This past weekend the First Coast Pastel Society hosted its first workshop, featuring Maine artist Kathleen Galligan. The theme for this plein air workshop was "Letting Go of the Literal". Our first plein air day was spent at scenic Anastasia State Park which features 1600 acres of beaches, dunes, salt marshes and uplands.
We parked near the picnic area and then walked around with Kathleen to see the possibilities were for our plein air paintings.
The day was a warm and sunny one however, and in the end most of us chose to set up in the shaded picnic area and at the covered picnic tables themselves, as did Kathleen for her demo painting of the morning.
If we wanted, however, there were visits from wildlife we could also paint, like this great blue heron.
Or this gopher tortoise who crossed the pathway in the middle of Kathleen's demo.
This pathway leading into the dunes was a popular choice since it was easily visible from the shaded picnic grounds!
Day two took us to Frank Butler Park West, a small picnic area and boat ramp on the inland waterway. Though sunny in the morning it was a wild and windy day. A day to hold onto your hats and your pastels and your easels! Again a lot of folks chose to set up under cover.
But others were more brave and ventured out to other areas of the park. It did offer a variety of scenery if you chose to look for it.
And for those who enjoy sky scenes the cloud formations were bold and dramatic as clouds rolled in more heavily and ominously for the afternoon.
Our third and final day took us to a marina in St. Augustine. Some of us ran into raindrops and drizzle on the way to the marina and were worried it might be an indoor day. But there was no rain at the marina, though it was gray and lowering. Kathleen met us all there and then took us on a tour of the marina to show the various sights it had to offer.
Boats of course, as might be expected. Lots of boats. But there were marsh views as well.
And even more wildlife if you chose!
Kathleen chose a location for her demo which looked out over the salt marshes, with boats only far off in the distance.
The weather was crazy that day too. As she did her demo it grew darker, threatened rain, grew lighter, grew windier, blue skies and white clouds tried to appear, then it grew dark and threatening again. All a real challenge for a plein air painter!
But at lunch on that last day we all agreed that the workshop had been fun, fulfilling, and a weather adventure. As one of our members put it: "We can now all sign our works with 'PAS' - Plein Air Survivors!
Thank you Kathleen for coming down to teach this workshop for us, and many thanks to our President, Lyn Asselta, for being a wonderful organizer and food provider!