Our first Plein Air session of the season was at Beans and Greens Farm in Gilford, NH. My son had visited there several times over the years on school trips for the corn maze or to pick pumpkins. It was a beautiful day and we had our choice of working outside or inside the greenhouse, flowers and plants or animals. I set up inside the greenhouse and started sketching. It got hot fairly quickly but I plugged away.
At noon, we regrouped for lunch at the farm’s deli. They make a pretty darn good ham and cheese panini. But when I came back, wouldn’t you know, someone had bought one of the plants I was drawing! Good thing I had snapped a pic.
I brought pastel pencils made by Conté, thinking they were portable without much fuss and not too messy. Unfortunately, being a pencil and an instrument for recording details, I got caught up in minutiae of my subject, ignoring the big picture. When will I learn? I worked a little longer and called it a day, vowing to work more on it at home.
After a few days, I got back to it, dipping into my supply of soft (messy) pastels. This is how it came out, and all that I had originally intended to do. However now I see that if I had penciled in some of the background and structure of the greenhouse and just let it sit back there, it would have been more interesting and informative. Zooming in on one plant would have produced more satisfying results, too. Lessons learned—think big picture and simplify. I’m hoping to try a variety of media over the course of the summer.