Was it the thrill of getting out early on the road today that got me up before the 5:55 AM alarm, or maybe it was too much fried food from fast food joints on Sunday? Either way, it was not the best night sleep, but the bed was comfy, and the coffee was hot.
Today I was venturing into untraveled territory. I had never been to Pennsylvania or New York and I was excited about them both. The trip along I-90 was going to take me near the Niagara Falls, and how could one be so close to such an iconic symbol without going there?
Having never been there before, getting there early on a Monday seemed like the perfect time. I was one of the 1st cars in the “satellite” parking lot, and once the parking attendants were paid their $5 they were as nice and helpful as can be. I loaded up my gear and quickly set out in the same direction everyone else was going.
Lemmings I tell you!
I had forgotten that any and every place in the U.S. of A. and probably the world, that when there are popular attractions that draw
people from across the land, there are the requisit protestors or demonstrators. You never know in what form they will be, loud and violent, silent and passive? Every walk of life seems to have a cause they want noticed by everyone else, and these places are perfect for finding a captive audience. Today group was one of my favs, they said not a word, only sat pensively with their signs in strange yoga, or terra cotta poses. I’m for whatever they are doing!
I love painting in crowded places, I love the people and the spectacle of it all. Maybe I am similar to those advocates, only my cause is art… though looking at some of my paintings you might argue that.
I only went in to the site far enough to get what I thought was an interesting angle of the falls.
Among my 83 canvases were 16 that are being “revamped”, what I mean is old paintings I just don’t like for whatever reason. They have reminded me of their inability to be good art long enough and there was only 1 direction for them, and that was up… I hoped.
I toned a number of them in a warm neutrel color, but a few I didn’t have time to, so this I just turned upside down so that it wouldn’t throw my composition too far off.
I like parts of the Falls painting, but I know I would like to get back there a few more times and hone some of these skills down. I’ve painted falls before, but not of this magnitude.
Many asked to take my picture, and take a picture of them with me and the painting, all fun. I met people from all over this country and a few other countries. An art teacher from West Virginia stopped to visit a bit
and had some good questions on the outdoor process. I hope I sparked enough couriosity in her that she might get outdoors and try it. I believe her name was Marilyn, maybe Margaret, but she had a nice German Shepard/Husky puppy that was a bit shy when it came to photgraphing.
On my way to New York I stopped at a rest stop in Pennsylvania and spoke with a friendly woman from the visitors center who suggested an area on the Southeastern part of Lake Ontario that I might enjoy.
Well why not!
Off the beaten path again, traveling on a scenic little road that wound along the edge of the Great Lake. The formations were formed by the glaciers a gazillion years ago, and the winds have honed them to what we now see in the Chimney Bluff State Park in New York. This was totally the opposite of painting in one of america’s most seen attractions. This was an out of the way beach in an out of the way part of the country. This is where one could really lose themselves into a painting and never come out of. This might have happened except for a heavy rain that swooshed in like the wind. I scrambled to put my camera, phone and
billfold in a plastic bag, threw it in my backpack, then tossed that under my easel for added protection and went back to painting.
One should carry a waterproof bag for these occasions, but you can’t always remember everything. The rain went away, the sun came back out and with the winds it wasn’t long before I was dried back out.
Again I used an old canvas and really like this painting, most of it. I like the composition and there are many things I find working in it, but toning down the cliffs might be the thing that makes this piece really work.
The painting today was a good break to the monotony of driving. I purposely drove extra long on day 1 so that if the opportunity presented itself for me to get out and paint I could do so and still make Paul Smith College on time.
Oh, just as an added note, I thought was a bit “curious”. On day 1 on the way up I played the Beatles “Abbey Road” album in it’s entirety. I don’t remember when I last did this, but it’s been a long long time. The song “The End” was what most thought was the end of the album. “Her Majesty” was there after the automatic needle arm picked up so you never heard it. Any way when walking from the parking lot to Niagra Falls I saw there carved on the wall along the way were John Lennon’s beautiful words from the song “The End”…