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.