I participated in my first plein air “paint out” this past Oct.18-21 in Brookville, IN. The Brookville Library hosted this event. Although the weather was yucky much of the time, I enjoyed the experience and learned so much!
On Thursday, 10/18 at 8 pm, I rolled into Brookville and arrived at the Hermitage Bed & Breakfast.
Martha Shea is the innkeeper. She is such a gracious lady. She offered me some of her leftover chicken and salad for supper, since most restaurants were closing at that hour. I felt right at home.
This house, built in 1835, is a historical landmark. In 1898, noted Indiana artists, J. Ottis Adams and T.C. Steele, purchased this home and split it down the middle, and their two families shared the structure.
They were good friends, and part of the “Hoosier Group” of artists. Steele and Adams each had a studio on his side of the house. The studio that I and the other guests were allowed to use was Adams’ old studio. Currently it is a gallery that Martha runs, so there are framed works all over the walls. The whole house is lovely and decorated with antiques.
For some reason, there is a slightly creepy stuffed peacock that is mounted on the stair railing. He was looking rather ragged and dusty.
Okay, so Thursday night I settled in and decided to practice setting up my travel easel and new lights. Suddenly a group of artists come back from El Reparo restaurant, and then the fun began.
|Artists Donna Shortt, Kathryn Clark, Kathy Blankenheim, and Pam Newell|
These ladies belong to IPAPA and are good friends. They took a liking to my plein air equipment, and pulled out their iPads to snap photos. Things got crazy and soon iPads were taking photos of other iPads taking photos.
I do believe margaritas might have been involved! I was already having fun!
Friday morning, after Martha fed me eggs and ham and coffee, I went out into the town of Brookville for inspiration of something to paint. I didn’t have to go far. I spotted a flock of HUGE black turkey buzzards that were lined up all over St. Thomas Lutheran Church and another house. I would guess there were 75 of them. I thought, “Now THAT’S a painting!” I parked my car and set up my gear on the sidewalk. I decided to take a photo of them in case they decided to leave before I painted them. As soon as I raised my camera, BOOM!
Someone had set off a firecracker, and most of the birds flew off. It was the owner of the house that also had buzzards on it. He came out and talked to me and said that the buzzards have repeatedly torn up and pecked through his roof. I did get a photo of some of the buzzards, and that evening I added them into the painting when I was back at the studio.
The weather was not nice to me while I was out there painting. It was cold, and intermittently raining, and gusts of wind would take down my ground-spiked umbrella. Then rain was landing on my palette. You should have seen me try to hang on to that windblown umbrella with one arm and attempt to paint with the other. I started to wonder what the heck was I out there for? I told myself to buck up and do this.
A guy named Keith came out and chatted with me for awhile. He was very nice. I told him about the paint out and the upcoming sale on Sunday in the library. He took my card and said he’d try to come.
After about 3 hours out there, I packed up my stuff and went back to the Hermitage. I took a hot bath and rested in my room because I was exhausted!!! Later I went down to the studio, and found most of the artists in there painting away. Kathryn Clark’s husband Howie was also in there, playing his steel guitar and banjo for background music. In fact, he played his instruments the whole weekend.
That evening some of us went out and ate at the Goldfinch restaurant. Other visiting artists happened in to the same restaurant, and sat with us. I was meeting artists right and left, and I loved that.
Saturday, after Martha fed me French toast, I went out with my camera and toured the area. I took some scenic photos. My favorite one was of St. Michael Church, with some fall trees in front of it. I came back that afternoon and painted it in the studio. Yeah, I know, I was totally wimping out on the plein air thing. I had lost my desire to fight the outdoor elements, which was again, intermittent rain and wind alternating with sunshine. However, there were other artists out there toughing it out.
Pam and Kathy had some fly glasses and shared them with other IPAPA people. What a hoot!
That evening the library hosted a dinner for us, free to the artists. It was delicious…slaw, mashed potatoes, chicken, dinner rolls, and cake! I saw artists that I had met at Hamilton County when Qiang Huang gave a workshop.
On Sunday, after Martha fed us her breakfast casserole (delicious!!), I put some final touches on my painting. I packed up all my gear and luggage, and checked out. The library fed us a complimentary boxed lunch. We set up our artwork throughout the library. Mine were unframed and on little tabletop easels.
Other artists were better prepared, with nice frames on their work, and displayed on bigger easels. From 1-3 pm, folks came through and were buying art.
Keith, the guy I mentioned earlier who chatted with me while I painted in the rain, came in and purchased my "St. Thomas Lutheran Church, with Visitors" painting! He said it meant something to him, because he saw me paint it. It gave me a feeling of happy closure. As soon as the sale was over, I said goodbye to my new friends, and I hit the road for home. I already have dibs on my same room for next year.