Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is home to an excellent park system. With both BREC and the LSU Ag Center, there are many gardens open to visitors and plenty of opportunities to volunteer to maintain them. One venue, the Independence Botanic Garden, recently underwent a renovation. The Botanic Garden Foundation organized a plein air painting event to raise funds to maintain it.
The event was planned for Memorial Day weekend, but the call for participants went out in March when the temperatures were pleasant enough. I was not really thinking about the weather when I signed on for the paintout, and as the dates of the event neared, I began wondering how my painting friends and I would tolerate the heat. Even by south Louisiana standards, it was brutally hot the last two weeks of May.
On the first morning of the event, there were thirty artists painting in the gardens. One could see their umbrellas peeking over the bushes. It was such a wonderful sight. Visitors walked their dogs, brought lunches to eat, or took graduation photos among the flowers.
At the end of the event, the wet paintings were displayed in a room of the library overlooking the garden. There were many guests and quite a few sales, which benefited the Botanic Garden Foundation. Votes were cast for Fan Favorite I & II, and I was thrilled to be selected as one of the favorites.
Despite the heat and the threat of rain, the weekend turned out to be productive. I made new friends, completed four paintings, and was happy to know that I have some fans who like my work.
The first weekend in May, I spent time painting the sights of Gautier, Mississippi. This small town on the Gulf Coast is home to friendly people and lots of boats. The plein air event was my first experience painting boats.
The Seventh Plein Air Convention and Expo held in Santa Fe, NM, was an intense experience. I met many of the artists I follow and had the opportunity to paint in an environment totally different from mine at home in Louisiana.
I was determined to make a painting the first morning of PACE. My friend, Kathy Daigle, painted with me.
Nancie King Mertz, whose pastel work I admire greatly, agreed to pose with me.
I had no idea the winds were so strong in the Santa Fe area. We chose to paint in a courtyard to stay out of it.
A few flakes fell in the process, so technically, I painted this in the snow.
As I reached for the phone to take a photo, a gust of wind blew my easel, painting and pastel box over.
Founder and publisher of Plein Air Magazine, Eric Rhoads. He said to have our photos taken with famous people, so he was it!
I am not an outdoor person. My favorite outdoor activity was tanning until I discovered plein air painting. Now it is my passion.
A portfolio of work which has a new home.
First Street, 16″ x 12″, Oil on Panel, $250 + shipping
I began this painting on a steaming hot July afternoon. First Street South was behind my parents’ home, so I walked around the corner to paint. The neighbors probably thought I was out of my mind. The cast shadows and beautiful color attracted me to this site. $250.00 + shipping