Plein Air Painting in the Botanical Gardens, Good Friday

Watercolor Sketch in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden

Watercolor Sketch in the Fort Worth Botanical Garden

What a wonderful morning to greet!  I awoke before 8:00, without an alarm, showered, packed my plein air watercolor supplies, and drove to Cracker Barrel for breakfast.  By 9:30, I was at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden, where at least sixteen other painters would gather today for the pure pleasure of painting in a 60-degree environment, with a gentle breeze, plenty of cloud cover, and sporadic bursts of sunlight.

Tripp's easel in front of the pines

Tripp’s easel in front of the pines

I’m out of plein air practice (first time in 2013).  So I lingered over this one for ninety minutes.  I did not allow myself to get in a hurry, or to think in terms of completing a painting worthy of framing.  As one of my painter friends said this morning: “Plein air is not for finished paintings; it is Information Gathering, nothing else.”  I kept that in mind.  And like Willem de Kooning, I often spent more time staring and thinking than actually painting during those ninety minutes.  I thought of Andrew Wyeth as I continually reached for the pencil and worked to manipulate the dry brush.  The bark of this pine was so fascinating to my eye.  I really want to turn around and try another one this weekend.

Artists painting in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens

Artists painting in the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens

I cannot overstate the sweetness and camaraderie I felt as I looked up from my easel to the right and saw these three, diligently at work on their compositions.

Plein air artist working behind me

Plein air artist working behind me

Or turning around and watching her working so quickly and deftly on her oil composition.  It was truly a magical day.

A number of us finished the morning shift with lunch together at the Kimbell Art Museum, enjoying conversation and a rest from the session.  Most of them returned for the afternoon.  I, unfortunately, had some art business commitments to see through, so I loaded the Jeep and headed back to the studio for some matting and framing that had to be done.

It is nightfall now, and my mind still goes back to the magic of this morning.

Thanks for reading.

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5 Responses to “Plein Air Painting in the Botanical Gardens, Good Friday”

  1. djdfr Says:

    My friends and I are looking to forward to a plein air painting contest that goes on all over Brittany from April to September, Couleurs de Bretagne. We enjoy the challenge, the day out, and don’t worry about the contest part. 🙂

    Like

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