I spent the weekend at a festival in Easton, PA, a small city about 50 miles from my home. I’ve participated in this show for many years and I think it’s one of my favorites. I belong to an art association, the Artist Community of Easton, and I also have exhibited work in the Connexions Gallery there for some time. I know many people in town after all these years and I truly enjoyed getting the chance to spend the weekend there in this show.
The Riverside Festival of the Arts, as it is called, is not just about visual arts – there is poetry and music as well. And, there is a plein air art event, too. I participated in this last activity and I had a great time doing it.
I had to give some thought as to how I wanted to proceed, before I even went to the show. I needed some paints and collage supplies, so I packed up a couple of boxes and figured that I’d work with what I brought and not wish for other materials. I also knew that I could not walk around town and pick a view. I needed to stay near my booth. So, whatever I could find within a few yards would be my subject.
The show is held in two adjacent parks along the Delaware River. The river flows along some yards below the level of the parks with a path running beside it. So I decided that my subject was just a few yards away – the river itself. I walked one row of tents over to the edge and had a great view up above and across the water.
I picked up my canvas – an 18″ x 18″ square. At my booth, I covered it with random sections of paper cut from magazine pages, in order to get rid of that blank whiteness. Then I took my materials and sat down on a big rock overlooking the scene, and I painted in the rough outlines of what I wanted to depict. People stopped to talk to me as I worked – that’s part of the intent of the plein air process, to let people see the work evolve.
Then I went back to my chair in my booth and started to collage – holding the piece on my knees. I worked all day Saturday as I also talked with customers, ate lunch, and listened to the music. By the end of the day I was close to being finished. I took the piece home at night but the rules did not allow working on it.
The next morning I looked the piece over again. Really, it didn’t need much more work, I felt. I then painted the edges, put a coat of gloss medium on it, and it was done. I was quite happy with the result and I found the process so much fun!
My husband turned it in for me at the plein air booth. At 3:30 all entries had to be in hand. Then the judging began, and a bit later someone stopped by my booth and told me I had won a prize – go to the music stage and it would be announced. So I did – second prize! I was thrilled.
The works are for sale and are being exhibited at the Quadrant in Easton through October. So some more people will see my vision of the Delaware River on a really nice September day.