Great American paint out 2017
I should not complain. I am not in the eye of hurricane Irma like thousands of Florida folks. Nor do I have to evacuate to a shelter or get help from the Red Cross due to flooding. Thank God I live in Maine! I can handle late summer-fall thunderstorms that turn into splattering, soaking rainstorms. On this pre-Irma storm day in East Boothbay, I happened to be participating in an American Oil Painter’s paint out. (A paint-out, for those non-artists reading, occurs when artists perform their craft anywhere outside among the elements. A.K.A plein-air painting)
Thirty one artists converged in Grimes Cove in East Boothbay. Our assignment was to paint this quaint cove complete with lobster boats, sailboats, rocks, waves, cormorants and with Ram Island light house in the distance surrounded by summer cottages. Who could ask for a better scene to fill a canvas? Plus, this day was christened THE GREAT AMERICAN paint-out by the organization called Oil Painters of America. In other words, artists in every state were all doing the same thing, painting plein-air Wednesday, September 6th! The Mid-Coast Chapter of PAPME, (the Plein Air Painters of Maine) in collaboration with the Boothbay Harbor Festival was holding an event called “A Stroke of Art” wet painting reception and sale at the Fisherman’s Warf Inn during the evening after our work was completed.
Stay dry under the hatchback door
It started out as a seemingly normal cloudy day along the coast. But, with the rash of hurricanes lately, people had learned from the “Weather Channel” the forecast was for rain. I brought my usual equipment, french easel, backpack filled with paints, brushes, paper towels, water, bug dope, sunscreen, energy drink and my trusty U-Maine golf umbrella. I was just like a girl scout: prepared! Other artists, like my friend Peter Yesis from Searsport, stood painting under the rear cargo door opened like a canopy. He had a front row parking spot along the cove road with a spectacular view. I on the other-hand arrived slightly later than most artists after my 2 1/2 hour drive from Orono. I did not get as good parking location. Therefore, I had to venture out on the rocks to set up my easel. Hey, it’s not going to rain until much later, I thought.
One can use optimism as a means of protection from negative thoughts, but not to keep dry. I had only been painting short time when Corinne McIntyre, PAPME president, corralled all participating artists for a photo shoot. This activity cut into my all ready shortened painting time, but it reminded me of taking ice hockey team photos at Cornell! Go team! This is when, I noticed everyone was wearing a hat of some sort, another method used to keep sun and water out of your face! But, not today, as I would soon discover. Almost immediately after the photos, I was back at my easel, I watched the fog start to roll in. White mist started to consume my little scene. Across the bay, the houses turned into Stephen King’s ghost house in “IT”. I felt a drop splatter on my pallet. Maybe, it will just be a quick shower. Not to worry, it’s oil paint…water can’t ruin oil paint, right!?
Water and oil don’t mix
I got an A in chemistry at Waterville HS. I reasoned, no problem with my canvas as I hurriedly packed up my gear because water will not hurt oil paint. But, I had to place my unfinished painting on the rock ledge as I folded the legs of my easel, snapped it shut and stuffed items into my backpack. Opps, it’s raining harder, and now for the mad dash to my truck all the way up the hill from the public landing. All the while, carefully grasping my painting trying to prevent smudging. Oh yeah, it was covered with rain smears. Maybe my paint is cheap, or maybe the water was just too much, like the storm surges in Miami. Whatever the reason, my gray/blue/green paint had mixed with the magenta under coating on my canvas. I’m done, I thought.
Sitting sopping in my truck, I had forgotten my rain slicker. I was wet and my canvas looked bad and my attitude was dismal. It was brutal out. Wow, I got inside just in time! I can only image all the poor people in Florida and Texas. The waves were crashing and I could not see out of my wind shield. After making this comparison, I changed my point of view. Snap out of it! Just paint over this mess and get it together, I told myself! I squirmed around in the driver’s seat, reached for my paints and brushes and set up with the steering wheel as my easel. After three hours, I had rearranged the composition into a rainy day piece. It was due at the reception at 5:00 PM.
Hide under the wharf
After a paint-out, the next step for the artist is to frame their canvas, while wet, another small feat! I planned to relocate maybe under a dock somewhere to accomplish this task. Luckily, my artist friend, Candy McKellar let me dry off in her cottage and change my clothes. She made me tea and her husband helped me frame my painting too. I deeply appreciate their assistance and hospitality! The paint-out reception was held in Boothbay Harbor at the Fisherman’s Wharf Inn. Perfect, stay dry at the wharf! Volunteers set up table easels for us to display our work so that potential customers could purchase them. The restaurant had a stunning view of the harbor. It was a lovely venue even if there was a little precipitation.
Raindrops keep falling on my head
A comment made from an experienced artist at the reception was “people don’t buy rainy day paintings.” I am asking my readers if you agree with this comment. Would you purchase a rainy themed piece of art? Which do you prefer, the painting above or the painting below, a sunny day painting. Send me an email, email@example.com all those who respond I will pick one person to receive a 5″ x 7″ print of a painting of mine! Thank you! If anyone is interested in participating in a paint-out there is a paint-out this week-end in Millinocket, part of the Trails End Festival. Contact North Light Gallery in Millinocket, firstname.lastname@example.org Also, the Paint Bangor event sponsored by the Bangor Art Society is being held during the city of Bangor’s Artober Celebration, October 1-17th, with a wet paint auction to be held on Tuesday, October 17th, at 193 Exchange Street. Registration can be made on line at thebangorartsociety.com Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, if you like it please share!