The first thing I did was sketch the scene. One other artist did that too, and he put the small sketch up on his easel to remind him where he wanted the dark areas to be. That's called a "notan" drawing--a drawing of the light and dark areas. Mine was not a true notan drawing: just a sketch. Most of the others started right in painting, but I love to draw, so I always start with a small drawing.
We usually paint a few yards away from each other, but this time I chose to sit just a few feet from my fellow painter, which probably wasn't a good idea and I won't do it again. It seems to work out better a few yards away and less conversation, though I was glad to get to know my painting friend a little better. We are all here to paint, not to socialize, though a little socializing at the end of the afternoon is in order, just to check in and see what the others created. I was working small because last time I had chosen a paper that was too large to fill in the three hours allotted.
My first formal experience with plein air painting was up in Mendocino, when I was going blind with cataracts and could hardly see anything by the end of the day except dark and light values. The woman who was teaching the class said her husband was an optometrist though he never said anything the whole time we were there. The first thing they did was to steal one of my expensive Arches watercolor pads, which made me so mad that I was energized by adrenaline the whole time and made sure not to sit close to any other plein air painters again. I had to chose between painting very small or painting very large, because they had gotten the medium sized pad away from me. So I chose large. That year the adrenaline kept me awake long enough to finish some paintings, which were some of the best watercolors I ever did. I can do very well without that kind of energy, however.
The following year I bought some fresh tomato soup from the Safeway there in Mendocino, which had not been refrigerated and gave me food poisoning. So I was sick as a dog most of the second night there and missed a day of that expensive plein air course. That was too much for me so I did not go back again. I think they did that to me because the previous year they had shortchanged me and I had complained about it.
Just don't go up there without a lot of money. They don't cater to starving artists. You have to really want to see that beautiful natural scenery. And of course there are lots of bars, restaurants and bed and breakfast places up there too. Plus a state park where I will go camp out next time, instead of staying in the home of a Coast Guard lady. I was thinking about asking her to call me an ambulance to take me to the hospital, but I didn't want to wake her up in between the dry heaves. You know, we just automatically trust a big company like Safeway to give us safe food, but maybe we should check to make sure their fresh soups are refrigerated before we purchase them. I am pretty sure that's what made me sick, not anything my hostesss did to me.
On my way home from Sausalito I stopped at the brand new Safeway at the Tiburon exit. Gosh is that beautiful. They were giving shingles shots to people who had Medicare Part D, but I don't have that. I have Kaiser. It would have cost me $215 to get a shingles shot. I was feeling like I had shingles even though I think I got the shot for it already at Kaiser. Something was making me itch and burn terribly and I have no idea what it was. Don't people have any conscience about what they do to a poor old crippled lady schoolteacher anymore?
7" x 10"
5" x 8"
Here are a couple of large drawings I made while at Laney a couple of years ago. I found them in my files and was thinking, gosh those are better than anything I have done for a long time. They have a blind contour drawing as the basic outline. So I thought I would share them with you.