Sunday, September 18, 2016

T C Steele September Paint Out 2016

Last weekend, Claire and I got up before dawn to drive an hour to the T C Steele State Historical Site in Belmont, Indiana [just east of Nashville, In] to participate in our first paint-out.   It was dark.   It was lightening and thundering.  It was breezy.  It was exciting.

A paint out is an organized plein air painting day.   Lots of artists participate.   This one had judging and prizes at the end of the day.

Claire and I had planned and prepped and then traveled to be there early so we could find a good spot and finish before the rain.   We had raincoats and umbrellas; our gear was packed in heavy duty tubs that we could sit on out of the mud.

After checking in and getting our paper stamped to prove we hadn't started early, we chose a spot on the hill between the red barn studio and the DeWar cabin.   I faced the barn, Claire faced the cabin.    And we started.

It sprinkled a tiny bit, but no rain.  It was an amazing experience to be drawing with Claire at dawn, painting as it got lighter, listening to the breeze, the birds, the trees.   Claire finished first.   I took another hour or so because I had chosen a complicated composition.

When we were done, we went to Nashville for lunch, then came back to have our paintings judged.

My painting had some big problems.   The right side was great, but the left bottom was too empty and there was a big black hole in the upper left.    I took an Honorable Mention anyway.   Lucky!

Claire took 2nd place in the teen division.    So proud!!

When I got home, I took another look at my painting and decided it was a good opportunity to practice fixing.   I cropped off about an inch and a half of the left side.  I lightened up the top left corner background trees a lot.   I darkened the lower left below the row of shrubs and I added a couple more big rocks.  That's the pic you see at the top.   I'm pretty happy with it.   It's an iconic view of the TC Steele property and a fabulous memento of the day.

All in all, it was such a good experience that Claire and I are planning on doing the Bloomington Paint Out on the IU campus in October.    No prizes that day, but we're dying to paint the cemetery there.   [Pun unintended.]


  1. Following your blog for a few years now, and I'd say that You and Claire have both won a "First Prize" in each other. I like both pics, two very different moods captured, and you wouldn't think that they were done at one location, on the same day.

    1. I know, right?! We did it just for the experience but it turned out WAY more fun than we expected. There were probably 60 finished works in the judging - oil, mixed, acrylic, watercolor - and it was so interesting to see the different perspectives, etc. Can't wait for next year.


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