Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Plein Aire Painting at Sand Harbour, Lake Tahoe

Sand Harbour, Lake Tahoe (i)
Oil on Panel

For the past couple of days I've been taking advantage of the tail end of a spell of glorious weather here in Tahoe, by painting outdoors - a thing I kind of dread and love in equal measure.

The last time I did it, was last winter in a snowstorm as part of a plein aire event in the Martis Valley near Truckee. It was cold and as I was entirely inexperienced, I made some logistical errors which made things a bit stressful (overly large canvas got blown into bush, 'buttered side down' as it were). However, I did enjoy the experience - in a masochistic way, I suppose, fancying myself as a 'proper' artist for once, getting out there in the elements in true Turner-esque fashion.

So this time I was more prepared, and had the inspiration of some seasoned plein aire painters to draw on. Artist friend Donald Neff was visiting from San Jose, to pick up his work after the gallery we were both exhibiting in closed down - such a shame.

He invited me and some local artists, Bonita Paulis and Penny Shrawder (who are fellow members of the Tahoe Art League) to go out painting with him. I jumped at the chance, hoping to glean some tips from this award-winning artist - what kind of set-up does he have? how does he deal with annoying tourists/insects/wind/rain/wildlife? Bonita and Penny also work outdoors a lot (in pastels, very beautiful) so I was ready to peep over shoulders.

However, when we arrived, we discovered the beach was being appropriated for a Tommy Hilfiger photo shoot... be continued tomorrow!