Sand Beach, Acadia Nat'l Park, Maine, Jan Blencowe, copyright 2011
Up at 6a.m with plans to get to Sand Beach before too many people arrive to sunbath and swim. A cup of tea in the room, skip breakfast, drive to the location. It's a beautiful morning with, gentle light and just a thin veil of mist in the air. It's very sunny, but there is no shade on the beach of course. I walked down the beach hoping to get under the shade from the cliffs but no luck, there's a marshy inlet there and I can't stand in that.
No matter, I set up using my feather weight tripod and my small, light 6x9 pochade box and attach my umbrella to the tripod. Trouble is I'm basically facing the water and the wind is beginning to pick up and it's coming in off the water and it keeps blowing and threatening to blow my tripod over. OK, no problem. I decide to sit on the beach and take in the tripod legs, so the tripod is now only about 18 inches tall sitting in front of me, as I sit crossed legged on the sand. Good, I can still have the umbrella up.
I'm 3/4 done with my painting and the wind really starts to kick up. I have to stop painting and I'm struggling to keep my tripod down. A nice gentleman comes over to see what I'm doing and I ask him to just hold the tripod down for a moment so I can adjust the bungee cord holding the umbrella on. In that split second my palette, filled with wet paint flies up and plasters itself to my jacket. Ummmm, OK, I laugh and thank the man for holding the tripod, we joke about the wind and he goes off to join his wife, who seems annoyed at him for taking so long. In another split second my umbrella breaks loose and flies away. I jump up to turn around and watch it fly over a fence in to a restricted wetlands area over the dune.
What to do? I think to myself, I have to go and get my umbrella, I can't paint for the next two days without it, and there's no where up here to buy one. Also, a reflective silver umbrella stuck in the marsh can not be good for the wetlands environment, so I climb over the fence and go in. I tip toe through the sand trying to be as careful as I can walking through the grasses and spy my umbrella. I have to go further in before it flies off and lands in the pond. So I do. The man and his wife are standing on the beach staring at me. In my paranoid moment thinking that a park ranger is going to scold me, it seemed to me that the wife was going to yell at me but the husband hushed her up and they walked away. Relief. Except that I see that my tripod has blown over, my painting is face down in the sand, as are my brushes.
Well crap. But, I will not be deterred. I fold up the umbrella and put it in its carry bag, I do the same with the tripod. I put the sandy brushes to the side, I set my paint covered jacket on the sand to dry. I get out new brushes (good I brought so many!!) I sit back down on the beach, hold my pochade box in my lap, brush off as much sand as possible from the painting (nice to be working in acrylic so most of the painting was dry enough to do that), I ignore the sand that is in my paints on the palette and I continue to finish my painting.
So this little gem of a painting comes with a bonus: a good story, and authentic Sand Beach sand from Acadia National Park embedded into the paint! LOL. Kidding aside, the sand really does look good on the surface, it is on the beach area and some in the surf, both appropriate places for the extra sandy texture. I was able to brush it off the sky where it was kind of distracting.
If you ever see small plein air paintings and wonder why they're priced so high for the size of them just remember how much artists can go through to capture that scene, on location. These special pieces bring you an authentic experience the artist has had in the unpredictable great outdoors!
Tomorrow I'll share with you the second two paintings of the day, one is a marsh scene and another a magical cove about an hour east of this location.