Tuesday, February 4, 2014

ah it's warm outside so let's paint

Here are a few paintings from my recent plein air paint outings.

The first painting was painted at Strawbery Banke. Strawbery Banks is an outdoor history museum located in the South End historic district of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.   It is the oldest neighborhood in New Hampshire to be settled by Europeans, and the earliest neighborhood remaining in the present-day city of Portsmouth.  The neighborhood's history traces back to 1630, when Captain Walter Neal chose the area to build a settlement, naming it after the wild berries growing along the Piscataqua River. At this time of year, there is plenty of parking and no crowds of tourists.

On Sunday, my husband and I drove to Boylston to one of our favorite places to visit in central MA: Tower Hill Botanical Gardens http://www.towerhillbg.org/index.php/visit/  . Dropping me off and Bogart along with my painting gear in a large, snowy field, Ken continued up and around to park the car and to hike solo on the trails for a spectacular view of Mount Wachusett and Reservoir.  I painted one of the many heirloom apple orchards on the property.  The sun felt wonderful on the face and there were a few honey bees flying about while I painted.  I believe visitors really enjoy seeing a painter set up in the fields. They tooted often as they drove by.  I obliged with a wave.  After painting for one and half hours, the sky turned cloudy and the anticipated rains began to fall. A quick call on the cell and my ride arrived shorty thereafter.  We had a yummy lunch at the Tower Hill's Twigs Cafe; complete with great views and a warm, glowing fireplace.

I have bought a new pochade box called Strada http://www.stradaeasel.com/   in anticipation of hiking in and painting deeper into the woods as oppose to setting up my painting gear near the car along the roadside. My Soltek is a sturdy piece of equipment and I am quite satisfied with how it functions but it is too heavy to be transporting it deep into the fields and woods.  I often romanticize how more adventurous my painting travels would be if I could only hike a mile or two and set up my easel.   The Strada is similar in design to my old wood Monarch box I purchase many years ago along with an ultra-light tripod called SLIK made with super titanium alloy with a quick release head for attaching the pochade box. The Monarch no longer functions i.e. is it has disintegrated from use. My new easel had its trial runs with the above two paintings. The only complaint I have is the Strada's panel support is a little to bouncy when applying paint too briskly. Otherwise it weighs only two pounds and fits perfectly into my back pack.

Happy Painting Trails!

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