This weekend was a true southern scorcher, 95+ on Saturday and Sunday. I took my first Saturday off in years and decided to stay inside and out of the heat. I ended up going to a cool movie theater to see Alysium—I guess that’s the name of it. Not bad, but I felt so unproductive and worthless that I was determined to make up for it Sunday.
I had good intentions to get out of the door early to avoid the mid-day sun but as things go I didn’t leave until 10 am or so. I drove down the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area that follows the western shore of the river in Cobb county. It’s a popular place for joggers and bikers. The path is great for that but you really don’t get a very good view of the river, especially from the northern entrance near Johnson Ferry. I had to walk more than a mile with my gear before I got to a deck out over the river. To my surprise this is the same deck I painted from last fall—I came up from the south entrance last time. It has a nice view up and down the river. The water widens out over what they call the Cochran Shoals to about quarter mile. The sky was filled with perf
ect Georgia cumulus clouds. I had two boards so I decided to start with the view north as this the one that I missed last time. I was working on a 9 x12 vertical and I’m always thinking that it’s a good size to warm up on. Being like I am though I spent nearly three hours on this small canvas. Went for the color of the blue high sky in this and it certainly has the feel of an August afternoon and added one of the kayacks that you see so often here. As noted this is one of the few spots you can actually see the river so I had lots of company as I painted. It’s funny, some people just stop in take a look and leave while other spend hours. Some want to talk others just want to look—and I don’t say observe, because some of them don’t even appear to notice me. I did meet a quite a few nice people who asked me questions, one even said he wanted to buy my painting. I get that a lot though an usually nothing comes of it, but I give each a card. Thank god for the cards they explain a lot so I don’t have too.
I finished up the first around 12:30 in the afternoon and even though it was was already hot I pushed ahead and got to work on a 12 x24. That’s big for plein air and although I’ve been doing quite few this size lately it still took me near five hours to get in this wide panorama with lots of trees, water and rocks. I added a few figures but they became too messy as the day went on so in the end they came out. All I can say is that it’s good I had sunscreen on and my big brimmed hat and a bottle of water. By 5pm it was to the point I thought it was not getting any better so I packed up for an long hot hour walk back to the car.
When I got home I spent some more time on the 12 x 24 extending the shadows down and repainting the sky that was too uniform.Still think it needs a bit more—just a bit.