I forgot to bring my palette knife last Friday, so I had to use a plastic spoon to mix the paint.
Jeanette I set up our easels across the street from Dalleo’s Market on Mill and North Clover Streets in Poughkeepsie, New York.
A police officer stopped his patrol car and walked slowly over to us. I thought he was going to arrest me for bad perspective. He chuckled when I showed him the “Department of Art” traffic cones. We talked about the neighborhood. Then the radio on his belt alerted him to a bicycle theft incident in progress. He got into his car and sped off, siren wailing.
A huge man in a ripped t-shirt, stopped in the crosswalk and yelled “HEY!” He kept on yelling “HEY!” again and again at no one in particular. Everyone ignored him.
I drew the lines of the composition with a bristle brush and burnt sienna. I washed in the big tones with transparent color. Then I got down to details, balancing my hand on a mahl stick.
We faced all the usual questions: “Do you mind if I look?” “Are you a professional artist?” “Do you do this for a living?” “Are you going to sell that picture?” “How much does it cost?”
The answer that leads to the fewest followup questions: “I’m unemployed, and my therapist said I should learn to paint.”
A group of women and children gathered shyly behind us. Most of the children had never seen an artist painting outdoors before. We pointed to the subject we were painting. Most of them couldn’t connect what we were painting with the scene in front of them.
A green signboard once said “D’ALLEOS IMPORTED SPECIALTIES,” but the letters had fallen off, leaving a palimpsest in the faded paint. An old man said that when Mr. D’Alleo owned it, the bread had “body and soul.”
Dalleo’s had both a Pepsi and a Coca Cola sign, both faded. Since each company distributes exclusively, evidently the deli has survived several allegiances.
After we finished painting, we crossed the street to Caffe Aurora for pignole nut cookies, biscotti, coffee, and Italian ices.