Friday, October 26, 2007

Sedona 07 - Day 5

Another warm and beautiful day. After yesterday's mishap, I decided to go to a calm place where it would be quiet and lovely so I could regain my focus. I drove out to Red Rock State Park. It opens at 8 a.m., well before most tourists are up and about. I knew I could get a painting done before it got too busy.

I'd visited and painted the park last year. I remembered from one hike some beautiful, old Arizona sycamores that I wanted to paint. Reaching them required a hike, so I reconfigured my backpack and equipment so I could carry everything on my back. I never did find the sycamores -- I must have missed a turn -- but I did find a sunlit grassy field, a cottonwood in its autumn finery, and a backdrop of red rock. Painting this one was like meditation. Every brush stroke was as easy as taking a breath. This 9x12 oil will definitely be one of my top three for the week.

By the way, here are two photos I took at that spot. One is my easel set-up at the location, and the other a photo of this happy painter. (I have a very long arm.)

It was lunchtime when I finished, so I drove back into town to dine with the other artists at The Orchards, a restaurant that is run by L'Auberge, the Festival's main sponsor this year. Lunch was superb -- French onion soup, grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce with dried cherries and apples, followed by a huge slab of cheesecake. I sat with Cody DeLong and commiserated over Wednesday's efforts. Cody, too, had suffered Wednesday, and noted he'd actually scraped out one painting. This is not a bad practice, as it wipes the mental slate clean, too, and gives you a fresh start.

Although it was tempting to take a siesta after the big lunch, I headed back to the park. I wanted to paint water again -- it was 85 degrees -- and I had spotted a bridge wide enough for me with room for people to pass. This painting came easily, too, and it will also be one of my top three.

While painting, my paint box suddenly began to jerk left and right every time I laid down a stroke. Examination showed that a certain screw had loosened on the tripod's quick-release head. The manufacturer had given me a special wrench to tighten this. I had used it just once, back when I assembled the tripod for the first time. I'd put it in the tripod's carrying bag and never taken it out again. But when I looked for it, it was gone. My left hand has had lots of practice steadying the umbrella in this week's wind, so it was ready to steady my box, too.

On the way home, I had to track down a hardware store so I could buy an Allen wrench. I also stopped by the Sedona Art Center to pick up my frame order from King of Frame. Finally, I also did a load of laundry, since I was on Day Seven of a seven-day supply of clothes. By the way, I did not clean my brushes. In fact, I haven't cleaned them all week! That is a time-consuming task and hard to do when you're bone-tired at the day's end. All my brushes are either green or red. But you know, I've found it doesn't matter! I'm still able to lay down clean colour. This is an important discovery. The only issue, I suppose, is paint drying on the brushes. Painting every day keeps the brushes wet. Once I see a break coming in my daily routine, most likely after the Quick Draw on Saturday, I'll give them a good lathering.

Tomorrow: Framing. And then we drop off our finished, framed pieces at SAC between 4 and 6. I'm hoping to paint one more winner before I frame.

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