Monday, August 15, 2011

Gonna take to the bridge

Grand Avenue Bridge 8"x 10" Oil on board plien air

Hello again everyone. Once again there has been a brief gap in my blogging recently thanks in part to a new dog in our family (more about him another time). This summer I've been trying to focus on painting en plien air (out of doors) which is not easy. This piece was the third one I've done this summer. This scene is a special place for me. It's the Grand Avenue Bridge in New Haven. When I was a kid we lived just a couple of blocks away from this bridge. My dad would take me for long walk when I was about 4 or 5 sometimes we were able to go up to the house on top of the bridge to meet with the bridge operator. One time we were able to be inside the house when it opened to let boats through. Painting this scene from life was definitely a wonderful time to think about my childhood memories. Now that I've talked about the painting let me tell what happened whilst working on this painting. You are not gonna believe this one. So, I dropped off my daughter with my sister who lives nearby while I went to paint. As I left her at my sisters my daughter asked "Daddy are you going off to have an adventure?" She must of seen all my painting equipment in the trunk of the car. I replied "sort of," but boy did I have an adventure that day. First I found a nice quiet spot in the park along the Quinnipiac River to capture the bridge on canvas. Everything started off very nicely. Then I heard a man approaching from the distance who is obviously intoxicated. So I keep painting hoping he would keep it movin' and pass me by. That didn't happen. "HEY arrreeeeyouuuuuuuan ARTisssttt!????!!?" he asked. "Yes" I replied quietly. "WOOOOWWWW!!!!! that is realllrlrllrrlry nice" "You got the BBBRBbbrbriiigde in there and every thing." "Thank you " I replied. He just stood and kept rambling on but I continued working politely acknowledging him. Then his friend came along who was also drunk but not as drunk. "LLLOOOOOOKKKK at thisguy he a PRofffffffeessional!!!" the first man said to his friend. I didn't hear what the other guy said in reply I just wanted them both to go away. I kept painting. The first man continued to ramble on about how he could of been somebody and how he could of been a contender. (or something like that) Finally the not so drunk man said to his friend "Why don't you bothering the guy? Can't you see he's busy!!???" The first man then proceed to compliment even louder. I kept painting. Next a large family comes my way and the first man start yelling " HHEEEEYYYY! YYOUUUUUUSEEEEEEEE THIZZZZGUUYYYYY?????" The family stops and looks and then goes about their business. But one member of the family, a boy about 9 or 10 years old stays and watches while I work. The first drunk man seems to be getting louder and finally the boy starts telling the man be quiet. I continue painting quietly. Then the boy starts asking me questions about painting and other things and he begins to tell me about himself. He plays baseball, he likes drawing etc. He was a very nice kid and I enjoyed talking to him. Meanwhile the two Drunk men are now arguing with each other right behind me and the boy has to interrupt his conversation with me to try to reason with them. The comes back and watches me paint meanwhile the second man say under his breath "I'm tired of this". Next I know he's on his cell phone with the police. The police are there in minutes. I hear them getting out of there cars and I hear one the officers say, "DROP IT!!!" This is going in on just several feet from behind me and I'm still painting non stop. I'm either very focused, very patient or very stupid. Minutes later an ambulance is there taking the first man away and the other man is in the back of the squad car. The boy then told me that the first man pulled out a knife and waved it in front of the second man. Now, had I known all this was going on behind me I would have gotten out of there faster than James Brown getting away from a taping of the Lawrence Welk Show. As the police and ambulance drove away the boy asked if I could paint a picture of what had just happened but he didn't understand that I couldn't paint that fast. Now, mind this park is very big and yet nobody was there before I showed up and then before I knew it all of this activity gravitated toward the one spot that I was in. It was as if I were the Sun in a solar system drunken planets. For the record this park is very nice, scenic and peaceful but this was just one of those days. I'm sure your now wondering if I'm satisfied with this painting. The answer to that question is NOOO!!! I'm thinking of using this board as fuel for the campfire on our families next camping trip. Having said that, I will keep it because whenever you do a painting directly from life you learn to become a better painter. Will I go back to that park to paint again? Absolutely. But for those of you who want to know when exactly I'll be out there again.....well............I'm afraid that I'll have to plead the Fifth Dimensions on specific question. I'll post some more Plein Air paintings in my coming entries. See you soon