can this painting be saved?

This is a start. It was tiring to lug my art supplies out to the dune and I had everything in my beach cart, but so much fun to paint there. I was saying to myself, This is the life! All those years that I worked at jobs trying to make ends meet and never gave a thought to retirement, then when I started painting in plein air and the beach was far away, I wished I could hop in the car and be there. Then my daughter married a Norfolk guy and says she’s staying in Norfolk, I moved to the beach and it’s great! Norfolk and Virginia Beach are just one huge city to me. If I believed in karma I’d wonder what I did to deserve this, because it was a pure delight out there today. Even though it made me tired, I thought the rewards for doing something difficult are higher than the rewards for doing the easy thing.

My spot is so nice. Picture this. I’m in the only shady place in the dunes. I sat on the sand and leaned against a post. I leaned my painting on a post about 4′ away and spread my stuff out all around me. I found a heavy piece of metal to lean against my painting and had a foot on it too and the wind, which really picked up when I was there, didn’t blow it down. The wind felt good. It was sunny and not too hot. But the best thing is people didn’t notice me there. Only one kid saw me and they all moved on. Since I knew I was hidden I took my yardsticks and taped my brushes to them so I could sit back and paint from far away like my favorite artist, Matisse. That’s why this underpainting is loose looking. And that made it all the more fun.

Since I had my brush taped to a yardstick it went a little wild here and I accidentally smeared some green into the sky. When I tried to wipe it off it only got worse. I wanted to go over the sky again so I’m not worrying about it.

The whole experience was so much fun I don’t even care that sand got all over my painting. It’s not even artfully designed sand and I don’t care. I mean, how zen is that?! I’ll give it a few days to dry and maybe most of the sand will brush off. It won’t all come off but let that be proof for future art historians after I’m dead that I was really right down there in it. I’m like freakin Turner tying himself to a mast in a storm to capture the storm! haha I would never tie myself to a mast because I’d be seasick. It would be great if my efforts would show up in the painting when it’s finished. I want to go back and finish it soon but it might rain in a couple days after this dries enough to work on it again. I need to go over it again twice.

15 thoughts on “can this painting be saved?”

  1. I love this! I wish I were there to go painting en plein air with you. I know you would make it really fun. I love the sand! I had a similar experience recently when I was painting with my gansai out on the hiking trails. I’ve used my little gansai set to paint with twigs and leaves and nuts and berries so many times… well, there is debris in the paint pans. That debris got all over my painting. I thought it added a nice, “natural” touch. Like your sand, it made it very “real”. Authentic is a good word here.

    Little by little, I’m l getting out there en plein air. I wouldn’t be doing it had it not been for your encouragment. 🙂 Thanks for pushing me.

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    1. Thanks so much! I wish you and I could go out to paint in plein air too! I get tired of going out alone sometimes and it didn’t work out for me with the groups. Authentic is a good word for it. It takes time to get used to plein air. For the first couple years I listened to my iPod while drawing and was hanging around drawing the angels in Hollywood Cemetery where it was safe and with less people. I’m glad to hear you’re trying it. You are inspiring others too!

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      1. As long as I limit myself to gansai or graphite, I’m fairly comfortable. Those are easy to carry. I think I’d feel really embarrassed to lug an easel, canvas, and tubes of paint and a palette around and then turn out a really bad painting. Does that make any sense? I guess I’m still at this point where “investment in time and energy” should equal “good results.” Silly, I guess, but for now I’m really happy with my sketchbook, a pencil, and a bit of gansai.

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      2. Whatever you’re comfortable working with is fine. I usually take a sketchbook and charcoal but when I paint I take a lot of gear along and no one here gives it a second glance since people on the beach or fishing also have a lot of stuff. If you use your time and energy to the best advantage for yourself you will have better results. The people who see you out painting will think it’s a good painting even if you think it’s a flop, so, don’t disillusion them. As for myself, I don’t care what they think. They don’t try to stop me or rob me or anything bad. But I’m a total reject from society so I’m less inhibited by what anyone thinks. There’s no chance I’ll fit in anyway. That attitude helps me to block out the public to a certain extent but I avoid crowds.

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      3. I hope I can reach that point where I don’t feel overly self-conscious about passers-by watching me paint. I’m going to look for a new portable easel. The one I have isn’t very good. I think I’ll also pack a few of my favorites oils in a box and maybe I’ll set myself up in the backyard and practice a bit of plein air painting there. 🙂

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