Paint Schoodic

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Barrier-free plein air painting

Schoen Place, even though it's a reworked old industrial space, is very accessible to the less-mobile painter.
As much as I loved teaching at the Irondequoit Inn and Lakewatch Manor, neither of them were barrier-free. I have a student here in Rochester who wanted dearly to come to Maine with me, but the staircases kept her away.  So when we booked into Belfast’s Fireside Inn, which has a lift, she signed up right away.

Ironically, my home studio in Rochester isn’t barrier-free, so V. only studies with me in the summer. When we first met I thought plein-air handicapped-access was probably not a workable concept. But in fact here in Rochester it works very well. We find a location, V. spins her walker around and uses it as a seat, and we’re good to go. We’ve painted at Lake Ontario, along the Erie Canal, at High Falls and at many other places.

Durand-Eastman is another place that's more accessible than it seems at first glance. It has a paved path along the waterfront.
It’s just a matter of avoiding places with really soft gravel, or places that require too much walking. Realistically, if it’s not safe and pleasant for V, it’s not going to be pleasant for someone schlepping 15 pounds of painting supplies on his or her back.

It’s not something I ever thought of before I met V, I’m ashamed to admit. But since I’ve been paying attention, I’ve realized that barrier-free is something smaller cities like Rochester have done better than other, trendier places in my orbit. We have the space to reinvent ourselves.

Highland Park is another place with excellent, paved paths, and it's possible to circumnavigate the space without using stairs.
I think it's going to work just fine in Maine, too. (I am almost sold out for this workshop, so if you’re on the fence about coming, you really should do something sooner or later.)


Let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in Belfast, Maine in August, 2014 or in Rochester at any time. Click 
here for more information on my Maine workshops!

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