Yesterday I painted with my friends at the Marceline Paint Out in Marceline, MO. Marceline is mostly famous for Walt Disney and trains. lots and lots of trains go through there.
It was a good day, very hot and sunny which was a lot different from what I had planned for. The weather man called for thunderstorms but what he meant was there will be so much humidity that you'll feel like you were standing in a thunderstorm. The other day I was out having lunch and the waitress came by and commented on the weather. She said she had told her husband that this summer is just as bad as winter, you can't go outside and do anything. Normal people wouldn't go outside to do something. Although the heat and humidity can be quite miserable it shouldn't keep a good plein air painter from going out and painting, you just need to be sensible about it. Don't go out during the hottest hours of the day, but if you have to make sure you find some shade and use your common sense.
Here's one of the perils of plein air painting I haven't yet covered, people. To an inexperienced plein air painter the onlooker can be one of the biggest problems. You're outside minding your own business trying to paint and here comes some yahoo looking over your shoulder telling you how their Auntie paints too. On top of all of those other things you're stressing out about you've got this person telling you their family history and the long line of master artists that are in it. I don't know how else to say it but the one sure way to solve this problem is, get over it. Be polite but keep working. If you feel like people are watching you from a distance and it's stressing you out, get over it. They're probably not even talking about you anyways. If it helps you can think of it as any other outdoor job. For example, if you look outside and see that the yard needs mowed go get the lawn mower and get to work and if you're goal oriented and don't live on 200 acres of land you get the job done. You don't care what you look like or who sees you do it. You don't care if your hoochie mama neighbour across the street is trying to get the attention of all the young teenage boys in the neighbourhood. (Seriously, let those boy's parents worry about that.) Normally people don't stop and try to talk to you while you're mowing the lawn but if they do be polite and get back to work.
If you're out in the middle of nowhere you get very few people stopping and interrupting you. Larger parks, fishing spots and most conservation areas are great places to start because they're not that busy and the people who go there tend to mind their own business. Crowded downtown areas, festivals and other sorts of social gatherings should wait until you've built up your tolerance or perfected the art of ignoring.
After this weekend I'm considering dedicating a page of this blog to, "Crap I Hear While Painting". The second picture here is of the Uptown Theatre. The artists all had to paint on Main Street starting at 4PM so I set up in front of the theatre. I had lots of really nice comments as I worked and very friendly people asking permission to see what I was working on. See, not all interactions are annoying! What got me was the conversations people around me were having. A large group of young girls decided to set up camp next to me and, oh my god, they like, talked like about all sorts of like stuff that like should not like be discussed like in public. Like. Then an older couple stopped by to talk to this group of girls and they were discussing how they liked to go boozing it up back in the day and when they couldn't find a babysitter they'd wrap the kids up in blankets, throw them in the back of the truck and drive around town to go out drinking. Have I ever mentioned that plein air painting is an adventure?There are two more weekends of fun and adventure coming up and hopefully they'll be filled with lots more crap I hear while painting.