Sunday, March 29, 2015

No Boats, Yet

"Water Parque (de Retiro)," oil, 16"h x 12"w, ©Jill Banks 2015
Today's challenge was to paint once again in Madrid's Parque de Retiro. The morning was spent where it should be ... in bed after a late night, tiring day with a bit of Daylight Savings Time switch worked into the mix.

Early this afternoon, we wandered the stalls of El Rastro, a huge flea market held every Sunday. We are lousy shoppers. Not enough practice. There were many pieces for still lifes, colorful cloths for backdrops -- but no decisions forthcoming and our bags are already at the threshold on weight.

Great lunch at el Carboneria on the way back. Lunch was so great, it required a nap. (The nap and sleep-in thing is not the norm back home ... far from it!) Then off to the Parque. 

I knew there was a lake in the park where visitors could rent rowboats. That was my painting "target." I wanted water, boats, reflections.

I had wanted to include the rowboats and they may make it into another paining -- but this (crowds, difficult setup, complicated subject) was already way too much to juggle. Plus, I like the painting as is. 

The crowds were HUGE all day long throughout Madrid, but it seemed everyone was at Parque de Retiro
My set up today at Parque de Retiro: not ideal, but nice spot!

 I was looking for somewhere that gave me a good view AND was safely tucked away from the crowds so my easel would not be in their way. Not an easy combination to find in a public place that was teeming with thousands upon thousands of people. My solution, to cram myself on a small step and set my easel up sideways -- gave me the view, kept my easel out of the way -- and was awkward as all get out. For the last 15 minutes, when crowds had thinned out, I stood up, extended the easel, faced what I was painting. Phew!

The photo for "Water Parque" is off. Since days are long, I'm photographing work late at night under minimal very yellow light.  No tripod. Nothing fancy.  Still, I hope it gives you the idea. And, I did finish up "Water Parque" under the golden glow of a beautiful sunset.

By now, a few people have seen me painting around Madrid, so the conversations are friendlier despite the language barrier. One of the cutest ones tonight was from a young girl who was asking me, I think, "Don't you need the sun?" (Sol, and she was pointing up.) Well, yes! Or, light.

Smart girl.

Sign Up for Classes -- In Virgina and Italy!
Registration is going on now for Spring classes -- Tuesday nights, 6:30pm to 9:30pm for Evening Paint and Thursdays, 10am to 2pm for Painting the Plein Air Landscape.  Take a look at my Classes page and I hope you'll join us.

And my Paint with Me in Italy workshop in the Piemonte wine region, July 27 to August 2, is filling up.  I hope you'll be there!!!

Call for Artists
Plus, if you enjoy plein air painting, consider registering for Paint Great Falls! (Great Falls VA) to capture the town from May 28 to 30 with a Quick Draw event on May 31, 10am to noon.  Registration is now open at

Thanks for reading!


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See the Events page for more info/updates
April 10 to May 1: Women Painters of the Southeast Juried Exhibition, Blue Ridge, GA
May 2 & 3: A-RTS @ Rockville Town Square, Rockville, MD
May 12-16:  Wayne Plein Air, Wayne and Philadelphia, PA. Juried as one of 30 artists nationwide to paint the area.
May 30-31: Art on the Green and Paint Great Falls, Outdoor Art Show (under a tent) and plein air competition and exhibit, Great Falls, VA
June 5-7: Rittenhouse Square: The Original Art Show, Philadelphia, PA. 
June 18-21: VA Beach Boardwalk Art Show, Virginia Beach, VA. Visit my booth right on the boardwalk.
June 29-July 5: Telluride Plein Air, Telluride, CO.  Juried as one of 32 artists who will spend the week painting this very cool town lined with Victorian houses, bustling street against a gorgeous mountainous backdrop.
July 11-12: Wickford Art Festival, Wickford, RI.
December 3-6: One Of A Kind Show & Sale, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL
Paint with Me in Italy Workshop: July 27 to August 2, 2015. Join me for a plein air adventure in the Piemonte wine region.
More info and how to sign up ... here!

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