The weatherman warned of torrential rains and lightning. Ah, a perfect day for painting.
The weatherman was right. Clouds converged on the village of Millbrook for the 5th Annual Millbrook Paint-Out, and nearly 40 artists from five states attended this plein-air painting event. Each of us started a painting in the morning, and the wet paintings were auctioned at 5:00 the same day.
Jeanette set up under the hatchback of Trusty Rusty, but her watercolor washes just wouldn’t dry.
Garin Baker didn’t have an umbrella. He got most of his work done before the showers arrived, but his palette ended up a half-inch deep in water.
I was caught in the downpour. The two umbrellas, each on its own C-stand, kept the rain off the painting, but a cold stream headed down my neck. When the wind picked up I had to put my foot on the stands to keep them from tipping over.
Here’s the motif: the Farmer’s Market. The first photo shows how it looked in the morning when we arrived. The second shows how it looked when I was finishing up the painting. I was attracted by the variety of white triangular shapes, and the clustering versus blank areas.
I laid in the drawing with burnt sienna and a bristle brush over a color-tinted oil-primed 11x14 canvas. Corrections are easy with a paint rag.
The horizontal line at my index finger is the eye level, the most important line in the layin, even if it is not visible in the scene itself.
The foundation of the color scheme was venetian red and terre verte, two powerfully opaque pigments with weird tinting properties. I dipped into other tube colors here and there, but tried to paint almost everything with greenish and reddish harmonies in three or four premixed values.
This premixing is a huge timesaver for a complex motif, and it lends unity to the color scheme. The painting is almost entirely in bristle filberts.
I started with the sky and worked back-to-front. This was a miscalculation because I assumed that the market scene would be there when I got around to the foreground. But to my surprise they started folding up the tents at noon.
I hurried to capture the remaining tents and tables. The payoff was painting the reflections in the wet pavement. Note how the color of the puddle changes from green (under the trees) to red (under the truck and brick building).
Finally I painted the telephone wires using a watercolor round guided by the mahl stick. Here’s the final painting after about five hours.