Thursday, October 27, 2011

Sedona Plein Air Festival - Day 5

Jerome always comes up with the most interesting weather.  One year, we had snow squalls on "Jerome Day."  I remember Jill Carver bundled up and painting while the snow piled up on her palette.  We didn't have that yesterday, but we did have a terrific and sudden amount of rain.  There was even a tornado warning issued for Prescott, not too far away as the cloud flies.

Dawn came with just a few clouds.  After visiting the hospitality tent for a cup of coffee and half a bagel, I headed up the hill to a little park that overlooks the Spirit Room.  This is a popular bar furnished with pool tables and ne'er-do-wells.  But at 8 in the morning, its doors are shut, the billiard balls quiet and, I assume, the ne'er-do-wells elsewhere.  What I like about the Spirit Room is its shape and color.  It's a building with doors that open on the corner, and it has some beautiful greens in the trim.  Shadows from the buildings across the streets change the color in interesting ways.  It is Jerome at its most picturesque.

About an hour into the painting, the sun suddenly vanished.  An ominous cloud, stained with Prussian Blue, loomed over the mountain behind me.  When the first drops came down, I thought I'd wait out the shower and stand over my easel with the umbrella.  But then the blue deepened, the wind picked up and I heard my first crack of thunder.  Since I was in a high, exposed place, I decided to pack up.  No sooner did I get in the car than the rain began.

And it kept on.  I finally got tired of sitting in the car and, with my umbrella, made my way back to the hospitality tent.  I joined some of the other artists - Will Tapia, Tracey Frugoli and Betty Carr -  in keeping the tent from blowing away in the gusts.  The rain, wind and lightning went on for a good half-hour, maybe more, and I was thankful I'd chosen to not wait it out in the open.

The rain finally ended, blue sky opened up, and I was able to get back to my spot and finish the painting.  The shadows had changed completely, of course, but I always get those down first,  just in case.  Afterward, I went up to the Asylum restaurant with a fine view of the Verde Valley.  The storm had hunkered down over Cottonwood and Sedona, and I could tell it was unleashing a torrent.

Spirit Room Morning, 9x12, oil

Today, we're off to Los Abrigados in Tlaquepaque for the Quick Draw.   Then, later this afternoon, we turn in our paintings for the hanging.

By the way, this day marks six years of blogging - 673 posts, a prime number.


Marsha Hamby Savage said...

Michael, I have so enjoyed your posts and I miss being there. I painted that bar as a nocturne last time I was there with Mark Hembleben (sp?), Carol Marine and some others. Worst painting I did of the trip! Love your paintings you have done. Hope you sell loads.

Tony Donovan said...

Sounds like the last couple of days offered the usual challenges for plein air painters. Good thing you had the falafel sandwich and a hospitality tent.

Michael Chesley Johnson said...

Thanks, Marsha and Tony!

daniela.. said...

Oh! This is artist talk: "'s a building with doors that open on the corner, and it has some beautiful greens in the trim." I once asked my partner to meet me on a subway platform where the musky pink and brown graffiti looked so good on color of the subway walls....yes, well, it is planet artist stuff. Your colors are getting bright and vibrant, Michael.