Yesterday afternoon, I caught some magic light. This location was about a two minute walk from the house we’re staying at. A quiet spot in the countryside, no audience, no distractions, nothing… plein air bliss, is what I call it. Even the weather cooperated, if only for a little while.
This trip has taught me many things, but most importantly, how to deal with all kinds of adverse conditions and still paint, no matter what! Terrible light, winds, rain, cold… I think I had it all in the last two weeks! While it is a bit frustrating to come so far and be subjected to the worst, weather wise, it is also a great learning experience.
The worst I have to deal with in California is that my pigment dries too quickly. It is simply always a sunny and mild day. In Germany, I was lucky to be able to save my painting during an unexpected downpour, half-way through, with temperatures dropping about 15 degrees within five minutes. Truly a different world!
When picking a plein air spot, I make sure I am in close proximity of some shelter. It could be an awning, a roof or even a tree in the countryside. You can’t start looking when the weather turns, it’d be too late! Another important thing is access to a rest room and lastly, to position myself out of the way. People can be very rude and you want to make sure no one keeps bumping against your easel while you’re painting.
Oh, and another thing: absolutely wear headphones! It is a must. Otherwise, you’ll get someone asking you for directions or any other inane thing…. As painters we are constantly mistaken for tour guides. I don’t know what it is that would make somebody ask an artist questions like that, but it is very annoying!
However, we shall not be deterred!