The "Harvest Blend" theme fully played itself out right to the end of this autumn weekend paint out event. The weekend blend of sun, cloud and rain in the vineyard ... blended itself with the rich colour and usual pageantry of the harvest season... to produce contrasts and challenges. It is these very elements which the ardent plein air painter faces with passion which in my mind that separates plein air paintings from those made in the warm, comfort of a studio. There exists a basic honesty in the paintings made spontaneously in the outdoors which speaks more directly to the heart.
When I was asked to invite a group of artists to participate in the event, I deliberately and carefully selected each individual more on the basis of their qualities of personality... than on their individual levels of painting expertise. I could have selected an entire group of "seasoned" plein air painters, but in truth... I am shying away from such groups in which I held life long membership. The simple reason (for me)... is that unfortunately... the original shared passion for outdoor painting and the sense of family has developed into continual inner struggles of "one upsmanship" and in sales. Neither of these elements create harmony or enjoyment for me, so I have now distanced myself from the very situations that I so looked forward to in yesteryears. Enough said...
This wonderful blend of "Good Hearts" spent three wonderfully memorable days ... painting their hearts out ... a blend of together and alone... in weather conditions which only occasionally approached optimal. But they stuck it out... each contributing his or her best... cheerfully and with a good heart... right up to the finale in the late afternoon on Sunday. I feel that many more "dividends" were collected by each participant than one could imagine at the outset. Simply put... each artist harvested what they wanted... to include new opportunities for friendship, an entirely new landscape, but mostly... I believe that each of the "Group of Ten" trundled back along the path towards their own daily lives enriched by the experience. And that was my goal in choosing each! Harvest mission accomplished... and perfectly "blended"!
I did begin another small landscape sketch on Sunday morning... but decided after being chased by downpour after downpour to cover on one too many occasions... and to less than inspiring places (one being a woodshed). I packed my paint box and wisely retreated to the warmth of the tasting room and fireplace... where other artists and visiting public were already gathered. The weather had even reduced the expected higher turnout of Sunday visitors. Saturday, however had been one of the best wine-selling days that Eagle Point had enjoyed over the entire year. BONUS!!! I will complete and post the "lost" painting sometime next week... after planned weekend Thanksgiving festivities at "Islesview."
Debra and I had earlier agreed that the awards would be wholly based upon "People's Choice" merits and voting on Sunday. Obviously, the great weakness in choosing that route lies in the risk that voting is insufficient to arrive at a defined result. So the final decision-making fell to Debra as the "Hostess... with the mostess"!
David Kay was awarded "Superior Blend"... or best overall for the weekend. That honour was truly earned when one viewed his numerous paintings and in particular his large 16x48 inch panoramic canvas... truly a colourful and top drawer painting! The "House Blend" award was aptly earned by Isolde van Jaarsveld for her square formatted acrylic view down the aisles of grapevines in the vineyard. An appropriate and crisp, colourful tribute to Eagle Point Winery. The real "People's Choice" Award was awarded to Baltimore artist Jerry Albert... whose striving under all conditions and great sense of humour helped shape and maintain the loose and painterly feeling which would embody our own take on "The Order of Good Cheer."
David Kay's lyrical landscape... in the place of honour above the mantle at Eagle Point
Congratulations and thank you to all... beginning with Hostess Debra Marshall and her fine staff and to each participating artist who joined me in this paint out to include:
Marje Fletcher - Smith Falls, ON Frank Edwards -Kingston, ON
Isolde van Jararsveld - Lansdowne, ON David Kay - Whitney, ON
Janet Gaylord - Lansdowne, ON Roger Sutcliffe - Merrrickville, ON
Michael O'Connor -Kingston ON Jerry Albert - Baltimore, ON
Paul Taylor - Rochester, NY
The revered and wise Chinese philosopher, Lao-tzu" (604-531 BC) wrote in his book TaoTe Ching:
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
This baby step certainly would profit from changes ... but not to create an elite event... but rather in my opinion to recharge and recreate our now established... "Order of Good Cheer."
Debra and I have already met... post-event to look at the "Possibility" of Harvest Blend 2014.
Stay tuned all...
... and appropriately for this Canadian Thanksgiving Weekend ... Wild Turkey Feathers. I collected all of these wild turkey flight feathers that I found along the trails as I scouted possible painting sites prior to the paint out! My intent in adding this postscript is to add further pix that share the spirit of fellowship and joy that we enjoyed together.
Happy Thanksgiving... All !!!
Good Fall Painting!
"The Loner" Franlk Edwards... just doin' it... alone ... as is always the case!
David "The Amish" Kay and Jerry "Chuckles" Albert... studying... something!
Almost ready for harvest...
The Best Blend Winners!!!
LtoR - Jerry Albert Eagle Point Winery Operation Manager/ Hostess Debra Marshall
David Kay and Isolde vanJaarsveld