My very first “plein air” experience was with a group through the Kansas City Art Institute and we met early at a nearby park to paint this lilly pond. This was actually in the middle of the Country Club Plaza, but it semed like a nice retreat from the world.
I was new to painting on location and was very slow and methodical, I knew nothing about painting quickly and all the changing elements of the great doors.
I did not finish after the 3 hour class so I came back the next day that it was sunny at about the same time.
As I was painting, there from above and beyond the trees came this woman slowly taking a step or two and looking around, then she began to descend the steps just beyond the pond.
I guess that’s when she noticed me over here quietly painting the pond. The woman called out to me asking what I was doing? “Painting the pond” I said, which made her pause a moment and then she answered back, “why don’t you paint these”? That’s when she, to my utter surprise raised up her sweater and showed off all her attributes.
There she was without any restraints just as “naked as the eyes of a clown”, and all I could do was smile, gave her a big thumbs up and hollered back “nice!”
Something tells me the woman had been drinking, because that’s when I noticed he measured gait as she went back up the steps.
But it did not diminish the fact that I had just been “flashed” right here in the middle of the city, painting outdoors. This kind of “happenstance” never would have taken place in my studio… what had I been missing out on all these years?
Well I did not get the painting finished that day either, but I was okay with coming back the next day to finish up.
Perhaps my new friend would be there?
But no, I was back to being alone with the surroundings of the park, which was okay. Too much of anything is just “too much”.
That was my only experience of being flashed by an onlooker, but I’m always vigilant of my surroundings because you just never know what might catch the artists eye 😉
24×18″ oil on canvas
First plein air painting of my professional career, Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza, KCMO
First in my Plein arts series, scene of the lily pond at Mill Creek Park on the Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, MO. This was part of the continuing education program through the Kansas City Art Institute, led by Anne Garney. A good lesson in having a reason for your placement of strokes. I loved the way the morning light came through the trees at the top of the hill, casting their shadows in ever lengthening lines.
On about the 4th session of painting, I was surprised by a local woman who could have had a bit too much “spirits”, but from the steps leading up the hill, she raised her shirt and shouted “paint these”. By the time I had gotten the proper color mixed she was gone.