“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I’ll pelt.’
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged—though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”
― Robert Frost
The weather was raw and the wind was fierce when Brad Marshall and I set out on Friday morning for Rye Arts Center’s 2015 Painters on Location. We were doubtful that we could even paint. Brad has been coughing, so he was concerned about working in sharp wind and driving rain. I was just cranky after a six-hour trip.
We had planned to paint on Hen Island, but the projected storm meant that our launch wasn’t available. That was just as well. It would have been a shame to waste that opportunity painting grey water meeting a grey sky.
The manager of TD Bank kindly allowed us to set up under the bank’s overhang. Still, we weren’t optimistic. A glowering sky, a head-on view across a street, flat light and blowing rain do not make for simple, stunning compositions. We knew it would be a hard slog, and we did not expect to enjoy it.
We hadn’t factored in the kindness of people from Rye. Two nice ladies explained the parking system to us, even though it meant they waited in the blowing rain watching us fumble. A lady from Build a Better Rye set up her table near us and kept us company. Only when her husband brought her winter-weight coat did I realize she’d been freezing.
We were both starting to lag when RAC board member Jim Langley stopped and offered to run out for hot coffee. A while later, Noah Opitz dropped off some new aprons for us. “Do you know where there’s a store where I can buy some latex gloves?” I asked him. “My hands are too cold to work.” He vanished for a moment and returned with two pairs from the bank’s tellers.
Our old pal Bruce Bundock (who was also painting in the show) stopped by just in time to help us pack up. It wasn’t until we were done framing that we realized we had both done really successful paintings. At the auction, it was clear that many others had been equally successful, in spite of the horrid weather.
On Thursday, the only thing that had kept me from canceling was a sense of duty. On Saturday, I left the Rye Arts Center thrilled with the experience, the event and my painting. All that was left was the schlep to the train.