|Sara during the group critique session|
A hot day! Today Sara Poly's plein-air class went to Green Spring Gardens Park in Alexandria, VA. I knew exactly what I was going to paint--hydrangeas against the white picket fence. I had unsuccessfully tried the same subject twice last year, and was smarting from my failures. I had scores to settle, so to speak. I settled comfortably in the gazebo, which you can see from the above photo (say hi to my teacher, Sara, who is holding my painting during the lunch/critique session). Everything was going swimmingly until I was mobbed.
I can't say I am a veteran plein-air painter--I have been at it only for two years. Still, I had experienced my share of the usual difficulties, such as bugs, winds, heat, coldness, noise, crowds, etc. An entire class of second-graders on a field trip decided to take shade and have lunch in the gazebo! This was new. My things got knocked over; I was pushed over; and several children became art critics. What could I do? I turned into a painting stone, completely ignoring the goings-on around me. My art class had to wait for our turn until the kids left, and saw everything. They shook their heads; some chuckled.
Considering the duress under which I had to work, I think the painting turned out well. The class--my class--who have become good, fair critics, gave me an excellent advice about the big, trapezoid-shaped brick patio. It had to lie flat and be broken up somehow. So I introduced the wooden board leading into the picture on the far right and cooled the top portion so that it would recede. What a day!