On Saturday I participated in my third annual Dockside Quick Paint in Fish Creek, WI. This annual event is in conjunction with the week-long Plein Air Festival sponsored by the Peninsula School of Art. The energy is contagious and the joy of painting with other artists is invigorating. Between 100-200 artists each year gather in about a 4-block area, surrounded by curious onlookers. A horn blows at 9am, and the artists must create a painting from a blank canvas in two hours. At 11am, the horn sounds again, and brushes must be put down.
I enjoy talking with people when I paint outdoors, but this competition is nerve-wracking. Most of the observers understand that, and stand back to watch the paintings come together, talking in low tones about the progress. It can be very encouraging to hear whispers of "look at how she did that" and "I love how the light hits there." Because of the size and detail in this work, I chose to work mainly with a pallet (or painting) knife with thick paint. The outcome is a much "looser" work than I normally would do, and it helps me to skip the detail and paint quickly.
I have to admit, I was shaking at the start, and was pretty focused throughout most of my effort. This is the first year that I painted right up to the second horn, and wished I had a little more time. I may have bitten off more than I should have with the complication of this piece in such a short time slot, but all-in-all I was happy with the outcome. And someone else was happy enough with it to buy it at the reception that evening. I hope they realize that oil paints can take a long time to dry!
Here is my painting, "Linger." It depicts a lovely little coffee shop in downtown Fish Creek, WI - in the middle of Door County. Thank you to all the volunteers who help make this event successful!