Hayloft, watercolor, 21×14 in., originally uploaded by ahtravis.
Painting with friends
Painting can be a lonely activity. When regularly working in my studio I may go days without speaking with another adult. The need for human contact, to know others who share an enthusiasm or compulsion to paint outside are all reasons why my plein air painting group, East Branch of the Delaware River Plein Air Painters (EBDRPAP) is one of my most pleasurable associations.
Plein air painters paint outside. Painting directly observed subjects outside in natural light is certainly a philosophy of painting, a process and for me, an obsession. One doesn’t have to belong to a group to paint outdoors but painting in a group is fun and groups are proliferating throughout the United States and probably the world. So, it is easy to find painting friends.
At the first signs of spring I begin to tingle with the anticipation of joining my friends to respond to the stimuli of specific locations in 6 or 8 or 10 different ways depending on how many artists are gathered.
Throughout the summer I thrill to a sense of accomplishment as the paintings I am creating each week at our sessions multiply on my wall.
And in the winter, as I review those same paintings, I experience again, the warm sunshine, the cool of the shade, the bag lunch and conversation with friends, and delight of painting another glorious spot in my community.
“Hayloft” was created on a hot sunny day last August. Six painters had gathered at an old Catskill Mountains farm site with farmhouse, pond, a huge barn and a flower garden in full blossum. At midday the sun was so hot I sought the shade of the massive old barn.
This barn is still used so the smell of newly bailed hay was heady as I entered and waited for my eyes to adjust. As you can see from the image, there is a lot of light in a barn–the dazzleing, outside light visible through cracks and the soft, subtle light of the interior.
ahhhh. . . you and your groups. they have enriched your life at every stage.