Imagine months of snow, followed by months of dark skies and rain. When the Sun finally managed to break through a couple days ago, my friend Lori Feldpausch and I went out to the cherry orchards. We plein air painters take to blooming orchards like flies to roadkill. Last year I took a painting workshop from a venerable, highly-respected oil painter. I had but ONE question: what’s your secret to painting orchards? His reply: I don’t do orchards! Sigh. Maybe the first 10,000 are the hardest. After that it’s a snap.
When in doubt, do a road. Or a car. My friend was attempting to paint a calf and her mother cow, but I knew it’d be one of those crazy-makers. Just try to get a critter to hold still. I know — I’ve tried to paint chickens. Instead, I gave a quarter-turn and painted this view of the road. No orchards in view, but there were dandelions. Close enough!
My friend Lori and I had just set up our easels and started painting when a woman drove up and bitched us out for standing on her driveway! We saw no house. It looked like a road to us. Lori is such a great schmoozer — within about a minute she’d completely charmed the woman into allowing us to stay. It was a beautiful spot, out in the middle of nowhere on the Old Mission Peninsula, just off Traverse City. The orchards will continue blooming for the next several weeks, so maybe by then we’ll surely become expert orchard painters…..