Last evening class of summer

When we realized our Auburn Trail site wasn’t going to work, we put up this nifty sign. Went back after class to take it down, and it was gamely hanging in there!

The wise artist investigates locations by painting them repeatedly and in depth, which is why Cezanne had his Mont Sainte-Victoire, Homer his Prout’s Neck, and Van Gogh his Saint-Rémy. This is why I usually hold my evening plein air classes in the same location for a full season.

Last evening class of the summer and I finally found a painting site that tripped my trigger. That’s Catherine, Sandy and Carol in Powder Mills Park.

This summer, however, we were a restless group. The Erie Canal at Schoen Place worked for a while, but didn’t have enough variety for an entire summer. Tinker Park seemed too manicured, and the part that is compelling (the swamp) is a long way back from the parking lot. The Center at High Falls closed and took away our High Falls restroom. Barben Farm is lovely, but I didn’t want to wear out our welcome.

Isn’t it lovely?

Wednesday evening promised to be very fine. We decided to try our luck with the Auburn Trail in Victor. A rails-to-trails project, it is about 9 miles long, following the old Auburn and Rochester Railroad. The site we were interested in is a thousand feet or so off the road, where a spur of Irondequoit Creek crosses the trail.

Young Sophia is trying to take credit for Sandy’s painting.

My initial scheme was for our mobility-impaired student to zoom down the path on her walker. (She’s very quick; she just needs support.) However, the trail was very recently graveled, so the surface was too soft for her walker’s wheels. My second scheme was to move the barrier cones aside and drive her down in my car. My conscience kicked in, however, and I couldn’t do it. No cars, I admitted to myself, meant no cars.

Carol Thiel brought some paintings to show us from a recent paint-out in Saranac Lake. I particularly like the middle distance in this one.
Isn’t this a neat idea? Old textbook, repurposed as a sketchbook. Great for value studies.

So we relocated to the fish hatchery at Powder Mills Park, and there we found the beautiful painting site we’d been searching for. Virginia was overjoyed to paint pond scum. The rest of us concentrated on more conventional views. Meanwhile, cedar waxwings flitted around us and a bluegill cavorted in the shadows. It was a magical end to summer.

And Lyn’s painting went head over teakettle on the ground, followed by her cup of mineral spirits, which sat in a puddle on the top of the painting. All in all, a great time was had by all.
Join us in October, 2013 at Lakewatch Manor—which is selling out fast—or let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in 2014. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!