Monday, December 14, 2009

Don't give up

Finding artists to paint with me in Ireland wasn't easy. This land of lush greenery is green for a reason. Rain. Daily rain as I was told and this past summer had been exceedingly wet. Artists were not accustomed to setting up their easels with the constant threat of rain. Painting in plein air is different from studio painting and they had not developed skills for this. A bit of anxiety set in as they thought they would paint with a skilled plein air painter. I'm not so skilled. Anyway that didn't matter. I dreamed of how exciting it would be to paint in a foreign country with artists from that country. It would be the highlight of my trip!

I urged on. I was coming for the first time and I was going to paint directly on location. I wanted so much to capture the colors and feeling of Ireland while I was there, not simply from photos later. A little bit of rain wasn't going to stop me. After all, it wouldn't be the first time I set up in the rain. When water mixes with oil paints it causes some very interesting effects. Sometimes wonderful little surprises! And frankly, who cares if it would turn into a flop, I just wanted to do it. I wanted to paint Ireland in Ireland.

Despite all they were telling me and with stubborn determination, I continued my quest to find someone. One month before our flight I was completely unsuccessful.

"That's it!" I decided.

It was like putting my foot down. I wasn't going to give up so easily. My time was closing in and finding a painting partner became increasingly important. In desperation, I pulled out every Irish address I had contacted several months before. In a giant group email I stated my plight. I was looking for someone to paint with. Would anyone be willing to do so and if not, could they please direct me to someone who would.

Wow! It seemed to have worked like magic. I had several people return saying they would. It even seemed for awhile that a whole painting group would assemble to paint with me. A huge tingling rush spread through my body at the mere thought! Orchestrating that was simply too difficult and so it didn't happen. By the time I left, I had two separate proposal to paint. I was thrilled.

Only one of those actually happened. It was on the final days of our two week trip. A little gem in the end! Mat Grogan ( a wonderful, shy master painter skilled in still life paintings joined me with his friend Dave Hayes ( I'll never forget it. We painted on a glorious day in full sun without wind or rain, in a lush Irish garden. I did paint by myself earlier in my trip, but it was nothing like painting with foreign artists. That was quite a thrill!

If you want something, don't give up. Keep plugging. Keep pushing until you succeed. In the end it will be worth all the effort you put into it and more.

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