Painting en Plein Air at the Florida Chautauqua Assembly
Every year in January the Lakeyard in the city of DeFuniak Springs is the site of the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, a festival offering educational exhibits relating to the selected theme for that year. Typically it also includes exhibits of times gone by, including Civil War re-enactments complete with cannon-shooting. Recently it also has welcomed plein air painters. A few other brave souls and I painted there last year in the 34º weather, brrr! I was very happy to be painting in my shirtsleeves this year.
I wandered the grounds for a while before deciding to paint in front of the frontiersmen camp. Initially thinking I would paint the whole scene, I instead decided to greatly simplify the challenge by painting only the gourds hanging from a tripod of branches. I was amused by a baby Nubian goat bouncing around the encampment, and wondered if I could paint him, but he didn’t ever sit still long enough to get a good drawing done.
So the next morning I painted just the goat’s head after watching him some more and looking at some photos on my iPhone that I had shot the previous day. A friend of mine asked for the painting as soon as she saw it.
My final painting that morning was of the encampment itself. The family shared with me their meal of eggs and potatoes and meat flavored with a little gospel. When I started painting, I had to move fast because the festival was about to close down. So I generalized a good bit, letting the colored shapes suggest form rather than distinctly defining it.