That Particular Green: a fairytale

"They'll sell you thousands of greens.  Veronese green and emerald green and cadmium green and any sort of green you like; but that particular green, never."

--Pablo Picasso

(photo credit: Ian Kindle)

Once upon a time there was a woman looking for a particular green...

The Riverside Festival of the Arts took place in Easton, PA recently.  (September 17-18 to be exact.)  I signed up to participate in the plein air contest.  (A lot of people ask me what plein air painting is.  Basically, it means painting outdoors, in the full and open air, rather than the studio.)  I have entered this particular contest twice before.  Here's a painting I did in 2011 (I think) when my son was a baby:

"Community Garden Marigolds" oil on canvas, 8x10"  (From the private collection of Katherine Johnstone)

And here's another one I did two years ago:

"Train Trestle over the Delaware" 16x20"  (From the private collection of Bonnie and Toby Tobin)

I didn't win anything those times, but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of painting outdoors.  This year I took myself to my favorite spot on the way up to College Hill, overlooking the rooftops of Easton.  I have painted this spot once before, in May 2015, for a commission:

"Easton Rooftops in Spring" May 2015, 16x20" oil on canvas  (from the private collection of Berry Steiner)

So there I was, back at that spot again, to see how I would approach it differently after a couple of plein air workshops and a lot more painting under my belt.  In addition, I went plein air painting like a maniac all summer (see my blog post: Summer Landscapes) so I was feeling especially warmed up.  I did some preliminary sketches to establish my composition and simplify the values.

Preliminary sketches.

Then I set up my new easel.  It's a Coulter Easel which I obtained by bartering with another artist.  (A gently used easel in exchange for modeling.)  Sorry Frenchie, our relationship is over.  (Frenchie is my horrible French easel.)

Hello new easel.  I love you!

Starting to paint!

Even though I was sick (I had a nasty cold!) I put 100% of my effort into this painting, and I did my very best.  I'm proud to say I even painted in the rain, an umbrella in one hand, and a paintbrush in the other! 

My good friend Rachel Engh took this photo, and wrote about it, among other things, in her blog, "30 in PA."

Finished painting: "Easton Rooftops in September" 16x20" oil on canvas.  Sorry this isn't the best photo.  I'll update it as soon as I can.

And guess what!  I won second place!  Here's what I wrote that night on facebook:

"I am over the moon! Wow!!! I can't believe it!!! I won second place in the plein air contest!!!!! 
I'm so happy and grateful and surprised! The $500 reward will come in handy paying the rent on my new studio! 
(Please come to my grand opening Oct. 1!!)"

Here are the winning paintings, from left to right, starting with 4th on the left, and first on the far right.

And here's a picture of me, surprised, grateful, and ecstatic:

She found her particular green.  

(It was cerulean blue + yellow ochre.)  

Damn, it was good!

And She Lived Happily Ever After, Painting A Lot

The End