10
Sep
10

North Bennington Plein Air Invitational, 2010

Yesterday, Thursday, was the first full day of the NB Plein Air Invitational. Cloudy. Some Rain. Jon dropped me off at 7 in the morning and I painted at Park McCullough untill the rain was pouring so  hard around 2 that I packed up my trusty cart and walked to the train station.  I was beat.  But I managed to make two more oil sketches (a poor one of the freight yard that took me about four hours, then a wonderful little sketch of Whitman’s truck that took 20 minutes!)—for a total of six for the day, and eight oils so far– before packing it in at 6:45 pm.  Went home, cleaned brushes and palette, showered, gave Joyce the work to frame, and went to the lecture on plein air painting by Gurney at Bennington  College.  When I came home I could hardly walk up the stairs to bed.

Today, Jon dropped me off at 7 a.m. again, where I worked in pen & inks (no watercolors or guache) on different Canson and Arche watercolor papers (a total of 9, I think, but two or three total washouts and the last one I didn’t even get a sketch laid in—I was done!)  in front of Taraden B&B until 9:45, when Jon picked me up for Rosh Hashana services.  Cloudy. After services and tashlik I returned to wrestle with that weeping willow.  I worked on that tree most of the time til 7 pm.

At 7 p.m.  the sky opened up, cleared and the most amazing sunset appeared.  Though I did not paint it, I was aware that had I not been out there packing up my stuff from two days and one evening—a total of 23 hours of landscape painting—I probably would have missed that sunset, or at least the kind of awe I felt.  It was one of those fleeting sunsets that I couldn’t have caught even if paints and painter had been poised and ready.  It was more than enough to be present.

I learned a lot —about my own style of painting, about my limitations, about my new cold wax medium and my new papers.  I became friendly with a variety of trees.  I’m a moderately better landscape painter than when I started.  Not as much better or clearer as I’d hoped.  But better.  I learned about plein air competitions and what materials and frames I’d want to use to attend in the future.  I learned about my own “stuff” and methods and where I can streamline.  I learned about my endurance–and I’m glad to say that I have some.  I feel ready to begin landscape painting again with a  new vigor, ready to receive the fall and winter.  I also realized how many painters there are in the world and that there are a lot of good ones.  This inspires me to become better, to pay attention and focus.  I am happy that there are people like me who want to spend their lives outside painting the light and air.

If it weren’t for Joyce, who brought me an amazing birthday lunch yesterday, and framed for me constantly, and for Jon, who shlepped me back and forth from North B I don’t know how many times, I couldn’t have participated in this event, and that would have been really sad.  I am so grateful to Jon and to Joyce.

I’m appreciative of all the folks who put the event together—It was a great deal of hard work, time and money to do so, and I do not take those efforts and expenditures for granted.  I was happy to participate and I would gladly do it again.

Tomorrow I’ll get my stuff from Joyce and drop it off for the show:  2 for the competition, and 6 for the exhibit.   The “Quick Draw” is in the afternoon—I’m traveling light with gray chartpak markers and micron pens!  I’ll work on matboards.  I’m planning to draw the other painters in the outdoor environment—maybe a few trees, too. It’s two hours.  Should be a little different than what other folks are doing.


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viola moriarty

(American, b. 1958)
Modern Expressionist Painter
2012-13 Recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant

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Current and ongoing: New Works, Allegro Ristorante in Bennington on Main Street.

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