Sunday, March 22, 2015

Curacao: Painting the Island Way

Plein Air Curacao, February 27 - March 7, 2015

I was looking forward to painting in Plein Air Curacao’ with excitement and, admittedly,  some trepidation. 
It’s always a lot of work packing for a big painting event, but when you’re traveling out of the country, there are even more complications.  

My frames were the greatest concern.  I needed to pack my frames tightly and box them so that I could transport them either on board the plane or in my suitcase with everything arriving unscathed.  I spent a fair amount of time packing and re- packing, taping everything tightly with bubble wrap.
My next concern was supplies.  I didn’t think I’d have access to art supplies in Curacao’, especially since I wouldn’t have a car.  I gathered my watercolor paper, trimming it to the size of the frames; I pulled together a chair small enough to fit in my luggage and my new easel, the “en plein air pro.”  This will be the new easel’s first use in the field.  Paints were placed into zip lock baggies, along with brushes, paper towels and my collapsible water container.  I checked my lists over and over again to be sure I had everything necessary to paint.

Clothing is truly important.  It has to be comfortable; it has to be durable; it has to protect me from the sun and the mosquitoes.  I’ll be walking for miles with my backpack, so I always take comfortable shoes, too.
Once I arrived in Curacao’, I was so relieved.  My airport transport was waiting for me as I exited the airport.  The staff and organizers of Plein Air Curacao’ were warm and helpful!  The city of Willemstaad was beautiful:  the colorful 18th century Dutch Colonial buildings that lined the inlet were just lovely.  As soon as I discovered the landscape, I could hardly wait to paint.
Our first evening featured a reception for the artists from Surinam.  Their exhibit was lovely and the people enchanting.  Each day after that was filled with travel around the island, receptions, lots of painting and robust sales.

I couldn’t be happier.

As for my “en plein air pro” easel:   it performed like a champ.  It can withstand the stiff island winds, as long as it’s weighted with my backpack.  I especially like how the top of the easel moves around from upright to flat so that I can paint my watercolors in any manner needed.  My favorite thing about this easel is how lightweight it is, fitting easily into it’s own backpack, and with room enough for paper, small palette, collapsible water container, and even my water and snacks for the day. There’s still more plein air painting to come during this year, and only time will tell how durable the easel will be.

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