Sunday, June 25, 2006

One way to Beat the Heat.

First of all, I told all of this story yesterday in stunning, enthralling prose, and as I tried to add a photo, Blogspot ATE my new entry. No blog; no picture; no recovery, and six or eight of my usual meaty paragraphs evaporated. Humbug!

Briefly, the day was spent in a campground in the coastal mountains of western Oregon as I participated in my first true plein air paintout on location. Artists from several kinds of groups have several chances a month to join a very loosly organized outing to do art on site in various kinds of interesting or beautiful locations. This spot was at the bottom of a deep forested valley along a cobblestone creek bed under an almost total forest canopy. In just a few rare places did the sun actually reach the stream, and that is where we settled in for about four hours. Some did pastel, a few worked in watercolor, one older Chinese fella chose to paint in black ink with colored inks as tinting, and the rest of us (three in all) stuck to oil painting.

I have spent most of six months modifying a Russian Yarka art box to be as self-sufficient as possible on this kind of paintout. I did not concentrate on producing a grand work, but tried out the modifications and unique design ideas, sampled my various new and "experienced" paints, tested various brushes and palate knives, and generally did a trial run with all equipment and supplies I have concentrated, condensed, and crammed into the kit. Mostly I am pleased, although a few more minor problems remain to be solved.

I did not realize what a reaction I would receive on this particular equipment as this is the first time ever that anyone outside immediate family has seen the box. Several of the group recognized the pochade immediately as a Yarka, made in Russia, and quite desirable and hard to obtain. I was pressed for every detail of owning a Yarka (See * below), and for a specific tour of each modification and addition. A couple of the artists had read the initial article which got me started because it is partially included in a popular plein air artbook owned by several who were present. It was hard to not appear too pleased at the attention. (I didn't mention why the importer sent me a brand new second box for fear of seeming to be too smug as a newcomer.)

Betty came along to encourage and meter out lunch and enjoy the cool of the day in the woods by the water. We probably come home too soon, since it was still 90+ at home when we arrived. I enjoyed the day, the painting, the test of gear and supplies. I'm looking forward to the next opportunity for a paintout. There are hundreds/thousands of places to keep your cool and paint it too. A murmuring streamside is one of the best.

Do you want to come along too?

(* = Two words: Garage Sale. And here is "the rest of the story". When I called the supplier to replace a broken clasp, they did not have any spare parts and sent me an entire new box by way of apology! Now the Yarkas are no longer available since the manufacturer stopped producing them. Serendippity!)


At 5:21 PM, Blogger Patty said...

Thanks for sharing about your day. Next time you want to post a phot, may I suggest you save your draft of words before messing with pictures so you don't lose EVERYTHING.


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