Friday, April 18, 2008

Western states

I was now really enjoying myself and decided to paint outdoors daily. That summer, the family had an extended trip planned to visit family in several western states and I committed to paint daily. I came home with 43 plein-air watercolors. I am lucky to have a portable career that allows me to take all my supplies in a suitcase and set up studio on available table space at the homes of family and friends or at the hotel. I had illustration assignment work to complete during that month and a half and would set up my workspace for a week or so at our parents or if a deadline was close I would work for a day or two at our host's while my family did summer stuff. It is a great way to go away for extended time and still meet my deadlines and make a living. The assignment work would be sent to the client and the new plein-air paintings were traveling with me so I could review what I was learning and where we had been. One of the great benefits of these paintings now is that I can relive that wonderful trip by looking at those paintings. I had a huge scare upon my return home when we unpacked and the paintings were gone. I had put all of them together in a portfolio and hand-carried them on the plane but left them in the airport men's room when we landed at Newburg NY. Our youngest was only 4 years old and I was carrying too much gear, but I ran back to the airport the next day and got my precious portfolio.

I began painting plein-air in 1992.

In 1991, I illustrated a map of a private Connecticut garden from photographs for "Homes and Gardens Magazine" and after publication the owner of the garden contacted me to see if I would consider painting from life in her garden. I tried, failed, and then began practicing the next spring at a beautiful local nursery owned by friends in Rhinebeck, NY, Northern Dutchess Botanical Gardens. After a few weeks I felt more confidant and I tried again at the garden in Connecticut with great success and have been an avid plein-air painter ever since.