Painting on the spot for me is a must to create many of my landscapes. Sometimes it’s fun, other times I wonder whether it’s worth it – but it’s always interesting. People are always surprising me.
Painting with my friend Sam one Sunday morning out on a farm road, a family returning from church stopped to ask what we were doing. They asked if they could watch, but drove away right after Sam invited them to. We wondered what had just happened. Sam and I continued to paint and trade “war stories” (that’s how Sam referred to painting out on the spot). About thirty minutes later the family returned with sweet rolls and chairs. They shared their treats and watched us in silence. Only when we finished did they ask their questions and thanked us for letting us watch us do our thing. I titled the painting I did “Patch Road” because of all the fresh blacktop patches there were on the road.
Not all places I choose to set up my easel have friendly people though… One day a lush green field with beautiful horses seemed like a great scene to set-up for. I had been up and down this road a hundred times and never seen another car, so I parked on the side of this dirt road and began painting the scene before me. This was the first time there were horses grazing in the lush green field. About half way through the painting a car came down the road and stopped – not to ask me what I was doing but to tell me to move on. My car was not blocking the road in any way and I was on public land so I said I would move when I finished my painting. The lady in the car yelled at me then drove on. Twenty minutes later one of those all-terrain vehicles came up over the hill into the field and there was the lady herding her horses out of the pasture, driving them around a patch of woods so I could no longer draw them. I was pretty much finished with the scene, but I wanted to carry this 20 x 24 painting to a bit more finished look. Next day I returned to find the horses replaced with a “No Trespassing” sign. I set-up and added the detail I wanted.
I have always found people interesting and how this lady reacted to me doing a painting of her field and horses was certainly interesting.