Saturday, July 26, 2014

Castine Plein Air Festival - Day 2

This morning's sunrise at the waterfront.  Looks to be a hot one!

After the first day's rocky start, all of the painters vowed to get up early to make for lost time. Friday was predicted to be sunny and mild - perfect plein air painting weather.

At 5:30 a.m., I drove down to the waterfront, where free wi-fi is available, to check e-mail and post my blog. (The Chromebook and I are gradually arriving at an understanding of one another, but I am still mystified by the inconsistency of where images end up in the much-despised  "Cloud.") Afterward, I took my coffee for a walk. I'd brewed a second cup to help me find my first painting spot. I had a big day ahead, as I planned to do four paintings. In these events, you make hay while the sun shines and then pick your best for the show. You can't say you'll just paint three great paintings - you'll never be that skilled nor lucky to paint all winners.

Although the waterfront is interesting with the training vessel, State of Maine, and all the pleasure craft, I really wanted something a little more along the lines of Emile Gruppe. Eaton's Boatyard, just behind Dennett's Wharf, was perfect. It has seaweeed-encrusted pilings, weathered clapboard, out-of-plumb angles and, yes, all the bric-a-brac that you'd expect in a boatyard. The tide was out and everything was backlit, which made for a perfect early morning moment.

While I painted, the owner of Eaton's came out briefly to let me know three other people had already painted his boatyard and wharf. He also let me know that the building was 202 years old. That sounded a bit of a fish tale, but what did I know? Later, an employee came out and wondered why I hadn't put any of the cars in my painting. I often find myself leaving out cars when I'm doing period pieces - they ruin the mood.

After finishing, I considered moving to another location, but the idea of picking up and moving for each painting seemed daunting and inefficient. So, I turned 45 degrees to the left and painted more of the boatyard. Some boats actually made it into this painting.

When I completed the second painting, I was pretty beat, but it was only 9:30. I wanted to sit for awhile. I went back to my car and called home to talk to Trina. Then I walked up the street for another coffee and poked around a little. I didn't really want to paint another waterfront scene. Buildings seemed to be next on my punchlist. But first, I decided to drive some of the smaller crossroads to see if anything looked interesting. Then I went home for an early lunch to refuel.

I ended up at the intersection of Court Street and Dresser Lane. Dresser has some lovely old homes on it and a curve that takes you down to the water. I was particularly taken by one Queen Anne home with a pair of turrets and bay windows. The light was nice in the early afternoon, too, so I set up at the intersection - somewhat out of traffic - to paint. The Maine Maritime Academy was on the other side of the street. As luck would have it, Friday afternoon seemed to be the time when the Academy's lawns needed to be mowed, so there was a good deal of racket and exhaust as I worked. These things just happen. I could write a book.

Three paintings down, and it was 2 pm. I had to be at a "Meet the Artists" reception at 5, so I didn't have much time for Number Four. I wanted something easy. I'd painted boats and buildings, all of which take a lot out of me. A pure landscape sounded like the perfect prescription. But it took me awhile to find it. I'd painted Wadsworth Cove last year and wanted something different, but after driving around for 30 minutes, I ended up at the Cove anyway. It was meant to be, though - the sky was beautiful with cumulus clouds building up. The last painting of the day didn't take long at all.

Home for a quick shower and a snack, and I also pulled out my seven paintings and selected five for the show. I also started the paperwork. There's more to a painting festival than just painting! Then it was off to the Castine Inn to meet the other artists, the volunteers, sponsors and festival committee members. The reception was on the shaded porch with a view of the garden.

Afterward, I drove around a little more. I have in mind to paint a 12x24 tomorrow, and I want something special for it. I'm not sure I've found it yet. Stay tuned!

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