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Plein Air Painters August 21, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Humor, Mindfulness.

A few months after moving to Florida, I met several members of Plein Air Painters ~ artists who gather at various outdoor venues to paint, draw, sketch, or photograph the environs.

Artists in Plein Aire
brave the breeze at Bean Point to
create works of art

Excited to join them, I schlepped my painting supplies to the Anna Maria Island Pier one windy Wednesday morning.


Arriving early, I set up a small table to hold my brushes, water, and palette.  I began painting the pier, palms, and turquoise water, while sitting on the park bench, painting pad on my lap.

After finishing a wash of the sky and water below, I dropped my wet paint brush into the sand.  Bending over to retrieve the dirty brush, I knocked into the table, upsetting the water, brushes and palette.


Setting aside the still wet painting, I stood up to clean up the mess . . .

And watched in horrified fascination as the painting blew off the bench to land upside down and downside up on the sand.

Stoic, with pioneer spirit, I finished the painting and took it home.


The kicker . . . I never saw any other members of the group that morning since they had set up their easels farther down the bay front beach.

I know they were there because I saw their smiling visages in the next edition of the island newspaper inviting intrepid island artists to join their next outing.


Now when I head to the beach, I leave my watercolor supplies at home and arrive with only camera in hand.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. Don - August 21, 2013

Where,s the painting, Nancy? After going through that kind of process it must be an abstract masterpiece.

nrhatch - August 21, 2013

After a few nips and tucks, the painting of the pier and palms became a birthday greeting card for a friend. 😎

2. Tom Merriman - August 21, 2013

Sometimes, Nancy, those random chain of events really make the day. They’ve certainly added character to your painting!

nrhatch - August 21, 2013

I agree, Tom. I learn faster during bumpy rides than when life is all smooth sailing.

And, when I got home, the sand in the painting looked real . . . and I could see the whole world in each grain. 😀

3. Eric Tonningsen - August 21, 2013

Yes, I thought for sure we’d see a magnificent sandscape. Perhaps even with a Pelican contribution. Or were they just passively snickering? Sorry about your pier woes. There’s always again. 🙂 Fun read.

nrhatch - August 21, 2013

Thanks, Eric. Live and learn, eh? I learned to leave Plein Aire painting to people with easels and paper clips.

And, yes, I think those pelicans were snickering at me! :mrgreen:

4. Grannymar - August 21, 2013

Had everything gone to plan, I bet you would not have blogged about it! See, there is a reason for everything!

nrhatch - August 21, 2013

I’ve had a few experiences I would prefer not to repeat . . . but almost none that I would delete from my memory banks.

We learn from our successes and our less than stellar attempts.

Grannymar - August 21, 2013

Too true. I may run out of yarn, but never yarns! 😉

nrhatch - August 21, 2013

Well said!

5. aawwa - August 21, 2013

I can imagine how you must have felt. I loved the expression ‘horrified fascination’ – nice post 🙂

nrhatch - August 22, 2013

Thanks, Lorraine. Painting outside is not for the faint of heart. 😀

6. Booksphotographsandartwork - August 21, 2013

Oh such beautiful photos! I’ll bet your painting was beautiful too even with sand on it.

nrhatch - August 22, 2013

Thanks, Linda. Part of the painting turned out well . . . especially the palm tree. I did learn that painting outside is harder to coordinate and much more distracting than painting indoors.

7. Suzanne - August 21, 2013

I can relate to that. I too have given up en plein aire painting in favour of the camera. Over here in Australia it’s either blow flies and scorching sun or wind and driving rain. The camera is a much a easier option and as your photos show, a wonderfully creative one.

nrhatch - August 22, 2013

Yes! Photography is a far less cumbersome way to capture some of the gorgeous scenes around here. Except for Clyde Butcher . . . who wades into the marsh with tripods and gargantuan cameras:


Switching to painting might lighten his load. 😛

8. Pix Under the Oaks - August 22, 2013

I am happy you picked up your camera! And your pictures make me smile this morning cause I been there!!!! 😀

nrhatch - August 22, 2013

Yay! This is a great spot to visit and/or to be. Hope you make it back next winter.

9. spilledinkguy - August 22, 2013

My wife likes to paint outside… not… me. Even if the wind doesn’t blow everything around there are perpetually bits of ‘stuff’ / insects flying into your work, the light almost always seems harsh / wrong, passers-by gawk, etc. etc. I don’t know about you, but one of the things I like most about drawing / painting is how relaxing it can be (and, sadly, there’s just no way I can relax working in plein aire). 🙂

nrhatch - August 22, 2013

Yes!!! I agree. When I paint inside . . . I get lost in choosing the next color and the next and the next. Outside, there are too many distractions competing for attention.

10. Three Well Beings - August 23, 2013

I didn’t realize you painted, too! I hope you’ll share your work sometime. How nice to have such beauty around you—lots of inspiration!

nrhatch - August 23, 2013

I painted tropical scenes more often before moving to Florida than I have since ~> now that I’m happily here I don’t have the same need to get lost in painting palms.

I’ve shared a painting or two here and there on SLTW, but I’ve not been happy with the quality of the scans. There’s one of daisies in this post:


11. ericjbaker - August 23, 2013

Who knows, maybe your sand-encrusted creation is a masterpiece waiting to be discovered!

nrhatch - August 23, 2013

I’m hoping to be discovered post-humorously. :mrgreen:

ericjbaker - August 23, 2013

I’m hoping you’ll post a picture of it. Let the masses decide!

nrhatch - August 23, 2013

I would if I could . . . but I can’t so I shan’t.

After a few nips and tucks, the painting of the pier and palms became a birthday greeting card for a friend.

12. jannatwrites - August 24, 2013

In the southwest, the Navajos make beautiful sand paintings (growing up, we had several of Indian dancers.) Maybe you could start a trend with your Florida twist on the idea. A camera would certainly be easier to manage than paints, so I can’t blame you for leaving them at home!

nrhatch - August 24, 2013

It’s amazing what Navajos and Buddhist monks can do with a bit of colored sand and a heaping pile of patience.

I remember doing something similar as a child . . . with sparkles, confetti, glue, and safety scissors. 😛

13. savitha jvn - September 3, 2013

your posts are all awesome. and there are so many! i hope to read all of them ASAP 🙂

nrhatch - September 3, 2013

Thanks, Savitha. If there is a specific topic that interests you, you can find more post on that topic by using the “select category” button just above the calendar or by doing a word search using the search bar.

savitha jvn - September 4, 2013

sure i will do that Nancy, thank you 🙂 and wow! i am amazed at the number of your posts! i really am..

nrhatch - September 4, 2013

I started blogging in February 2010 . . . that’s 1,000+ days of blogging. Like anything else in life, we cover the most ground taking one step at a time.

savitha jvn - September 4, 2013

oh thats nice! true, 1 step at a time 🙂

14. Tokeloshe - September 5, 2013

Great post and photos!
I never get tired of the clear skies, white sands and blue water.
I would love to see your paintings.

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

Thanks, Tok. I feel the same about the colors here . . .

I enjoyed your recent photos of Montana. Next summer we may need to plan a mountain getaway.

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

I haven’t shared many of my paintings because they don’t seem to scan well. You can see a bunch of daisies I painted at the bottom of this post:


Tokeloshe - September 5, 2013

I find the same with my scrapbooking.
Have you tried photographing them?
Thank you 😉

nrhatch - September 5, 2013

That’s an idea. Maybe I’ll give that a try. Thanks!

15. Making Your Dreams Come True | Spirit Lights The Way - September 26, 2013

[…] short time ago, when I posted a post about Plein Aire Painting, several readers requested that I share my […]

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