It was probably 40 degrees and a pretty stiff breeze blowing. I guess Doug was feeling right at home. I had a chair set up but I stopped at a coffee shop up in town to get warm and wrap my hands around a warm cup of hot chocolate!!
The foghorn blew and they all started at 9:00 sharp. I thought to myself, "no one is going to be walking out on this pier to watch these guys paint. It's just too stinkin cold!!" I was blown away at what Doug took on as subject matter and thought there would be no way he was going to finish this painting in two hours with all those boats. I thought maybe he'd work on one boat.
The temps started to climb slightly by about 9:30 and I was actually thinking some of the clouds were starting to separate a little and maybe, just maybe, some sun was going to peek through them!! I was hoping. A few people started trickling out onto the pier and I walked around to see what other artists were painting. The drawing was pretty much sketched in and yeah, there were going to be a few boats in this painting. Good luck there, maestro!!
Indeed, the sun did peek through those clouds and the temps started rising. Nice!! But, for a rookie plein air painter, that's an incredible challenge!! I'm thinking - hmmm, what's going to change on this painting now? The sky is now a different color. The water is now a different color. And the boats are different. In fact, one of the boats started up it's engine and scared the living daylights out of me! I thought a few easels were going to fly into the water! bwahaha!!
Well, Doug takes this stuff in stride and soon the people started swarming around him, ooing and awing as it started taking shape. "Look at the detail!" I would hear. A dot here, a quick line there. A boat pulled out quickly and I said "Quick Doug, get that boat!" 5 seconds later, I said "Ah, you missed it." Everyone laughed. I'm sure people were thinking I was just heckling this poor artist!!
I ended up handing out the rest of the cards that I brought. I think I brought close to 200 business cards and at least 200 of the bigger cards that had a picture of either "Court of the Patriarchs" or "Calf Creek Corridor" on one side and all of the website/blog info on the other side. I kept one last one so people could at least take a picture of the info on the one side!
At 90 minutes, people were stopping to ask about the board and how it was set inside the "cradle" that he mounts it in. He seriously was just taking his time - stopping to show people how it worked and how the frame worked. He actually had drawn a picture on his easel because so many people ask about it! The final painting was the best of the entire week! One guy said "That's by brown boat right there! No one has ever painted my boat before!" It was just a couple of paint strokes but it was definitely his brown boat. So cool how so many boats were identified by so few strokes. In the last 15 minutes, the sun was out the the sun was shimmering on the water. He did a couple of big bold strokes through the water and the "baby blue" strokes through the sky changed. It was seriously just magical how it transformed from this "dismal" morning to this bright shimmering day.
The foghorn sounded at 11 and everyone stopped. Here's the final product:
8 x 10
So all in all, an incredible week. Doug definitely left his mark in Door County. He didn't win best of show but hey, when you win it all the first year, what do you have to aspire for the next year, right? I could not have been more proud of him. It was so wonderful to meet so many incredible artists as well as some wonderful people who were gracious enough to buy the art there and encourage us to return again! The staff at the Peninsula School of Art who put this all together were just amazing. Probably the most well-run event we have ever participated in (and we have been in a lot of them!) Huge Kudos to Cathy, Kay and the whole staff at the Peninsula School of Art. What an incredible job you did.
We are now meandering our way back home. Stopping off in Minneapolis - maybe for a day or two. Doug is actually out taking some pictures or painting this morning, I'm not sure which. As we were traveling across Wisconsin yesterday, I got his camera out and was taking pictures. I'd see something I thought he'd like and he'd say "Oh you missed that - that was good light!" I'd say "huh? I thought THIS was good light." He laughed and humored me. I still don't get it.
I finally got some wifi here in my campsite and Max is curled up by the door waiting for Doug to get back! I'm going to post this along with the painting below of the last painting he did on that last morning that I missed showing you!! Another beautiful "backlit" painting that is so hard to capture and paint. You painters out there appreciate how hard this is!
12 x 16
all my best,
PS - Doug just returned! OMG!! The painting he did made me cry! Seriously!! I can't wait to post it!