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Painting close to home

Sometimes I really want to paint en plein air but the effort just sounds too exhausting. This month's gorgeous fall weather has called me outdoors four times so far. The first three times I went to the Hahn Horticultural Garden at VT and worked in watercolor. Takes a lot of effort (worthwhile) for that location. First you need a parking permit (good for a week) available at the visitors center across from University City Blvd. Them you drive to the garden, find a parking spot and walk around until you decide where to settle down for your creative efforts. So many choices! I pull around a rolling cart with all my paraphernalia and finally settle down; once in the shade, twice in full sun, trying to record some of the wonderful Simply Elemental installations which I know will disappear this week. I end up happy with my results and tired out by the efforts, each of which took several hours from start to finish. It's a big garden for dragging my cart around. I envy those painters who manage to work outside from just a little back pack! A couple of days ago, the urge to paint hit in the morning as I pulled into my driveway in Preston Forest coming back from an errand. The long drive is lined with trees on both sides and curves gently uphill to the gaping garage door of the brown house which seems in harmony with the nature around it. The sun was high to the right of the drive, casting great shadows from right to left and leaving sparkling highlights on tree trunks and leaves. It was beautiful. I went inside, switched my cart from watercolor to acrylic (I have two carts!), added my easel and a canvas and dumped it all into the back of my SUV. I drove a couple hundred feet to the little cut in on the side of the drive, opened the back door and set myself up in the middle of gravel, going back and forth to the car when I needed something, a mere 10 feet away. An hour and a half later I was finished with my favorite landscape ever and managed not to get run over by a delivery truck. Sometimes home is where the art is.

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