On Thursday I traveled to the quaint river town of Essex for my weekly engagement of plein air painting. To my delight, the construction of Route 133 was finally complete: no diesel fumes, no noisy steam shovels and jack hammers, no long lines of idling traffic. Also, because of new concrete sidewalks, an easy care-free walk along both sides of this scenic stretch is now safe and pleasurable.
Essex is a favorite spot among painters because of its natural beauty and maritime history. Birthplace to about 4,000 schooners long ago, Essex Shipbuilding Museum www.essexshipbuildingmuseum.org and Burnham's boat builder outbuildings with catboats are nestled in a cove located on the Essex River. This is the scene I chose to paint with my easel set-up behind Periwinkles Restaurant. www.periwinklesrestaurant.com
Now I can't be choosey when it comes to Thursdays' weather, because Thursday is my only day dedicated to plein air painting. The rest of my time is spent in the studio making linoleum prints www.appleciderpress.net. Well, it wasn't raining but the atmosphere was quite misty. All days can't be sunshine and rainbows; some days can elicit a mysterious scene shrouded in mist and fog... and this was such a day. While painting that morning, a serviceman for the restaurant inquired if I was good at painting in sunshine. Who needs bright colors steep in sunshine when I can work up a palette of exotic greys.
I knew painting was coming to a close when two elderly ladies wandered near and I asked if they had a hair dryer, which would have been a wonderful drying tool because the fine mist had coated my canvas and droplets began to form and hung along the bottom edge.
Finished in two and half hours, I packed up and traveled to Corliss Brothers Nursery to pick out three dozen tulips bulbs for spring forcing... there was sunshine on my shoulders for the rest of the day.
This Saturday, October 22, is Essex Clamfest. www.capeannvacations.com/festival-event.cfm?id=79