A little Artist Humor outside the Finer Frames Gallery that Hosted the Plein Air Event.
10/17 to 10/25
We spent the last week in Eagle Idaho (which is a suburb of Boise). We have found that there wasn’t as much charm as we had hoped for, but there were some beautiful green spaces and the biking paths were great. We settled into an RV park which provided all the conveniences with full hookups (water, sewer and electricity) which makes living in the Airstream like living in a home. On our first full day we checked into the Eagle Plein Air Festival which meant that I brought my blank painting canvases to the frame shop and they stamped the back. This enables them to know that everyone is painting their paintings during this week and not doing a painting ahead of time. From there Ross, Buddy and I headed off to Eagle Island State park which was the first recommended painting location. At these festivals, the organizers suggest locations everyday and quite a few people will then show up and paint at there. Since we don’t know the area we are following their recommendations.
Eagle Island State Park had some beautiful trees, lakes and looked like it would be a lot of fun in the summer since it also had waterslides, playgrounds, swimming area and disc golf. I found a beautiful spot with views of some beautiful trees reflecting in the lake. We also enjoyed a picnic that evening in the park for our 12 year anniversary.
On the second day we headed over to Kathryn Albertson Park in Boise. It was a park with lakes, natural grasses and a few sculptural rocks. The area that I decided to paint in felt a bit like Giverny (Monet’s Garden). I decided to paint this painting with a more impressionistic feel in honor of Monet. While I painted Buddy and Ross enjoyed some quiet time. I love this picture of Ross reading up on Golf and Buddy relaxing while waiting for the next person to come by and say hi.
Ross, Buddy and I then had a nice picnic in a nearby park. I had read about the Boise River Greenbelt which is a beautiful bike path that runs for 25 miles along the Boise river. I decided to bike home along the greenbelt while Ross drove back and stopped at a local golf course. It was a lovely afternoon and I thoroughly enjoyed the bike path.
The third day of the painting challenge started off at Schick-Ostolasa Farmstead which is a part of the Historical Society and had lots of fantastic buildings to paint. I had a hard time trying to decide which building to choose but ultimately ended up painting the building where they used to store the horse saddles. I could have painted for days there, and was thankful that it was a recommended place to go otherwise we would have missed it. It was fun to paint the wood texture of the barn structure. Ironically behind me were chickens and goats, and it humored me because there were times when they were making noises and it sure sounded like they were laughing at my painting. It was my least favorite painting of the week so maybe it was my subconscious hearing things.
The afternoon I spent hiking some of the dirt trails near our RV Park. Eagle/Boise has a large network of mountain biking trails that was nice to see. Had we had more time we would have liked to bike some of the mountain biking trails but our days seemed to fill up way to quickly.
In the evening I met another artist to do a Nocuturne painting. It was my first time ever doing this type of painting and what a challenge it was. The goal is to paint a painting at dusk. The light at this time changes so quickly and what was particularly difficult was trying to mix the paint colors after it turned dark and not really know what color I was mixing. I am not unhappy with the result and was pleasantly surprised when I brought it inside into the light. I did go back a second night for an hour to touch up a few items that I noticed when I could see it in daylight. Most likely this painting will go into a closet for another use but I enjoyed the experience and will try it again now that I know more what to expect.
On Day 4 of the Festival they had suggested some barns located throughout the County but Ross and I decided to bike more of the Greenbelt after we hiked with Buddy at the Eagle Sports Complex and Bike park. Many of the easier mountain bike trails allow dogs to be off leash hiking so that was our new morning ritual.
The Boise Greenbelt Bike path was GORGEOUS! The colors were at peak and the weather was beautiful. I had to stop several times to take photos and think about potential painting sites.
I went back in the late afternoon to one of my favorite locations. In general most plein air painters prefer to paint early in the day or later in the afternoon when the angle of the sun casts better shadows on objects. Buddy sat by my side to protect and encourage me while Ross headed off to the nearest golf course. I think because I loved this location and really enjoyed my afternoon that this painting reflects the beauty. I also really enjoyed talking to all the people who stopped on the bike path to chat and take a lot at the work in progress.
On Day 5 it was suggested that we paint the Payette River. I did a little research on line and it looked as if there was a beautiful driving loop that we could take to see the Payette River and the surrounding country side. So after another nice dog walk we all piled into the truck and drove the loop. There were a few nice vistas but not good and safe pullouts to allow me to paint. We finished the loop and were glad that we saw that area but decided it would be better for me to paint another location that I had scoped out on the bike path the previous day. Because it was midday and lighting wasn’t great, we headed out on our bikes for another ride in the opposite direction along the Boise River. The greenbelt bike path is really a must if you come visit this area.
I spent the afternoon with Buddy by my side painting another glorious view of the Boise River. The skies reflecting in the River and the fall colors really inspired me. Sadly the weather started to turn and a cold front pulled in. The blue skies turned grey and the temperatures dropped.
On the 6th day of the Festival was the Quick Draw Event. All Plein Air Festivals have this event which is where they select a location (usually it is a central location like a Main Street) and everyone participating starts at exactly the same time and must finish within 2 hours and have a framed painting. The artist can pick any subject matter and it is always interesting to see what paintings are created in such a quick time. I selected a front door of a house nearby. I honestly have to say that I struggled to find a location that spoke to me since the historic downtown wasn’t that historical and the architectural charm was lacking.
The rest of our stay in Eagle was spent photographing my art and framing it, with a few walks with Ross and Buddy. Unfortunately I did not win any awards, but I did have a great time and felt like I learned a lot about the process and I think my painting skills grew. What a great experience to really focus on my painting for a straight week. Looking back at my paintings from even just a year ago I can see a huge progression. I’m looking forward to doing another Plein Air Festival in the future at another location.
We are off to Oregon for some more fun adventures.