#75. Refueling, plein air in oil.
#52. Purple Finch and Friends, acrylic.
#50. Chickadee and Seed Ball, in acrylic
#28. Paper Wasp Study, acrylic and ink.
#27. Magnolia Seed Heads, in acrylic.
#’s 25, 26. Black Gum Seed Pods in ink and acrylic.
#24. Lichen and Acorns III, also acrylic.
Lately, due to social distancing, my plein air paint time has been close to home and solo. Fortunately for me, painting and solitude are compatible, allowing a timeless contemplative concentration of my surroundings. Yet outdoor painters are seldom alone, are we?
After the initial bustle of easel set up, my movements are rhythmic and my gaze in a fairly constant direction from subject to substrate and back. Neighborhood birds, after the first clamor of alarm, return to their varied songs. Time drifts.
I am no threat and this is quickly understood. Insects crawl across the painted scene, leaving with multicolored legs. Mosquitoes arrive. Last week, a Giant or Eastern Eyed Click Beetle crash-landed onto my palette. (I had to stop and identify that one!) Birds pose, scrutinizing with one-eyed profiles, and leave.
Chipmunks, shrews and wild turkeys, grow tired of waiting and forage anyway, often within reach, ignoring me.
I too am absorbed with my task. Recently, while painting a cotton field, something startled me. In turn, my sudden movement disturbed a trio of deer who had arrived, unseen. They bounded away across the cotton leaving an indelible image of beauty and movement.
And as I return home, lugging my too-many supplies and possibly a painting that insults the eyes, I carry too, a profound sense of belonging, of acceptance.
Artists are often accused of living in their own world. Maybe, but we are not without company.