I did it. I participated in my first En Plein Aire event. Not, the monthly get out and paint with others get together which I had been dodging until the days get cooler. No, this was an all day event.
Forget easing in. No…. I went all in. I would seize the day! Until it seized me.
I had my faithful cart (from Academy Sports) carefully loaded with what I thought I would need to survive a hot Texas day at the local nature preserve. I had a small ice chest with a little ice, fortified water, paper towels, cooling cloths, snacks (packaged for a toddler because that was the only thing I could find with sliced apples), hat, a small folding chair (golf spectator type), my pochade box with paints, the tripod for the pochade, bug spray, portable battery for my cell phone (yep!), and numerous other small items in a tote that I always carry with me whenever I go paint.
I left the wine, boom box, portable fan, and pack of Depends at home. Didn’t want people to realize it was my first time en plein aire that wasn’t in my backyard. I did however, bring my “square” card reader… just in case someone walking by couldn’t live without whatever I wound up painting. You know, just practicing positive thinking.
I got there, signed in, picked up my info and goodie bag and headed for the trail along with several others. Luckily for me, my friend Beth had arrived at the same time. Beth volunteers at this nature preserve, so I hooked up with her. She knew where all the best shaded areas were.
After a few minutes of walking, we had arrived and I was ready to get at it! My pochade box, however, was not. It got into a fight with my tripod. Took me about ten minutes to get them to make up and work together. Easy snap on feature, my arse.
Once that was worked out. I could enjoy the day. I was a plein aire painter! Nature sang it’s song through the trees, the birds, the grasses. I was loving it. The heat would be ignored. The bugs dropping from the trees would be ignored. I wasn’t new to tuning things out, I have …
Did I mention that we were there during the annual Dinosaur exhibit at the preserve? Moving, life size dinosaurs. There was one right behind us. I knew it was there, how could you miss seeing it? Lovely fellow. However, it was… vocal. Roared a lot. Must have been an art critic at one time.
Then came all the parents with their kids. Kids who were there to see, squeal, cry like they were being forced to sit with Santa, and to roar back at the dinosaurs. Isn’t plein aire painting great!!
Stay tuned for Part Three. Or not.