I'm calling this a plein air field study because it WAS painted en plein air. I was participating in the 4th Annual Crooked Tree Art Center's Paint-Out yesterday up in Petoskey. Right after painting "Bear River Bridge" (see below), the rain started. I'd had foresight to buy a slice of cherry pie on the drive up. I had the perfect little, ornate frame and canvas. There had been a 60% chance of rain predicted, so I wanted to have something I could paint under shelter.
I set the pie on a blank canvas board and painted the whole thing under the shelter of the liftgate of my Flex. The rain poured down, ruining the many sidewalk sales also underway in Petoskey, but I was happy as a clam.
Of course I sat in the car upon finishing this painting, enjoying some Starbucks coffee I'd brought from home and this cherry pie! Waste not, want not.
Last Monday my friend Evelyn Wujcik and I had to drive through Petoskey on our way up to play in the Harbor Springs Community Band concert. I asked Ev (a fantastic trumpet player) if she knew of any pretty places in Petoskey. She showed me this great little park on Lake Street. Besides this beautiful bridge, there are also a waterfall, boat harbor and historical buildings. Thanks to Ev, I knew right where to go. I knew the rain wouldn't hold out for long and I couldn't afford to be driving around, searching for something to paint.
A crew of volunteers were cleaning out trash from the Bear River and shoreline. Besides the usual junk, they carried out a waterlogged full-sized mattress!
I stood under a giant maple tree to paint this view. It's always a rare pleasure to find a spot interesting enough to paint that isn't also in the blinding, hot sun!
I think it took longer for me to draw in this bridge than to paint the whole picture. Very complicated, but lovely architectural details. It was very overcast, but I tried to brighten up the colors a little.
During the salmon runs, this river is lined with fishermen. It's quite a sight. The Bear River empties out into Lake Michigan at this point and it's amazing to watch the big salmon and steelhead trying to head upstream to spawn. Huge boulders all along the sides, thundering sounds of rushing water, clean, crisp air -- it's a wonderful place.