Hubby and I traveled down to Port Norris to join daughter #1 in experiencing Bay Day, an annual festival. You can read about it here.
Along with vendors, food, tours of NJ's tall ship, and shuttle bus rides to the East Point Lighthouse, several easels had been set up along the pier above the marsh for children and adults to paint watercolor scenes of the view. I have never been very good at watercolor painting, though I am quite proficient with oils, but I felt tempted to dabble with the watercolor paints that day.
Way back when I first started taking art courses, I had one watercolor teacher who sent the whole class off once a week at 8 a.m. to some part of town to do paintings from life. I enjoyed those expeditions, even if my paintings were less than stellar. Painting a landscape from life is a different experience than painting from a photograph, which is what I've been doing for quite a while now.
True, the white paper can be scary. Plus you know you will have people looking at your work as you paint it. Creating under those circumstances can be intimidating, but I decided to throw caution to the wind and paint anyway while daughter #1 and hubby walked all the way out to the end of the pier.
I had a nice time. The brushes were way too big--I'm used to working with much smaller ones when I use my oils, but I granted myself permission to mess up. Allowing myself that freedom made it more like play. A dab here, a dab there.
The painting is not very good, but I took it home anyway. I can unroll it and practically smell the salt marsh. I can feel the sun on my arms and see the fiddler crabs scuttling for cover. It's more of an evocative memory than a photographic representation. I felt daring and brave and more like an artist than I've felt in a long, long time.