This is the day destined to be our Plein Air Experience. “You paid for it. You’re going to suffer” Bob teased us while explaining the how and why for the day. He wanted it to be a pleasant experience with a simple setup and told us to try and not capture everything. He was going to demo on quarter sheets using watercolor and wanted us to consider this as a “paint sketch”. The morning got off to a great start, trudging up the highest hill in Cloudcroft already at 9,000’ and with a backpack and a folding stool; I stopped about every 5 steps and gasped for air. After our ascent to Everest, Bob decides the old stables wouldn’t do as it began a gentle mist so we headed to the boardwalk in town, scoped out the public restrooms and Bob settled down in an empty parking place surrounded by about 20 students. I’ve placed some photos in a slide show from this day below because I just found them to be so humorous. He completed one demo and the rain became more serious so we got under the boardwalk and we looked like “Make Way for Ducklings”, a Robert McCloskey children's classic, waddling along behind him with all of our rain and art gear dangling from arms, necks, and limbs. Another demo and now it was our turn. My triangle seated folding chair needed a couple more triangles but I found a table to set up some of my painting gear and began painting and nearly finished one of my better plein air paintings…not that I’ve done that many. It REALLY got serious in the rain department (later we learned it rained 3” that day). John, my table mate, and I decided to wait it out with Quiche and a latte at the Jamocha Bean . Lunch was fantastic and it only rained harder so we decided to strap on our backpacks and rain gear and head to the workshop before we missed out and looking back this was a very bad decision after rushing water engulfed both feet and lower edges of my jeans through the only route available. I squished for awhile back in class and decided to follow John’s example and go barefoot which lasted about 10 minutes until I found two plastic grocery bags in the kitchen, bagged my feet and tied the handles around my ankles and held on while I walked. I felt like an Indian with their buckskin moccasins except the plastic was a little on the thin side. Later we saw a great slide show of Bob’s work and a beautiful pear demo. I feel like I got my money’s worth plus a foot washing for the plein air experience. For the evening meal, we sat at a window table, warm and watched it rain in an elegant restaurant, Rebecca’s at the Lodge and enjoyed the fireplace back at the cabin and decorated it with wet tennis shoes and sopping wet socks. The Cloudcroft natives do call this the monsoon season.
Later I'll post some of the work done at the workshop but today it's some of the plein air photos.