Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Thickly Settled

Yesterday, the weather in Portsmouth, NH proved a bit of a painting dare.  The tenacity of some seasoned plein air painters is proven when dealing with the many weather challenges here in New England. A few of my fellow painters, Phil Bean, Mary Byrom and Barbara Carr painted the gnarly trees within the confines of the sheltered gated garden in Prescott Park.   Others like me painted in the open putting their vehicle between themselves and the brisk, 30mph NE winds.  My friend Marjet found a cozy spot behind the Harbor Master's shack, next to a cast away Christmas tree strung with colored lights.  (Hmmm, good old Yankee frugality would have had that tree stripped clean of those light sets before disposal.)  Look closely at the picture though and take note of the long log balanced as as extra weight for her French easel.  It was that windy out.  Not to take pre-caution like Marjet, the attached canvas acts as a canvas sail stretched high to catch the wind and the easel can go a sailin' into the wild blue yonder.  But hey, there was sunshine!

My painting site of tightly, clustered homes and fish businesses in the area called Peirce Island made me think of the unique New England road signage, 'Thickly Settled'.  This sign is not just a quaint descriptive phrase for the clusters of antique homes and buildings of Puritanical ancestral lineage.  Drivers in Massachusetts who observe this signage must drive no more than 30 mph or risk a speeding ticket according to the official DMV driving manual. 

So slow down and enjoy the scenery.  When plein air painting, I do!

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