Last week I took part in London’s Pintar Rapido plein air painting weekend. This started with all artists showing up at the Chelsea old town hall Saturday to register and then wander around London to find the perfect spot to paint and returning at the end of the day with our masterpieces. These were to be exhibited for sale and prize selection the following day.
I was to meet my friend and fellow artist Caroline Marsland at Chelsea after taking the train from Brighton to Victoria station. I was assured that once at Victoria, it was an easy bus ride on a 211 bus found at bus stop G. I spent 45 minutes hauling my heavy art supples around Victoria station finally asking the third bus person where to find such a spot as the Victoria station area is under massive construction. I finally found a small group of people around a temporary marker with 211 penciled in and left for Chelsea.
Once Caroline and I got together and registered, we lugged our heavy art bags via busses and the underground to the Tower of London’s dock area. After a long walk around to find the perfect area, we finally started two hours later. I liked the view of the Tower bridge so I decided to plant myself under a large tree near a taxi stand. This was good in that it kept me relatively dry and away from the many tourists which unfortunately hounded Caroline in her chosen spot. It started to rain. I had chosen slow drying acrylics to use as painting out of doors causes ones acrylics to dry very quickly. My slow dryers were so slow that they ran when wet and smudged when taken back to Chelsea in the pouring rain. Neither Caroline or I were satisfied with our results and did not leave our art to enter at the Chelsea art exhibition. I slowly hauled my very heavy load on wheels back to Victoria station and on to Brighton, totally exhausted.
Lessons learned were that in the future, I will use my carriart case to secure the wet paintings (check them out on line). I will put my half french easel (much lighter then my full french easel) on a luggage carrier with sturdy wheels along with art materials for ease of travel. I will not travel vast distances across busy tourist laden streets and undergrounds but will check out a place ahead of time and one which is easier to navigate. Lastly, I won’t go out in the rain to paint.
So for those of you who wish to experience plein air painting, it can be lots of fun. Painting from real life can add energy to your work. A couple more suggestions are as follows: make sure you are near a bathroom, pack a lunch and plenty of water, and to discourage onlookers, a suggestion from my learned friend Lisa Cirenza, wear ear plugs even if they aren’t on as people may hesitate to interrupt you.