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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Deering Estate Affair en Plein Air Diary

Chance of Showers, 12" x 16"
Guest writer Linda Apriletti
This past weekend I participated in the "Deering Estate Affair en Plein Air" held on April 17-18. We had from 9 am to 4 pm to paint on Saturday and from 9-3 on Sunday so I decided to do a morning painting. My best bet would be to let the weather inspire me to paint something catching the mood of the Deering estate that weekend. Maybe something moody looking over the water and mangroves if the weather turned out to be as predicted. Leading up to the event I was checking the weekend weather report which was rapidly deteriorating to scattered showers on Saturday and 60% chance of rain on Sunday.

Saturday morning started out with slivers of sun here and there but overall very cloudy overcast skies. I drew a small value sketch of the shapes and values of the sky, water and mangroves to figure out my composition, then blocked in the values on my canvas with paint and got started. It was so windy. Not so bad near the house, but by the water it was almost a gale force constant 25+ mph and very frustrating. I anchored down my easel with bungees attached to weighted objects and then tried to use a royal palm trunk to block some wind but it didn't do much good and I often had to hold onto canvas to steady it when the worst gusts came.
The annual Baynanza cleanup was held on Saturday morning and one of the gathering locations was the Deering Estate along with a smorgasbord of tents, festivities and music all morning down by the royal palms. The boyscouts were having a very hard time paddling their canoes out to collect trash from the mangroves and they eventually tied up their canoes by the water where I was painting and came ashore. They did a great job of cleaning up the mangroves based on the trash count in the canoes.
More clouds accumulated as I painted and an hour in it looked like we could have rain any time. That's when I came up with the name for my painting, "Chance of Showers". I often have a hard time with titles but this one was easy. There was a pretty constant light over everything so painting past the morning didn't cause confusion with chasing the light. I wrapped up my painting around 2:30 and turned it to the overnight wet paint room.

Sunday morning I awoke to drizzle and pale gray skies. It just turned into harder rain as the day progressed. We were allowed to paint from the porch if it was raining but I didn't feel inspired by the wet gray day and decided not to try a second painting. Instead I waited and arrived at Deering around 2, made a few minor finishing touches to my painting and turned it in. The sunshine actually came out when I arrived and I found Perri Cox on the porch working on a new palm painting while she was sheltered from the wind behind some shutters. Mr Sheldon, the president of Northern Trust Bank was invited by the Grovehouse Artists to be the juror this year in appreciation for his generosity in funding the entire plein air event. Just as Mr Sheldon finished with his judging and Barbara Tejada announced the award places, we heard the first crack of thunder and everyone quickly departed. It poured the rest of the day. My painting didn't place in this event but I felt I came up with a good painting. I felt like I was successful in expressing and keeping the mood in my painting, and it feels like it's going to rain.

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