After a Delicious Dinner on Appleodre Island
oil painting on gessoed board
This is the plein air reference for Appledore Evening, a jigsaw reduction woodblock print elsewhere on the website.
And a little story about painting it:
Dinner is earlier on Sundays, which means I just have time for a quick painting between meal time and sunset. I take my stuff out to the Headlands before dinner. I set up the easel and the pallet and even choose which rock will be my subject.
That saves time - I can go directly from the dining hall without a side trip to get my pack. And it ensures that I will, in fact, go. A belly full of supper might try to change my mind about painting. But if all my gear is out on the rocks, I have to at least go fetch it and, once out there, I know I'll paint.
Surf's up, tide's highish, equipment's ready, no excuses - GO!
I am quickly swept up in the whole scene. Water crashing and swirling all around me, the stray spray thrumping on the rocks as it lands near me. The frenetic energy of the waves is contagious, sweeping me up and controlling my brushstrokes.
There isn’t much time - less than an hour and half to paint and then pack up before the sun sets. No one wants to pick their way out of this ragged spot in the dark.
At some point during the painting, some friends come to watch. They don’t speak to me because they know that I can’t listen at the moment. They enjoy the special light of the sunset themselves as I paint.
Soon, the light in the scene I’m painting is gone, but that is fine because I caught what I came for. That rock with that foamy wave at sunset.
My friends are happy for me and as I clean up, we talk about how wonderful the light was on that side of the island at dusk.
Together, we find our way to the small campus, check in to the building we are using as a studio and find others there. They are already working on their post-dinner indoor projects. I set my painting out to dry and find that I like it. Not that that even matters - a bad sunset painting outing is still time spent watching the sunset and painting.
The goal was to paint after dinner and I had done that. I only get one day a year when there is light enough after dinner to do paint on Appledore and I had taken advantage of it.