Sunday, October 12, 2008


A beautiful fall day. Jean and I drive all over the countryside, trying to find the best way to Dodge Park. I follow the old route we took on canoe trips, up the Sandy River, up and down the hills, and around Bull Run. Pretty quickly, we discover that I have taken the long way. The old lake that was in the center of Ten Eyck is gone or empty, looking more like a cranberry field with dikes. I wonder which dam they took out the last time I was here, when Bull Run was in flood.

The park is a classic northwest woods. Hints of red and yellow color the maples and undergrowth. We find a spot by the river and begin to paint, Jean in watercolor, and myself in oil. I start an 18 by 24, hoping to have the time to mostly finish it. The weather is cool and overcast, but the clouds promise to burn off, and since it isn’t windy, we are able to paint in relative comfort.

We paint in relative quiet. A few people drive into the parking lot and walk around the river. Almost all of them stop to see what we are painting. This is more attention than usual, and I wonder if my conspicuous setup has something to do with it. I am using my new Beauport easel, which is a huge a-frame, and my umbrella is up. One lady walks by saying "I’ll buy it." Unfortunately, she is kidding, but it’s a nice compliment.

The sun comes out, making me wish I weren’t standing in the shade. Maybe I’ll have to adjust my shade rule for fall painting, especially since the light isn’t as strong. Blue sky is reflecting in the water, setting up a rainbow of new colors. I am finishing this painting with less fatigue than usual, even though I’ve been painting for four hours. Why? More breaks? It’s an idea to consider.

We finish off the day with a walk to take photos, and a different country drive to find our way home. A great fall paint day.

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