Plein Air Sad Story

Earliest Plein Air / May 2006 / 18×24 watercolor
Pierce College Grounds, Woodland Hills, CA
I forgot about this! This was a class assignment to paint somewhere on campus. We had to paint on big sheets.

Carol and Jane decided it was too windy to paint, and Carol’s allergies were acting up, so we called off painting yesterday morning. An hour or so later it occurred to me that I would be at Pierce anyway for a class at 1:00, so I thought, why not go early, find a spot out of the wind somewhere on campus and paint anyway?

I went back to an area called “the bungalows,” because it is not too public. This is a watercolor I did in a beginner class back in 2006 of the same area. Between renovations and the drought, the place is no longer what it was. The nice green landscaping is long gone. Nevertheless, I settled on an interesting spot with parts of three bungalows and three trees.

I sketched for five or ten minutes. I got out my easel, and…

Aw. It only had two legs. It broke, apparently, when it dumped itself (still in its own bag) onto the sidewalk on the way down to the spot. Drat. No painting outside for me today.

I am now in a quandary. How committed am I to this plein air thing? To replace the same easel is only $36 plus tax and shipping. It’s very lightweight, and I managed to cobble a shelf-like device to the front of it, so I’m reasonably happy. On the other hand, a breeze can topple it fairly easily, and this is the second piece of plastic I’ve broken off of it in the past six weeks.

I don’t think I want a french easel, they look just so heavy and cumbersome that they don’t appeal to me. I saw a pochade box I think I’d like, but the optional tripod pushes it up over $300. A lighter metal easel with a shelf-like apparatus will be over $200.

Going to confer with hubby and see if we can fix what I have. I am generally a cheap, make-do type of person, but I might just have to Go Big …or stay home.

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