When it’s NOT hot, which is pretty rare lately, this is how I spend my afternoons. Working from my photos or a still life like this bowl of fruit from my neighbor, I sit at my dining room table and draw and paint, getting up at regular intervals to let my demented old cat in/out/in/out/in because she’s pretty sure I haven’t fed her lately, the full kibble dish in the kitchen notwithstanding…
But most days this summer, it’s just too hot. So rather than fry, I put the kitty and her bowls out back under the fir tree, and pack up my Art Bag and go someplace cool. This last week I went to three libraries and a wine bar: OSU Valley Library is the largest and seems to be the one with the oldest art books; Corvallis downtown, by far the most populous; and LBCC, which was small but has an interesting assortment of art books. I didn’t want to drag my heavy old computer along, so I grabbed a random book from whatever was on the shelves, flipped to an interesting page, and pulled out my paints. Since school’s out and there weren’t any students around, nobody seemed to mind or even notice.
The portrait of the long-necked lady was inspired by a painting in a book (I wrote the credits on the page). My sketching friends (mostly from Sketchbook Skool – it’s a great online community) and I have been discussing online the relative merits and various approaches to learning from the masters – this painting was shown in a black and white photograph, so it left lots of room for color interpretation. The Ansel Adams portrait was from a black and white photo taken by one of his friends – another opportunity for interpretation.
After the LBCC library, we stopped to see the birdhouse I painted last spring for them – it really is a nice concept, with a little book inside where people passing by have written poems or drawn pictures. It was shady there in the quad, but not cool, so on to Albany. The wine bar was in a historic brick building that was lovely and air-conditioned to the “just right” mark on the thermometer. We chose a table that had a good angle on a mirror. Since I had my gear spread all over the table, it was difficult to finish unnoticed. Our server put the word out, so I had several admirers, and the owner wanted a photo when I finished – very kind and flattering folks.
Maybe it will cool off and I’ll be able to focus this next week and finish the travel journal sketches from New England, but if it doesn’t, at least I know that I can always hole up in the libraries to beat the heat… I knew there was a good reason for all those taxes we pay!