Gloucester Plein Air Day

When the forecast calls for perfect weather (during a summer of so much rain), and your friends want to plein air paint for the day, what do you do? Use a vacation day to take off work and head out with your painting gear!

And that's exactly what I did last Thursday, heading up to Gloucester, MA to take part in a a plein air painting event organized by The Rocky Neck Art Colony, one of the oldest art colonies in the United States. 

Rocky Neck

After checking in for the day and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I met up with with my painting friends Nensi and Sharon and we picked out a great place to paint for the afternoon: the beach at Oakes Cove, where we had to be mindful of setting up with the tide coming in.

 It was a great opportunity that day to try out my beach wagon that my husband gave me for Christmas last year, specifically for hauling my plein air gear (especially when I need to bring my framing equipment).  This little red wagon was perfect for navigating the narrow streets of Rocky Neck and had no issue climbing over the rocky shore to my painting spot!

plein air wagon
It was a challenging painting day overall though...the wind was fairly strong and kept drying out my paper as much as I tried to keep things moist with pre-wetting my paper and spraying my surface with my spray bottle. My umbrella broke when it tipped over and I couldn't catch it in time (didn't have enough weight on my tripod), so I had to keep dodging the sun and moving around as it moved and crept onto my painting.  At least I was prepared with two panels I made for the day - my first one was going so well until I botched one of the boats I was painting.  Tossed that one aside and started over, painting much faster but still overthinking some things as I went. I always find it much harder to plein air paint for events, knowing that you need to produce something to show at the end, and I'm very out of practice this year with only plein air painting one time before last week. I need to get out more!
plein air on the beach
But all in all, my painting turned out ok! I had fun with applying gouache (one of my special tricks) at the end to get the sparkle on the water and the look of the water splashing on shore. Applied some quick spray varnish layers and popped it into my plein air frame and was ready to bring it to the wet paint sale.
All the artists gathered at the end of the day to hang their paintings for a wet paint sale and party, complete with live jazz music, drinks, and snacks. It was such a nice evening meeting other local artists, visiting some of the studios of the artists living in the colony, and just talking about art! A couple I met while painting during the day (they were taking their kayaks down to the water) came to the event and it was so nice to show them the painting I finished that they had only seen in-progress earlier in the day.
plein air party 
Now I have a bunch of inspiration photos on my phone that I can't wait to paint! I'm definitely in a "boat phase" right now with some of my recent paintings.
rocky neck evening
Here's my painting now hanging on my gallery wall in my studio. I need to get this added to my portfolio! My next official event is coming up on September 9 in Perkins Cove, ME (third year painting at that event) and I may bring this painting with me to sell that day.
Oakes Cove

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