Door County

July 27, 2010

Ephraim - Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 9" x 12"

Helen had been non-stop attending classes since her summer break from teaching started at the beginning of June. A few days prior to completion of her last class, Helen declared, “When this class is over, I need a vacation!”. Having been at this marriage thing for more than twenty-seven years, I knew there was no stopping this demand (this urge was stronger than the need for a chocolate fix – need I say more).

Helen said that she would like to go to Door County Wisconsin, but thought that I might not want to go since I had been up there at the end of June. I reminded her that my June trip was business (teaching at The Peninsula School of Art) and I was fine with another trip up there.  Hotel reservations were made and plans put in place to take off to the Door A.S.A.P.

We had an uneventful trip up to the Door. Took a detour off the main route to make a tourist stop in Sturgeon Bay and meander up Shoreline Road.  Enjoyed a beautiful sunset while dining Wednesday night.

Toured and scouted painting locales in Fish Creek on Thursday morning (more on this later). Shopped through rain Thursday afternoon, toured some art galleries and studios,  and enjoyed a unique dining experience that evening.

Friday morning after re-injuring my hamstring (running, nothing dirty) and eating breakfast, we made our way to the public beach at Ephraim where Helen could take in some sun and I could enjoy some plein air painting. Plein air painting is an interesting experience and Friday morning did not disappoint. Plein Air painting involves challenges of design, scenery, changing light, weather, sun, wind, bugs, rain, fatigue, and animals (four legged as well as two legged).

As we found our spot at the beach, I was mindful of a group nearby. It appeared to be a family of perhaps six adults and a few children. I set up my easel and quickly set to work capturing a scene looking across the beach towards the town of Ephraim.

As I started to paint, a few more people joined into the nearby group. And a few more. I realized that this might be some sort of family reunion. They kept coming. About four dozen in all. The real fun occurred when one of the members arrived with a tent to give some shade. One of those 10′ x 10′ Pop-Up tents (like those used at art fairs). Murphy’s Law prevailed. Had they set the tent up another four feet or so to my right, I would not have had a problem. The funny part was that for the first hour or so that the tent was set-up, the group all sat AROUND the tent. No one sat in the shade of the tent. It was as though they were worshiping the shade of the tent. Their temple of shade blocked the right side of my scene. I adjusted and moved to my left as necessary, to look around the obstacle and complete my painting.

Oh well, another challenge to Plein Air painting.

Scene from Ephraim Beach

My view from Ephraim Beach after the tent went up.

My painting of Ephraim after the block-in.

Ephraim - Plein Air Oil on Canvas Panel 9" x 12"

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