I’ve been searching for something recently. The what & how of it is caught up in a longing I’ve had to draw/paint outdoors more. Every fall and spring this hits me pretty hard, yet I get stuck in the whole what-do-I-take, how-do-I-set-up, where-do-I-go?, will-I-be-safe thing. I’m aware these are all “blocks”. In the past I have succombed to these blocks. But I’m determined to “get over it” NOW! This little painting, though made in the comfort of my studio a couple of days ago, is helpful in many ways: I’m excited about the watercolor/pastel combo which solves the what-do-I-take question, and also leads me to realize how-do-I-set-up. I’d been wrestling with whether I only wanted to sketch outdoors, thus needing only pens and watercolor which would mean just a folding chair and probably no easel. If I chose to do purely watercolor, I may or may not have needed an easel, depending on size, etc. But now that I’m jazzed about these little watercolor/pastel combos, I have just the set-up with my Jullian French easel I’ve had for years, but which hasn’t seen a ton of outdoor use. It is perfect for an indoor easel where space is limited…I set it up when needed, and break it down when not in use. Now I’m setting my sights for giving it a go en plein air, which is what it was designed for.
“En plein air”…um, well, there’s the rub. Me, myself and I “in the open air” or “in plain view”. I think all these years the thing that really holds me back is your basic home-grown “fear”…I’m afraid I will not make very good paintings. The comfort of one’s studio lies in the ability to NOT SHOW what you are doing. If you go plunk yourself down in your downtown area, your public gardens, your neighborhood, or even your back yard, you are subject to onlookers. Can I handle this? Not sure about that, perhaps even doubtful…but I’m gonna plow through.
Even as I write, I’ve taken Jullian out for a spin in the back yard…I’ll show you what came of that in my next post. So this is how I’m gonna solve the where-do-I-go? issue: I’m starting on my back deck, and in my own yard. There are very paintable things right here, in the relative “safety” of my own yard. Then, I’ll branch out to my neighborhood and show you some of the beauty of what I see on my walks. Then, perhaps I’ll have some confidence and courage to go downtown, to gardens, to the school where I teach, etc. I hope you’ll come along with me on my little journey of “blasting through blocks”.
It does seem crazy that someone who has been painting and drawing for 13 years could still be so beset by fear!! But, there it is…and so, with sword in hand (or pastels rather), I take a whack at it.
P.S. A bit about the painting…you’ve heard me refer to Mr. Whicker’s farm just up the street at the entrance to our neighborhood. This is his driveway. Here’s a charcoal, larger version of the driveway which leads up to the barns on the right, not included in this little painting, nor is his house on the left. I did include my shadow which showed up while taking the picture. I want to sit/stand there, RIGHT THERE, and paint, paint, paint! No more photos!!
Oh, and the painting is 6″ x 6″.
And sorry for the looonnnngggg post!