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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

You can paint anything if you can paint greens

View from Catherine's gazebo, by Anna McDermott. (The color of these paintings is somewhat overblown because it was almost dark when I snapped these shots.)
There are places with gazebos in Rochester, but when there’s electrical activity on the horizon it helps if they’re not too far from a parking lot. Yesterday was a humid, dark day with thunderstorms forecasted for 5 PM. I went over my list of options with my student and pal, Catherine, ending up with the Fairport Library gazebo.

The actual scene she was painting. The greens of summer can be acidic and unvaried in New York.
“No, not that again!” she responded, and I had to agree. Although it overlooks the canal, it’s got boring sightlines.

View from Catherine's gazebo, by Sandy Quang.
So we met in her gazebo, which overlooks a 10-acre pond. The trouble is, there’s a rain forest between the gazebo and the pond and no amount of chopping seems to keep the sightlines open.

The actual scene she was painting. 
All of which I knew before I got there, but I still love the view, since you’re looking across a thicket of sumacs to a far hillside. Of course, it’s all green, but greens are an excellent challenge. If you can sort out a painting from a thicket of scrubby trees, you can paint anything.

In the Forest of Fontainebleau took Camille Corot five years to complete (1860-65). I gave my students three hours.

I have three openings left for my 2014 workshop in Belfast, ME. Information is available here.

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