Snookiedog and I boarded the Custom Canvas Cruiser on a very late but warm fall afternoon last year to spend some time on the river and paint. After my show in 2004, I hope you will find me more often on the river bank with my field easel and brush in hand painting the river first hand. The thrill is to let the river tell you where the treasure is located. On this occasion, the river led me to my favorite Missouri River hangout, a little island about three miles upstream from Washington I affectionately refer to as Snookie's Island. Snookie loves the boat and the island is heaven on earth for my dear Snookiedog.
Snookie can hardly wait till the bow of our river studio touches the bank of her special island. As you can see above, her little island is simple, but, as she stands from her point above, her thoughts must be only about her kingdom. With nose to the ground and ears bouncing in the wind, she can not explore far enough nor fast enough. After fifteen or twenty minutes of running on the sand, stopping to sniff and dig, and investigating every piece of driftwood to flow down the Missouri and become stranded on the banks of Snookie's Island, she finds a location where she can keep on eye on me. She is always afraid I will have some fun and she will miss the festivities.
This day I found a single point in the middle of the island begging for attention. As Snookie and I approached the island from the channel to the right in the above photo, we came to close to an Egret. The Egret took flight and flew past the small point. I turned to Snookie and told her that I believe the river has just shown us our assignment for the day.
Painting on location is much different than the studio work that I do. Your time is short because the light is fleeting, thus, you must respond quickly to each problem as it presents itself. Everything must be keep simple from the size of the work to the techniques used to execute the painting. My field easel above is prefect for the task. You will note that I am working on an area that appears to be a folding table top. That is a handy little case designed to carry paint and be used as a palette and equipment holder while at work. The case is called a "French Mistress" most likely because the origins of on location painting, or plein-air painting, are French. The case was ordered from the internet, and, when it arrived at the gallery, Sandy opened the door to the studio and said with a question in her voice "were you expecting a package from your French Mistress"? I had to assure her that the package was a French Mistress.
The day was perfect, a gentle breeze, a warm late fall sun, and time to work on the river. Time is the most valuable asset we possess. There is never enough of it, and, for Snookiedog and I to spend it painting on the river is a priceless gift.