Being a plein air painter in Nebraska is a little like playing dodge ball. It can be miserable, but when you realize you’ve made it to the end in one piece, it is oh so sweet. So it was with our V…Vaughan workshop at David City last week.
V... Vaughan completes her demo as the sun goes down on our first day in David City.
Under V…’s expert tutelage our task was to experience the beautiful Nebraska landscape first hand, focusing on the earliest and latest parts of the day. Our hosts from Bone CreekMuseum of Agrarian Art (a tiny gem of an art museum) had located several wonderful spots from which we would work and I was excited to scout out new territory.
For six weeks, six weeks, the weather in Nebraska had been particularly beautiful. Our skies were intensely blue, the temperature was, balmy and winds unusually calm. It looked like the perfect time to paint outdoors.
First light on the second morning. The day started beautifully.
But this is Nebraska - where the weather changes before the weatherman can finish his sentence and it’s not unheard of to watch the thermometer drop 40 degrees in a few short hours.
A few moments later the temps drop, the clouds roll in. We perservere.
Despite the constant threat of inclement weather V… was intent on giving us our money’s worth. She was unfazed by whirling winds, cooling temps and light going flatter than an old grape soda. V…’s brush found rich tones of purple, olive and indigo to describe rolling hills and autumn trees and she shared with us how to translate what we were seeing into paint. Her ability to coax a painting to completion quickly and confidently was inspiring.
We gather to review the days' work.
My goal in for any workshop is to take home one or two bits of information that I can apply to my own style and working methods. V… managed to shoehorn 5 or 6 major "aha’s" between my ears. That's quite an accomplishment. I'm looking forward to including these gems into my studio work - just as soon as I get the grass, gravel, foxtails and mud picked out of my equipment.
Huge thanks to V…, to the folks at Bone Creek Museum of Agrarian Art, and to all the workshop participants who made the weekend so special. V…’s recent exhibit, Passing America: The Great Plains, will be on exhibit at the Great Plains Art Museum in Lincoln, Ne., through December 11, 2011.
On the last afternoon, the sun shone brightly and we were visited by a herd of beautiful British Whites from the Bohaty farm, cattle whose only desire was to pose for our group.