Monday, July 2, 2012

Plein Air Painting: La Deuxième Partie

It takes courage to paint outside... out where people can watch and lurk as you work.

It's kinda odd... I know this firsthand.

Where I'm blessed to live in the city -- on a shady corner lot in a seriously Leave It To Beaver type of 'hood -- well, the neighbors are always outside.  There's no real privacy.  Whether they're walking doggies or out for a morning run, I fear hearing their "hey, Tam, whatcha doing...?"

Who could blame them?
It's a pretty curious sight when I paint en plein air.
My easels are multiple sawhorses -- and occasionally,
a V-8 truck.

My canvas is usually a reclaimed wooden board or paneled door fragment that's as tall as I am.  And my brushes aren't always artists brushes.  Sometimes they're straight out of aisle #7 at Lowes.  Lengths of chain may also be involved.  A girl's gotta get her aggression out somehow.  Lately, my favorite way is through 100 grit sandpaper -- and it definitely shows on a manicure!
Such unusual tools produce a distressed, relaxed result that I find appealing.  My coastal artwork and quarterboards aren't pristine and crisp.  Think rustic.  Textured.

Like antique signs made daily.

"But, um, is it finished...?"

That's how very polite Mary queried me recently, with her impatient Jack Russell terrier exploring about.
Indeed it is finished... and complete.  The chippy, aged patina is quite deliberate.  See the hand rubbed wax finish over the lovingly distressed paint treatment?  It's done in several thin, careful layers... and it takes hours to complete, believe it or not.

I understand her perspective, to be honest.
Where I live, it's more like the oriental rug clad
pages of 'Traditional Home' magazine.
Though the James River is our neighborhood's
beautiful backyard, it's not that
relaxed river living I've come to treasure
up on the Northern Neck.
Here, it's Colonial Williamsburg
furnishings blended with mother's antiques.
Perhaps the person with the greatest number
of Chippendale mirrors wins?
Since I only have 3 at this point,
I guess I'm not in the running.
Disqualified even, because I
painted over the mahogany finish
of one of 'em.  That's so me.

It's all good.
I'm learning to blend
my weekday and weekend worlds.

My preppy city furnishings
look more relaxed and happy
with a few touches of
coastal artwork and b&w photographs
 tucked here and there.

Some decorators call it 'juxtaposition.'

For me, it's merely the result of

a little plein air painting,

Chateau Relaxo style.

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