This past weekend, I participated in my first ever 'Paint Out' or Plein Air Painting Competition. Painting in 'plein air' is the French and fancy way of saying painting outside, out in the open; observing nature with special notice to lighting. The impressionists (most famously Claude Monet) started this in the 19th century.
With my Journey to 500, I really want to push myself to improve, plus I had always wanted to try one of these 'paint in a day' sort of competitions... so when I read about this upcoming event in the paper, I knew I had to try it! I was really nervous...butterflies big time! Luckily, I had recently met an artist at my church, Rachel Steely and convinced her to do this with me. We were rookies together!
It all started on Thursday night, where we attended an orientation, watched a painting demonstration, but most importantly, got our canvases stamped. This certified that everyone competing in the event started off with white canvases. We were allowed to paint anywhere in Hamilton Co. on public property. There were also about 9 purchase site locations where artists could sign up to go and paint. Then, during the judging on Saturday, the patron of each site would select the winning painting and the artist be awarded money for the 'sale' of their work. Each artist could also turn in one other painting in addition to the purchase site painting.
Rachel and I weren't too familiar with the area and tried to decide where to paint...we ended up at the Merrel residence (one of the purchase sites) in Noblesville, which was the perfect location. I liked that it was private and no one would come up and bother us...especially since I wasn't really sure I what I was doing! Aside from the house, there were gardens, two barns, an old bridge, a pool, tennis court, lots of great painting options! We ended up both doing a painting in the morning, broke for lunch, and then another one in the afternoon.
My goal was to paint pretty much the whole day (breaking for lunch of course) and to have work that I wasn't embarrassed of to turn in for the judging on Saturday. By the end of Friday, I felt exhausted, but victorious. With my Journey to 500, I was getting used to 6X6 and 5X7, so painting a 11X14 and 9X12 felt like murals to me! ha ha (FYI- My paintings from the weekend are # 37 & 38...so you'll be seeing them again in a few weeks.)
The weekend ended with some sweet surprises during the awards ceremony when I received an honorable mention for my Aqua Chairs painting and the Purchase Award for my White Barn! Plus the lady whose house we were at also wanted to buy the Aqua Chairs. So I left having sold both paintings, plus I got award money too. It was very encouraging to have that recognition. Plus the money definitely helped offset the cost of a lot of the paint and supplies I've been buying to be doing this Painting Journey. Yea! What a great experience...I'll need to try another Paint Out again in the future for sure! :)
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