On Sunday, April 27th, I made my first attempt at plein air painting at The Hershey Gardens. Their annual event, Gardenfest, which opens the grounds for free to the public, seemed like a great opportunity to try out this technique. I realized that this was the sort of activity that requires careful planning. There are so many tools that are necessary for watercolor that forgetting something could prevent me from working. Here is the list of items that I brought with me:
Chair – drum throne
I carried these items (except for the easel and plastic board) in a large plastic bin, which doubled as my table. I didn’t use the pencil, eraser or pencil sharpener. I tend to not use pencil marks as guidelines; I mostly paint free-form. There were several other artists who were also painting, though most of them were using oil. They had some minor differences from their kits, but it seemed that there isn’t a way to paint outside without having to bring along a lot of items. I would like to get a TV tray as a table and then maybe carry most of the other tools in a book bag. My plan is to eventually paint in the woods or other remote areas.
The Hershey Area Art Association had a booth with member art on display at the event. Several members came up to me while I was painting to introduce themselves and discuss the organization. It was good to meet such friendly and encouraging people. The last hour I was there, several children and their parents had gathered around me to watch me paint. I had thought that a handful of people might briefly watch me, but I wasn’t expecting this sort of audience. When the children began asking me questions about my art, I was able to relax a bit and not worry about the outcome of the work. I hope that my observers had a positive experience and remember that art isn’t just confined to the classroom — it’s something that anyone can do, anywhere.