It’s painting weather!

We’ve been stuck in this weather pattern for weeks. It’s hard to paint in.
I got an email this week that read, “This being the 4th of July weekend, summer is officially here and it is time to do your plein air painting. No more excuses about it being too cold or whatever…”
Clouds stacking up to the west.
That is very true, but it has been tremendously wet up and down the East Coast. A little rain isn’t a problem, but deluges are. We’re complaining of Florida weather here: it rains every day. My Floridian friends are complaining that it’s not just raining every day, it’s raining all day, every day.
Lyn sketching as she debates whether she will have time to paint this view.
We had a preacher visiting from Nigeria recently who mentioned in passing that Americans love to complain about the weather. He’s right about that—if it’s 90° F., it’s too hot; if it’s 60° F., it’s too cold. And yet we live in a kind of peaceful Paradise here.
Some of us had the good sense to work from the porch.
All kinds of weather are good. They’re just not necessarily good for plein air painting.
But not Carol and Joe… and that’s a good thing, because they both did fine paintings.
On Wednesday evening, an electrical storm rumbled into Rochester just as my students and I were getting in our cars to drive to Cindy and Danny Barben’s farm in Honeoye Falls. Driving south out of town, there were tree limbs down and flooding in the intersections. I picked up my cell phone half a dozen times to cancel, but I’m caught in a conundrum of modern life: a third of my class only texts, a third emails, and a third can only be contacted through Facebook. Quick changes in plan aren’t that easy.
If I ever painted from photos, I might be tempted by this view. Note how wet the fields are here in the Genesee Valley.

But it was all fine, because shortly after we arrived, the sky cleared, with tremendous peach and blue clouds rising in great heaps to the south and west. (The moments after a rainstorm are often the most glorious of the day.) And although the sky feinted, it didn’t really start raining again until we were packed up to go home.

Cindy guiding in a missing painter.

You can study painting with me in Rochester (Wednesday evenings this summer), or you can study painting with me in Maine. There is only one slot open for my July workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME, and August and September are sold out.  Join us in July or October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.

Drawing or painting?

Ancient Catalpa Tree, 6X8, oil on canvas, by little ol’ me.
It was a week of very unsettled weather, when even NOAA didn’t have a firm grasp on what would happen next. (Among other things, the daytime temperature dropped forty degrees.) After cancelling plans twice due to threatening rain only to watch the sky clear almost immediately, I made plans on Thursday to paint with Carol Thiel. We got to our site in Mendon (south of Rochester), set our stuff up, did our drawings, laid out our paints, and took a few brush strokes—and the sky opened up.
Now, Carol may harbor dreams of getting back there, but I have decades of half-finished paintings in my closet. I know the chances of recreating that opportunity are slim. Sad, because it was a good drawing.
On Friday, I headed west toward Buffalo after rush hour traffic cleared, catching a long traffic jam on the way. It rained all the way to the toll barrier, and by the time I reached Glen Park, it was merely spitting and cold. I was an hour behind schedule. This time I found a bench and sat down to draw in graphite. (I’m off to paint with JamieGrossman this week, and I thought it might be nice to brush up on waterfalls, since she has so darn many of them.)
Glen Park in Williamsville, on a miserable spitting late Spring day… graphite on Bristol board, by little ol’ me.
Saturday dawned clear and cold, with fleecy high clouds. My class was scheduled to paint at a farm in Honeoye Falls, but this being a holiday weekend, I didn’t expect many students. And I was right. It was a good opportunity to introduce a new student to oil painting, so I had my kit with me.
When she left, I was able to crank out the painting of an ancient catalpa tree at the top of this page. Is it a drawing? Is it a painting? Sure. Most importantly, it’s finished.
August and September are sold out for my workshop at Lakewatch Manor in Rockland, ME.  Join us in June, July and October, but please hurry! Check here for more information.