Monday, May 29, 2017

Competition One is Done

Spring Blossoms 8x10 oil on panel (took 3rd place in the competition)

The first plein air competition, for me, took place this past weekend and it was SO MUCH FUN!  I was painting all weekend with some of my good friends and some that I usually only get to see at these competitions. I also met a lot of new people and the weather couldn't have turned out any better.  It was supposed to rain all weekend but we never got a drop. 
Saturday night some of the painters got together and were treated to margaritas and snacks. While we were relaxing (shooting the breeze if you will) we got on the subject of listening to music while painting. John Preston told us he prefers to not listen to music while out painting because he wants to take it all in. That's probably part of the reason why he captures the atmosphere/mood so well in his paintings.  I absolutely enjoy being outside, being present, listening to the sounds, but I had to confess that unless I cut off one of my senses I'd never get any painting done. I told them how earlier that day I had to put my headphones on or I  would have still been at Indian Lake chasing a snake. 
While in the middle of painting this small, 7x5, pastel I was distracted by everything around me. The kids at the beach, the butterflies swarming, and the snake swimming along in front of me. 
After following the snake for about 15 minutes I realised that I was supposed to be there painting.  Yea, it's pretty sad how easily distracted I am while outdoors, so I've found that by listening to music it takes something out of the equation and I can focus a little more on the task at hand. It doesn't keep me completely calm and focused, but it helps.  The day before the headphones helped block out the noise from a squeaky swing set.  There have been a couple of drawbacks to listening to music while painting. The most notable was when I was listeining to Goblin's soundtrack to the movie Suspiria and some creepy looking guy came up from behind and tapped me on the shoulder. Maybe some day I won't be so A.D.D. and I'll be able to soak it all in without getting so easily distracted but until then I'll be "one of those" plein air painters who wears headphones while they paint. 


  1. Congrats, practice pays dividends.

  2. Congrats on your award at your event! (So you follow snakes instead of running, huh?) I kind of agree with John, I like hearing the sounds of the birds and critters while I paint outside. Love to listen to music indoors, one of the few times I can multi-task, sing and paint. Sounds like you had a lovely time.

    1. Thanks. Had a great time and yes, I'm not irrationally afraid of snakes. It's funny I chased down a snake and some little girl, not far from where I was, freaked out about the butterflies. She was terrified. Guess we all have our hang ups.

  3. Actually, I'd say you're quite absorbed by your subject and that has to be a good thing in the end. Just an another dimension: artist/writer with a herptological overlay

  4. Another dimension is right, I knew I was in the Twilight Zone.