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Plein Air Painting in the Wind

Oil painting of the shore grass along the choctawhatchee Bay on Okaloosa Island, Gulf Islands National Seashore

15 mph winds brought in low humidity resulting in crystal clear views for the weekly Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters session yesterday. Wind and painting are an unpredictable combination. I’ve seen it happen, a painter’s masterpiece suddenly face down in the sand, a gust taking the easel right over. My painting companion, Leslie, set up on the lee side of sheltering informational sign. I was more concerned about the sun, looking for shade for my canvas and my palette.  I found good shade, but it was in the open wind. I remembered what could happen when I saw the front leg of my easel start coming off the ground, but I couldn’t find anything to tie down my easel. I ended up using the long, wide strip of velcro that secures my palette box closed, fastening my easel onto the leg of the sign I was standing next to.

The colors were beautiful in the early fall sunlight, the grasses taking on pink and lavender hues.  The Choctawhatchee Bay was a deep emerald with the incoming tide. The scene was largely light in value, the bay  providing middle-value contrast, and punctuated by a few dark darks at the base of the foliage. The wind was perfect for the kite-sailors practicing their aerial magic over the bay.

Here’s a look at our group’s efforts: