Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"Downtown Milford" -- plein air oil study -- 9x12" birch panel -- Margie Guyot

My friend Tammy and I decided to meet in Milford yesterday morning at 7 so we could paint some long-shadow paintings. Most plein air painters love early mornings or late afternoons because of the exciting shadow and light combinations. Or, as my favorite teacher, Clyde Aspevig says, "Mid-day you sit in the shade and drink wine."

The first place we painted was in Milford's little park, overlooking a pretty lake. It looked just like something out of a Thomas Kinkade print (ha ha). Golden light was streaking across the drifts of waterlilies, ducks were paddling about and the trees were glowing, with wonderful blue shadows contrasting against the glowing greens.

About 10 minutes into our paintings, the park maintenance trucks roared up to dismantle the tents and porta-potties from the weekend's festival. They loaded all the porta-potties onto a trailer and parked it close by us. Last week we painted downwind from a pig farm; now this! Across the lake, workmen started cutting down trees, in preparation for tearing down an old house (undoubtedly to be replaced by one of those big "monster" houses). So painting isn't always the idyllic experience.

This painting shown above is the second one I did yesterday morning. We'd gone for a great breakfast at Dimitri's in town and set up our easels on Main Street. There are small locust trees planted along the sidewalk and we stood under one for shade. Besides being "stunk-out", we're very tired of being "fried in the sun".

When Tammy had said she wanted to paint buildings, I wasn't thrilled about the idea. All those doggone windows! All those rectangles! I shuddered. However, to tell the truth, I AM getting a little tired of painting all that green and blue. And it seemed highly unlikely that a truckload of porta-potties would be parked in front of us there, so I doggedly proceeded to paint.

Heck -- I was surprised to find that I enjoyed painting this! Not so much that I enjoyed painting the windows, but I enjoyed painting "colors other than green". And it was fun to paint the sharp, angular shapes of the buildings. In other words, it was a refreshing challenge!

Besides stinky situations and burning sun, another problem arrived: trucks parked in front of us, blocking our view! A big van parked right in front of Tammy. The people didn't put any money into the parking meter and they left to go shopping for about 3 hours. So she was pissed-off the whole time.

I finished mine early and sat at a little table on the sidewalk, enjoying a beer. Then went shopping ---- yaaaaaay!