Long hot walk is a painting of Semaphore done on two excursions with the outdoor painting group.
The day was boiling hot (about 33 degrees in the shade), the flies were hanging around and I chose a very exposed spot. I remember the reason. This was an occasion when composition took priority over comfort. The expanse of sand and its framing by the jetty and the fence drew me in. This is a very long beach at low tide and the sand is the dominant feature, not only of the painting but also in reality.
Many people walked past during those hours, most of them mothers and children as it was school holiday time. If it was a hot walk down, it was an even hotter walk back. Checking out the painting coming and going, they might not have seen much progress. Some stopped for a chat. One person was offering a reward for some money she had lost. All sorts of things were going on for them (and me).
The main challenge in this painting was all that sand – the bit I had loved so much at first! Although there were many footprints, painting them in made the picture very busy. With brushstroke texture and (later) some subtle colour variations the composition maintained its simplicity but held some visual interest. Looking back at the photo I took on the first day brings it back. I think I prefer the photo!
On one of mornings I was harassed from the jetty by a very angry man. He came down onto the sand, walked straight up to me and continued his unsettling tirade. It was clear that he was not at the top of his game but I was cornered with all my gear so I waited it out. Why didn’t I just leave it? Eventually he gave up the non-argument. Lucky, as by then the passers by had thinned right out and my colleagues were nowhere to be seen – in the shade somewhere no doubt. When I packed up for lunch a bit later I saw the same fellow nailing someone else to the spot. One of our group had intervened to liberate his next victim.
This reminds me why I don’t often set out alone to paint anymore. Nothing really to be afraid of I suppose, but something else that has to be dealt with. As if painting isn’t difficult enough!
One of my blogging colleagues Kelly Medford is currently painting outdoors every day in Rome (for 120 days). Is it different there I wonder?
How many people go out to paint alone these days? Do you?