On Location

Week of August 24

Denver-from-Apex-1-webLast Saturday afternoon I tried my hand at plein-air painting for the first time. Boy was it an experience, but not so awful that I couldn’t bring myself to write about it for a whole week. I just haven’t found the time. I filled my backpack with supplies before driving west on Colorado Highway 6 – destination Apex Park, Golden – to sit on the hillside on one of the summer’s hottest days.

It took months of endless bugging from fellow painters and teachers before I finally bought a large plastic rectangular palette that I store in my freezer, along with any leftover blobs of paint. I left it behind considering how impractical it would be to hike the foothills with, and instead folded a large piece of cardboard into my pack. This same piece of cardboard is to blame for my paints drying too quickly in the blazing sun which made it difficult to mix colors effectively.

Sitting on the hillside just off the Pick ‘n Sledge trail overlooking Denver was definitely a break from my usual routine of painting in a studio, or more recently, my apartment. Mountain bikers whizzed by for almost two hours as I tackled the skyline in scorching heat. My rear occasionally went numb from the hard, bumpy earth underneath. As well as providing sun protection, steadying my canvas on my knees caused little dents and bumps which helped me create interesting textures which are quite different to my usual palette knife strokes.

Although lacking a suitable easel and plein-air equipment was awkward, I really like this graphic image.

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1 Response to “On Location”


  1. 1 andrea October 15, 2009 at 4:26 am

    hey nic. checking out your latest post. you make me smile, as usual. i have a portable easel if you are interested?


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