The outdoor group met at Hallett Cove Conservation Park three Fridays ago.
Only a handful of artists turned up, possibly because most of the artists live on the other side of town. This was my side of town and there was a beach involved, so I was lining up.
The park is an interesting site for geomorphologists as well as walkers and painters. I remembered an area of ancient erosion with red landforms and hoped to paint them against a blue ocean. This photo shows the ‘Amphitheatre’ on the right and the whitish ‘Sugar Loaf’ towards the left. My painting cart travelled well along the boardwalk and the dirt track but I was daunted by the many steps towards the Amphitheatre. Although I had packed less water to reduce the trolley weight I was not keen to lug it up those steps.
The seashore beckoned. There was a large cliff dominating the northern end of the beach. Some figures seen first from the carpark turned out to be a wedding party from a distant (international) shore. They were finishing their photo-shoot as I arrived at the foot of the cliff.
All I had to do was choose a spot. The rocks were the purples of manganese (can’t verify that of course) and in deep shadow as I set up. I didn’t trust the slight breeze, so the sand-bag weight was definitely on. All set!
The palette took flight quite early. I had just put it down to make coffee – the hot water and sachet variety. It was recoverable. I thought for an instant, only an instant, that a little sand in the paint wouldn’t hurt. Extra authenticity, right? I just turned the page. An hour in, a big wind gust and…not the easel going over, but everything else. The trolley, the stool/table on it, the paints (lids on, yes) all strewn on the sand. All recoverable, except the paint water. Two pots, gone. And this was the day I had packed less. Only a small amount left in the water bottle, but the makings of another cuppa was in the thermos. It soon cooled off in the breeze and did the trick. The peanut butter sandwich at lunch seemed a bit dry, but there you are.
Of course something helpful came out of this. With the trolley between me and the easel it was more protected from the wind and also kept me at arm’s length from the painting.
After the session I chose to walk back along the beach. I was used to that. I had carried the trolley down ten steps or so to the beach and wanted to avoid that going back. Too clever! The beach was covered in patches of large pebbles and at the other end was a huge steep ramp. Another helpful lesson.
When I arrived the following Friday a colleague was already set up and working. His painting of incoming waves was exquisite after only a couple of hours.
No water shortage on the second week. I wonder whether a little salt water in the pots would do for cleaning the paintbrushes?