One of my favorite paintings
After drooling over some Joaquin Sorolla paintings back in 2011, I attempted an elaborate multi-figure painting of a local beach scene. The colors and movement of the crowd. The sun and shadows on all the towels and blankets and sunburns. It was all very thrilling to chew on. The real estate around me became more crowded and I fell deeper into The Painter Zone. When my left hand's paper towel couldn't take any more, and the crooks in my back needed relief, I backed up from my easel and tripped over a gang of swimming clad kiddos watching me flail.
While in my dream state, an extended family had surrounded me with all their picnic gear, grilling, boom box blasting and generally modeling for a Norman Rockwell painting. Except for all the effinheimers. Grandmamas in the clan still in their 30's down to the early grade school-aged kids all joined in the shindig of Potty Talk. They were the sweetest folks. They loved watching me paint and peppered me with questions and critique ("When are you going to put in the detail?"). Then they fed me. The tissue-thin paper plate collapsed under the pile of Oscar Meier, drippy potato salad, jello and sheet cake.
While negotiating this monster of a meal I saw that glorious last light on the other side of the lake. It gave me the excuse to set that Meal Monster down. "Suck it up." I thought. "You got one last gasp in you." I pulled out a tiny 6 x 8" panel and banged out this pochade ("pocket painting"). One of the moms (or grandma?) teaching the young boy how to fish provided a slice of life to the scene. It's the ideal plein air painting. And it perfectly describes why a painting created on location in one session can bring authenticity and passion to an artwork.