Based on the moderate success of plein air painting on Wednesday, I packed up the portable French easel to head outside again yesterday. Instead of borrowing daughter Anna's car and driving somewhere, I wanted to see if it was possible to ride the old yellow cruiser with everything in tow. It took some maneuvering to get on the bike with the easel strapped on and an extra bag of supplies....but I managed. Picking a spot not too far from home on the Rice University campus, I set up in a somewhat soggy field -- full sun, no shade -- only the sky was full of clouds, so no sun.
It was with some distress that I realized that I forgot my painting apron -- at home in the studio. Sure enough, paint somehow ended up on my pants. For this painting, I used my largest brushes, to cover as much canvas surface as possible in the least amount of time. When all was said and done, and I DO mean "said." More than once, I noticed someone talking, and realized it was me, talking, OUT LOUD. Anyway, when all was said and done, and it was time to come home, it was so much more difficult to try and get back on the bicycle with a wet canvas attached to the easel....on my back. Even while writing this, I'm shaking my head in a "what-were-you-thinking-I-can't-believe-you-did-that" kind of way.
To top off my forgetfulness, after gingerly riding home on the bike, I couldn't find the house keys anywhere. Apparently, I had left them in the front door, which the wind had blown open in my absence. (Hilary came home some hours after I had left and found the house unlocked and the front door wide open.) If anything is missing from the house, it serves me right. Of course, I was wearing identifiable jewelry and Chucks, so those "valuables" are still here.
As far as the painting goes, it's 18" x 24" oil on linen. At this point, the plan is to go back in a week or so and put in some more details, like the leaves.....or not. (It wasn't until everything was packed up that I realized that I had forgotten to put leaves and greenery in the painting, as focused as I was on trying to mimic the tree trunks and color of the sky and field.) We'll see. And looking at this photo, I kind of want to go back and paint that wonky tree on the right AFTER I tweak the straps on the easel to be more sturdy and secure -- more like a backpack than a satchel, and maybe get a front basket for the bike, to hold the extra supplies.