next, sunscreen was applied over the same areas. Wide brimmed straw hat on head, green apron secured, EasyL kit on its tripod, primed canvas panel in place, tube dabs squeezed on the glass palette, plastic spray bottle to keep the acrylic paints from drying out, retractable razor blade to scrape off dried paint, water holder, and brushes selected. Ready, set, hands frame the scene (above, Magnolia Creek - acrylic - 12 x 9/ RayMar cotton). That challenge gave me plenty to work with. Thin washes of green Viridian Hue were first dabbed on the white panel to make "a map," brush marks to position the cement incline, the center stone, the floppy leaves, the banks, the reflected sky on water. Alizeran Crimson and Viridian were mixed to make the darkest values. The palette also had Hansa Yellow Pale, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, and Titanium White. My eye moved around the design in a circular fashion. Whatever value was on my brush was added to all areas with the same value around on the picture. Billyo had said on Friday, the artist must pause and consider where one wanted to take the painting. The only other thing I might add was this piece took longer than usual. It was clocked on my time sheet at three and a half hours.
Around 3:30 pm the thunder sounded much closer, dark gray clouds dragged their tails toward the ground, it felt like rain might fall soon. I stopped painting, cleaned the brushes, scraped the palette clean, packed up the palette box, collapsed the tripod legs, dumped the dirty water, and loaded the backpack in my vehicle. As I drove away, it began to rain. I touched base with the NOMO gallery, sat down to rest my feet, and asked where the others were painting today.
Time for lunch!!! From 4 to 5 pm I enjoyed a reuben sandwich across from the city park, while sheets of rain fell outside. A local Little League baseball team were finishing their meal inside. Just passed 5 o'clock the rain subsided, and I drove back to Beebee's Creek. When I returned the sun was shining and a light mist made the air sweaty. Retracing my steps, I located my stick markers from the day before. A cascade of swift moving water drew my attention. (above right, Roaring Ditch - acrylic - 14 x 11/ RayMar cotton) I set up my equipment and mapped thin washes of paint on the white panel. There were not three masses or three values this time. My eye and hand flitted back and forth, hands framing up the image I wanted. Light rain made me stop, lean the panel against the tripod away from the rain, to keep paint from running down, to let it "dry," HA. I strolled across the lawn, looked at a cluster of willow trunks, the fast moving stream, considered whether the tree canopy above could shelter me, but no, there were bothersome drips falling there too, walked back to the painting, touched it up, and tore down my kit. That piece clocked on my time sheet at one and a half hours. Sweet.
The rain had ceased. At 7 pm I parked my vehicle further up Wilson Street across from the orange Jordan mailbox. A wide field to the south dipped down to a willow row and up to the skyline. I decided the light was not what I had loved the day before. Instead, settled on the vista looking west toward the village's water tower.(above, Vista I - Acrylic - 11 x 14/ RayMar cotton) Worked on atmosphere, lighter and lighter tree rows, the Beebee residence to the right, the light sky streaks around the white sun. That piece clocked on my time sheet at one hour.
I was so glad I had sanded and gessoed these panels the previous Monday in preparation for this day. All ready to go. At 8 o'clock I eliminated the road and join hedge rows from either side, then focused on the sky.(above, Vista II - Acrylic - 11 x 14/ RayMar cotton) Forty minutes later I pulled out my last panel for the night.
Ground fog was rising across the field to the south. The night was settling. Still, the humidity was high and the air muggy. (above, Vista III - Acrylic - 9 x 12/ RayMar cotton) In thirty minutes I roughed in the twilight, the ghostly water tower, unable to see the colors I was working with. As I laid the last panel inside my vehicle to dry, a sense of satisfaction spread through my being. Wow. What a run. I was happy with each one. At 10 pm I drove home slowly on double J, keeping eyes open for deer on the winding road. An hour later I was home. Walked my dog and got my shut eye. Thanks for Nyquil sleep medicine.
Sunday, June 21- Home-brewed coffee, a hot wrapped McGriddle sandwich on the seat next to me and on the road by 9. It was a bright morning, no clouds, another HOT day. By 11 o'clock I had retrieved my remaining sticks from the Beebee property. This time I settled on a sandbar with red bricks and crushed cement pieces, and gave thought to the wrinkles of light blue on trickling stream. (right, Reflected Blue - Acrylic - 12 x 9/ RayMar cotton) Laid in the upper end of the stream, smooshed the green fringe outline of the banks, and played with the lit bank portions. Where they warm light-oranges or cool orange-purples? As the sun rose higher behind me splotchy patches of shade disrupted my pursuit of the skyward reflections. I had to ignore what my eyes were seeing. A patterned arch of pebbles broke the surface into shallow rivulets. The rhythm of lilly stalks in the lower right cried for a greater presence. I ignored the sunlit greens and put them in shadow to call attention to the watery blues.
Upon completion the work reminded me of what Stuart Shils had said. Not to worry whether the picture reads clear or reads as "pretty." Let the abstraction and the balance of light and dark colors "speak." Capture the moment. I did just that.
At noon I touched up Magnolia Creek from the day before, bringing the sky and field in the upper right hand corner into harmony with the floppy leaves. Mrs. Beebee came out and invited me in for an air-conditioned break and a glass of lemonade. I declined politely, but showed her the panels in completion. She shared her thoughts. After she left, I signed my name to all six works. At 1:30 pm I took time to visit with the Beebees, have that iced lemonade, and examine the wood carved figures her husband had done. Very nice.
At 3 pm Darlene Gardner, Gloria Gaus, Nora Othic, Gloria Gooch, Richard Johnson, Alexa Dunham, and myself had returned to the gallery to enter fifteen paintings for the Artist Choice awards. I had six entries. One other had two. The rest entered one each. Painters voted for the three best works. Alexa won 1st place, Gloria 2nd place, and I tied 3rd place with Nora. Cash prizes were awarded. See all four Artist Choice winners.
Darrell Gardner let me chill out, rest my feet, and eat a bite in the cool of his home. By 7 o'clock I was on my way home. By 8:15 my dog was walked. By 9 o'clock I was dreaming about paint.
Monday, June 22 - I am always tired after art excursions. Today was more like a "body crash." Mind-fried, weak, down with diarrea, slept all day, and slept again all night. Wasn't worth a hoot! By Tuesday, my strength had returned. Excellent.