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Plein Air Easton: Hot

My husband and I took a little overnighter to Easton, MD Thursday and Friday with hopes of seeing the juried competing artists at work. We had previously planned to arrive on Wednesday, but due to a family issue, had to postpone our trip by a day. Which meant, for the most part, we missed most of the artists at work.

And I don’t blame anyone! OMG it was hot!!!! 99 with a heat index around 110 degrees. Just ridiculous. Even out walking around slowly, taking frequent breaks by ducking into air conditioned art galleries and shops, I was simply over cooked. I can’t even imagine standing in one place for two plus hours working on a painting. It also explains why there were so many dawn paintings and nocturnals completed this year.

We did discover, much to my delight, the JFM Frames pop up store where I was able to purchase three really nice frames at wholesale prices. This is a special arrangement set up just for the Plein Air Easton event and anyone can pick up really nice plein air frames at a really good price.

We attended two really wonderful demonstrations. The first was Thursday evening at Studio B Gallery in which Rick Casali did a sculpted portrait of a local inn owner. He owns and operated The Hummingbird Inn. The sculpture was made of clay and started out long and narrow. He explained at one point in the demonstration that there is a simple armature of a metal rod running up through the middle of it. He packed clay around it and quickly, over just the course of 2 hours, built a likeness of his subject that was really amazing. I really appreciated the information he shared about how sculpture is related to painting and drawing portraits. I should point out that Studio B Gallery is owned by Betty Huang and she is wonderfully supportive of Plein Air Easton and is, herself, a plein air painter.

The second demonstration was sponsored by Studio B and was held in the Avalon Theatre on Friday. Betty arranged for Jove Wang to come in from California and start and complete a portrait of a waterman in about three hours. The demonstration was filmed and I’m told it will eventually be posted online. Even Ken was impressed with the work by these two artists and said he was not bored at all. I, of course, was far from bored.

Mr. Wang’s work has inspired me to attend the Figurative Art Convention & Expo in Williamsburg in November. It is close enough for home, that while it will be a commute, for three days it will be a doable commute and I believe it may get me back to working on more portraiture which I have always loved. What’s fun is they have arranged to have Historic Williamsburg costumed folks available for participants to paint.

I did run into a few of the Plein Air Easton celebrities. Qiang Huang shared our table while we were watching Mr. Wang paint. And I pretty sure there were a number of artists having lunch at the same little sandwich luncheonette where we grabbed lunch on Thursday. And our hunt for painters painting was not completely a bust. We saw a number of folks who were participating in the Quick Draw Rehearsal on Thursday and also found Nicholas O’Leary and Stephen Haynes in a garden finishing up their small works. I thought to ask how many paintings they had managed to complete since beginning the previous week and both advised they had completed about 21 or 22 paintings each. On average, that’s about 3 paintings a day. Of those, only two were entered into the regular competition, one or two went into the Tilghman Island Show and one went into the small works show.

So they start out at Tilghman Island on Thursday of the first week. Then Friday through Sunday they are cut loose to cover the entire Delmarva Peninsula. On Monday, they are reined in a little and restricted to Talbot County until Wednesday and Thursday when they must confine themselves to Easton itself. Wednesday evening is the Nocturne Paint Out and everyone is welcomed to come out and paint. Saturday is the Quick Draw held within a four block area of the center of Easton in which anyone may paint and Sunday they have a special Quick Draw event for kids under the age of 18.

I am tempted next year to consider coming up for the Quick Draw the last weekend of this 11 day event and make it a three day visit using a day for rehearsal, a day to paint, and a day to go see the small works show. But I would need to be much more able to handle the heat. In any case, Easton has some wonderful painting opportunities.

In the meantime, I took a bunch of photos (yeah, I know, it’s sort of tacky to take photos at a Plein Air event, but I don’t think Ken was going to tolerate a two hour hang out period waiting for me to paint something, even if I had brought along my gear). Click on each photo to see the complete photo as some were edited by the website it appears.

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