Metz Road – Plein Air

“Metz Road – Saturday Morning” — plein air field study in oil on birch panel 8 x 10″ by Margie Guyot

The idea sounded good at the time: show paintings in a local air fair AND take part in a plein air paintout. All on one weekend. I later came to regret that decision. Lots of critical deadlines to be met. And on time. And when you’re in a plein air competition, you’re under intense pressure to 1) find beautiful, interesting subjects and 2) to paint them well. Quickly! And then there’s the other, unspoken reality: laundry to be done, flowers to be watered, beans to be picked, pets to be catered to, meals to be cooked, dishes to be done.

Hanging paintings on display panels at art fairs is a bitch! Cursing under my breath, trying to push little hanging clips into the unwieldly display panels, my deoderant jumped ship. At last I finished, gathered up bubble-wrap and boxes, then took off like the proverbial bat-out-of Hell. I spied this “tunnel of trees” on Metz Road. I pulled over and set up in front of the truck. Strangely, my sun-blocker umbrella didn’t stop the glare from my windshield. Ach! The vississitudes of the plein air painter!

My setupAfter trying to paint in the shade of the umbrella, I was kind of shocked at how pale-looking my painting was in the bright sunlight.

Usually the first painting of a plein air competition is always the most troublesome. That’s when you might discover you’ve forgotten something essential, like turpentine. Or paper towels. I forgot white paint once. You’re under the gun for time. And what if you don’t see anything inspiring? Plein air painting is always such a crap-shoot.

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