Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day of the Paint Out

Sorry about the lousy photo -- I forgot to take a picture before I put the painting under glass

I was up early this morning, way before the time the alarm was set, feeling alternately anticipatory then anxious about going to the Paint Out today.  It's a long-ish drive to Kent -- 45 minutes -- and I got there at quarter of 9.  There was no one around except the lady who was checking people in.  Everyone else was already out and working.

I'd planned on painting at the Congregational Church in Kent because other than the Art Association, it's the only place I really know in Kent as there's a great Thrift Shop next door I used to visit regularly -- before the economic downturn in this country hit me so hard that going to a Thrift Shop is now something I only dream about.  When I drove by the Congregational Church, on my way to register at the Art Association,  I noticed that they were having a Farmer's Market and already, so early, there were many cars filling the parking lot and lining the street.  After I signed in at the KAA, I got back in the car and went south for a few miles but couldn't find a place that suited my needs.

I like to find a safe place to park for me and my car.  I like sun/shade, seclusion and a place where I feel comfortable setting up camp for many hours.  Nothing appealed to me so I thought that I might as well turn around and go to Kent Falls, a State Park with a very pretty waterfall as the central feature.  By the time I got there, I was looking forward to being there as there's some good places to set up camp with inspiring scenes to paint plus Doolies -- which are far superior to bushes.  When I pulled up to the kiosk at the entrance of the parking lot a state worker asked me to pay $9 to park in the lot, sit in the park, use the doolie.  I thought for about 2 seconds and then declined and headed back down the road until I came to a cemetery I've often noticed but never investigated.  Cemeteries are usually secluded and more often than not, the parking is free.  So, that's where I spent the day, at a very old cemetery called St John's Acres.  No doolie, but plenty of privacy, so not a problem.  I could see my car from the top of the tree-shaded knoll where I spent the day.  It was parked in the grass on the side of the road and no one came along with a complaint or a request for me to pay a parking fee.  Quite often during the day, I felt I was back home -- the sound of distant sirens and the call of nearby crows.

The cell service was good, too.  During the day I took a few calls, sent a few texts.  It was weird, but fun,  talking on the phone in the middle of nowhere.  I think I started sending texts because late in the day I felt kind of bored.

I had a hard time getting started with the painting because the stones were so close together that they appeared as more of a solid wall than scattered grave markers.  Many were inches apart.  I did a few sketches and finally worked out a composition where I got the main stones and left out a whole lot more.  I liked the way the foreground stone appeared against the sky and I loved the tall pines in the background and all the other stones were props.  I also loved the fence in the background.

Around 2:30 I gathered up all my things and trekked back to the car.  I had plenty of time to get to the art association before 3 so put my painting in the matte, then in the frame, got out my point driver and closed up the painting on the trunk of my car.  I did the papering and wiring back at the art association.

Between 3 and 4 was the time everyone was supposed to be back with their paintings and do the final details & register their paintings before the auction began at 4.  A few people were late and the auction began at 4:15.  I'd signed-on to be the runner, the person delivering the paintings from where they'd been hung on racks on the porch, around the building to the back door and hand them to a person inside who lined them up and then handed them to the auctioneer when he was done auctioning off the previous painting.  Another woman offered to help and we had a good time schlepping the paintings and talking.   That took up about a half hour.  There were 40 paintings in all and by the time the auction was over, only 3 were sold.  It was a lacklustre sale.  Mine wasn't one of the ones that was sold.  Bummer.  The woman who helped me run the paintings around to the back door, her painting didn't sell either.  Double Bummer.   

A few times in the morning I felt anxious enough to want to scrap the plan for the day and head home but after I finally reached my little knoll in the cemetery and got into the sketches, I was fine and am glad that I stuck it out for the day and the auction after.

The best part of the day was after the auction.  There was a lot of leftover good food, punch & cookies and a good time hanging out with other people who had helped put on the show.  I also got a napkin full of goodies to bring home.  Chocolate chip cookies are no longer in my budget or diet, so I grabbed quite a few for company coming tomorrow.  A good day and I'm glad I worked through my stage fright and went.

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