I recently joined an energetic vibrant group called the Plein Air Painters of El Paso, and we were painting last Friday at Globe Mills, a building that will be torn down in April to make a freeway exchange. Such a shame. The link on the name takes you to a page describing its role in history.
Most of the group was on one side of the building, and I was on the other side, getting a different look (and considering going home because I was freezing!) but I had my easel set up, completely blank, when the newspaper photographer came around the building. He was happy someone was on my side of the building because of where the sun was in relation to the building and to the easel. When I said, I don’t have anything painted yet, he said that it didn’t matter but what he was documenting was community involvement in the building.
So I just started sketching loosely and then once I put on the first wash of blue for the sky, I was hooked! It was such fun to watch the bead of pigment roll down exactly to where I wanted it, and then to pick up the quinacridone burnt scarlet and quin burnt orange and start to define the rest of the building. And it didn’t matter that he was shooting photos. I was just having fun, and so was he because the light was working out. We talked briefly about how much we love what we do and what a shame it was to have this cool building destroyed. Later in the morning several of us went inside the building and took photos.
I learned several things from that day: I can paint under pressure. Paint dries slower in cool (humid) weather — remember I live in the sun and heat of El Paso. It’s always better to try…not to give up and go home. oh yes, and to bring along a ruler when painting buildings! Ha ha.
So whether the plein air paintings can stand on their own, or are studies for studio paintings, or just because I want to document the day (and remember the sounds, breezes, cold, hot, and conversations) of the time. Life is good.
And then the next day I was surprised to see my photo in the paper, and so big on the page, and it was my birthday! so what a cool thing to have happened. There’s also an online gallery that shows other painters in the group and inside the buildings. Take a look!
And here’s one of my photos from inside the building looking over the freeway to the UT El Paso campus.
Thanks for stopping by!