This morning I’ll pour myself into my car and start another trek. I’m heading south to Queens, NY, where I’ll meet my pal Brad Marshall. He and I will then spend the weekend painting at the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY.
The hardest part of this much traveling is not the driving, but the packing and repacking. It is shaping up to be another foul-weather-gear weekend, with rain and cool temperatures along Long Island Sound. That means more layers, which means more luggage.
There is, obviously, a real gender gap in the prices earned by male and female artists. There are two other gender-related issues I’ve observed. The first is that most men cling stubbornly to their heavy, awkward French easels, while most women have moved on to lighter, faster pochade boxes. I can’t decide if this is because men are traditionalists, if they like lugging around heavy, awkward equipment, or they just hate shopping. (Well, I hate shopping, too, which is why I built my own pochade box.)
The second is that men are less inclined to dress for receptions. They often show up in their paint-stained field clothes. Most women are far too conventional for that. We might have paint right down in our underwear but we will still don an appropriate dress and attempt to brush the leaves out of our hair. That, of course, always means an extra layer of packing, and adds another layer of anxiety: Did I wear that same dress last year? Will I freeze in it? Are my shoes too summery? Where can I get my brows waxed at the last minute?
Since I arrived home last week, Rockport has been beautiful, with low, warm light reflecting from the red and gold foliage. I, of course, have been chained to my desk doing bookkeeping and other neglected tasks.
I’m hoping the weather holds through today, since I’m stopping in Waldoboro to paint blueberry barrens with the mid-north chapter of Plein Air Painters of Maine. I’ve never painted with this particular group before, but I like the subject and I’m excited to be back on my home turf painting, even if it’s only for a day.