Saturday, June 21, 2014

Be Prepared

5" x 7" Oil on Panel
The title of this post (with a nod to the Boy Scouts of America) is admittedly advice I've never been able to fully achieve. Try as I might, occasionally something will come along that catches me completely off guard. Sometimes more than occasionally. Maybe I'm being increasingly prepared to be surprised.

As an outdoor painter, I try to be prepared to paint whenever the opportunity presents itself. I always have something to sketch with. As much as possible I keep painting supplies in my car, ready to go. Some painting trips are planned. Some are spur of the moment opportunities.

The day the painting shown at the top of this post was was made, I really was just out for a late afternoon walk by the lake. Much of last year's marsh grasses were flattened, and one could walk out on marsh grass mats over shallow water without getting your feet wet. So that's where my walk took me. While out on the bunched phragmites mats, I saw some trees growing on slightly higher ground near the marina. Deciding to paint those trees, I walked a few minutes back to my car where I retrieved a tripod, a 5 x 7 pochade box, and a couple other pieces of painting equipment. Back out on the marsh I set up he painting gear and got to work painting.

The phragmites mats make for unstable "ground." The thickness of these marsh mats varies. If you step on the thinner areas, your foot can go right through and into water. If you stand in one spot on the thicker patches of marsh grass it slowly sinks until you suddenly discover you've acquired damp feet. Walking around on the mats after setting up the tripod and paintbox caused the painting gear to wobble around and almost fall over a few times. In spite of having all this "fun," it was a great afternoon to be out painting. I'm glad I could do more than just wish I had brought some painting gear along.

No comments: