What if I painted on location every day in May? This question popped into my head on a sunny afternoon in April. At the time, it sounded like a great idea!
May is generally pretty nice, the days are long, and the beaches are less crowded than in the summer months. And so I set a challenge for myself to plein air paint #everydayinmay.
Here is the report for Week 1.
‘Rain and Wind’ was the theme of Week 1. Every day except Wednesday, I had to dodge the rain, some days more successfully than others. The upside is that painting in inclement weather already seems more feasible.
Saturday, April 30 - Simpson Beach
I had planned to share the paintings on social media first thing in the morning, which meant I needed to start a day early. On Saturday afternoon, I headed to Simpson Beach
Simpson Beach is one of my favorite spots. Ellie loves it too! It’s a small cove below Shore Acres park, and there is a steep trail to it from the north and the south. Since there is a bit of a hike down, it’s usually not crowded. And the rock formations are impressive.
This day, I kept it simple and zoomed in on a small group of rocks, painting between rain showers.
Sunday, May 1 -Bastendorff Beach
Sunday evening, Ellie and I headed to Bastendorff Beach. After a walk on the beach, I set up next to the car. The cloud formations were amazing and kept getting better as it got closer to sunset.
Even though this looks peaceful, it was very windy and chilly. Notice the lack of people on the beach...they were watching the sunset from the comfort of their vehicles. 😄
Monday, May 2 - Cape Arago
This was the day I nearly gave up on my challenge. I hadn’t told anyone about my goal, so no one would know if I backed out.
But instead, I checked the wind direction and determined that I would find some shelter from the wind at the southern overlook of Cape Arago
I enjoyed painting this one (and was glad I didn’t give up). You can see that the painting got rained on, but this inadvertently added a nice texture.
Tuesday, May 3 - Cape Arago
Since it was another north wind day, I returned to the same sheltered spot at Cape Arago. This time I painted the trees at the edge of the overlook.
While I was painting two commercial fishing boats tucked into South Cove to get out of the wind. There’s a plaque there that suggests Sir Frances Drake did the same with his ship in 1597.
Wednesday, May 4 - Face Rock, Bandon
This was a perfect day for painting; sunshine and a light breeze. I headed to Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint in Bandon, OR.
The first picture is of Face Rock. There’s a legend that the rock is the stone face of Ewauna, daughter of Chief Siskiyou. There are other rocks named after her howling dog Komax and cat and kittens.
I set up to paint this rock, which I don’t think has a name. I can see a man’s face with a mustache and beard. Can you? Maybe we’ll call it Darwin Rock. 👉
After a lunch break, I set up along the mouth of the Coquille River. There is a little pullout along the road leading to the south jetty. This is the view from the riverbank. It’s a great spot to paint - close to the car and just a few people walking their dogs.
Thursday, May 5 - Shore Acres
Thursday morning, the rain and wind were back! I headed to the pavilion at Shore Acres Botanical Gardens and painted the Garden House.
I didn’t have time to finish this on site, so I painted a little more at home.
Friday, May 6 - Shore Acres
Friday was a stormy day. I returned to the pavilion at Shore Acres in hopes of staying dry. The wind was blowing the rain sideways. Even under the pavilion, the painting was getting wet.
It was a good challenge to see how much I could do with wet paper! I had to take it home and let it dry before I could add a few details in the foliage and house.
Saturday, May 7 - Charleston Boat Yard
Once again, it was a day of painting between rain showers. I am grateful for accurate weather apps so I can strategically plan!
Week 1 Takeaways
🌧 Wind resistant/water resistant pants are a necessity!
Most painters have a good jacket to keep them warm and dry but the addition of all-weather pants is a bonus.
I have a pair of all-weather golf pants (even though I don’t play golf) and I just recently purchased a pair of water-resistant, fleece-lined hiking pants.
🤔 Don’t overthink the locations.
I benefited from returning to the same location twice this week. I noticed on the second day that I felt more comfortable with the scene.
👏 Applaud the effort rather than find fault.
If I look at my work from Week 1 with a critical eye, I can find many faults. I understand that now is not the time for that. Instead, I’m looking ahead to the next painting, knowing that I’m learning every step of the way.
Week 1 was not particularly easy, but it was enjoyable. On the quiet days in the gardens, I saw chipmunks and bunnies (OR coast brush rabbits). And I loved listening to the birds and watching the clouds move.
Thanks for reading my Week 1 report!