Monday, August 30, 2010

Adventures in plein air painting

My friend Xan Thomas and I went to Garfield Park in Denver to paint en plein air. It was a nice break from the hustle and bustle of Washington Park (which is one of my favorite places when it's not teaming with legions of health nuts).

 Painting outdoors can be wonderful, but it does have it's challenges; the elements, the bugs, the ever-changing light, and... the people. It's hard to catch that artistic groove when your thought process is being interrupted every few minutes by well meaning passers-by. It's only natural for people to want to see what someone is creating. And if you paint outdoors, every once in awhile you're bound to encounter an armchair art critic who wants put in his two cents. Everybody's a critic!

Happily we did not run into the usual barrage of people at this beautiful park. But there did seem to be a lot of boys on wheels - several groups on bikes, skate boards and rollerblades - going around the park.  I'd say they were between 8 and 12 years old. They'd just go around and around, and each time they passed us, they'd slow down to check out our paintings. Sometimes they'd yell "That's beautiful!" as they rode by. Towards the end of the day one of them gathered up enough nerve to hop off his wheels and come take a closer look. He was all wide eyed and enthusiastic and asked "Is that hard to do?"
"No!" I said. "It's fun!"

I hope we inspired him (and perhaps some others) to paint. The look in his eyes reminded me of what my friend Ravay Snow says about artists: "We do magic".

It feels pretty cool to be a magician!

I failed to take pictures of what we were working on, but I did snap some shots of the park and the sky. These were taken on my iphone...

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