This past weekend I took part of a plein air competition coordinated by the Teaching Studios of Art. The location was Sagamore Hill, Teddy Roosevelt's "Summer White House", located in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Thirty five chosen artists descended on the grounds on Friday morning for an intense two day painting experience that culminated in an exhibition and award ceremony.
This 83 acre estate offered a variety of subjects for the artists to paint; wooded areas, fields, a nature path, a creek, and a beach. Mr. Roosevelt had it made in this fine little piece of land of his!
After getting our canvases and panels stamped, without missing a beat, we all got to work, the quicker you walked to your destination the better the chance of getting a good spot. After all this was a competition and $1000 were on the line...you better paint, paint it good, and choose a good spot!
Going into the competition I was very relaxed, after all I have spent most of the summer getting ready for this, but after seeing all the artists come out of their cars with their painting gear reality set in and I became nervous.
I headed straight towards the beach, I knew that I might find a good scene to paint there, and I was right, everywhere I turned I saw a painting in the making. It was hard to settle on one spot, and at the same time I didn't want to be too close to other artists out of fear that I would get distracted.
Little did I know that half of the artists wanted to paint at the beach. Talk about important real estate!
After walking down the bridge connecting the beach to the nature trail I saw these trees gracefully moving upwards. I wanted to paint them, and I also wanted to paint part of the beach.
I found a spot I thought might work for me, little did I know I was going to spend most of the day working on that one little painting. I'm stitll not sure how I feel about what I painted that day, I had something else in mind and not achieving that, kind of bummed me out. Different variables came into play for my lac of focus, the sun was intense and there was no hiding from it; I have the farmer's tan to prove it! Intimidation got the best out of me, but that night I relaxed a bit more and forced myself to do better the next day.
We were allowed to stay on the grounds until sundown, and everywhere you walked artists were busy at work capturing the magic of the Long Island sunset.
For more images of the event click here and here.