About me: I paint in the controlled comfort of my studio, and I take my time.
About painting outdoors: It is the opposite of that.
And so, I was nearly trembling with nervousness when I set up my outdoor easel for the FIRST TIME on the painter’s paradise that is Monhegan Island (12 miles off the coast of Maine) for a week-long plein-air painting workshop. (I intended to use it beforehand to get a feel for it, but I, uh, didn’t.) I chose a shady spot with no one around. Then my instructor set up next to me. His wife set up on my other side. I was already discombobulated, now I was anxious. My hands didn’t know where my tools were. Did I bring the right brushes? I’m hungry. After two hours, I could tell that first painting was awful, and I didn’t even try to finish it.
But then! I ate something, threw away the bad painting—literally and mentally—and went out to a different location. By the second time, I was already more confident. Each day we went to a new spot, which meant each day had an element of uncertainty, but any anxiety from that fact turned to excitement. By mid-week I looked and felt (maybe even smelled) like a seasoned outdoor painter, and my friends and I still made “studio time” in our apartment to finish up our outdoor work at the end of each day. We combined both worlds into a happy balance.
Later is what?
After settling into various desk jobs, I always said I'd get back to painting later in life, and later is now. Again means that I tried once before. I decided to write about my painting endeavor, too, as a learning tool, an accountability tool, and to stay sharp in case I have to go back to a desk job. Again.
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