Dawson Mall Painting Experience: Week One
I haven't shared an update on my Saturday afternoon, painting at the Dawson Creek Mall. Mostly because I'm not sure what to say, and also because I don't have any photos to share.
Thursday before my big debut, I got my painting stuff packed and figured out my setup. I use a board balanced on my lap for my watercolor paintings, but I usually rest the edge of the board on a table or something, and for painting in public, I wanted something a little more professional and yet easy to transport. So I prevailed upon my husband for assistance in modifying one of my painting boards so that it would mount on a camera tripod.
I didn't have time to order one of these:
or one of these:
But Wade went out to the shop and cut a metal plate, drilled holes to screw it to my painting board, and drilled a hole in the center of the plate, aligned and welded a nut to the centre which threads on to my tripod. And he even made it pretty and painted the mount gloss black.
I loaded up my modified painting board and tripod, a folding chair, and a TV tray to set my paints on, along with my painting stuff (which I always keep in an attractive black shoulder bag) and was ready to go. It takes two trips to carry it all in, but it's not cumbersome or heavy, and everything folds up (not that it matters since I drive a van and could practically set up my studio inside my vehicle!)
I confess that when I started to paint on Saturday, my hands were a little shaky. Within a few minutes, a couple had stopped to watch and ask a few questions, and I think they were my nicest visitors of the day. Everyone who stopped was very nice, and interested in what I was doing, and complimentary to my paintings in the exhibit beside me. And what an interesting assortment of people stopped by! Children & senior citizens, stylish and Hutterite, outgoing and reserved.
When someone took the time to stop, or even veered in my direction, I made a point of saying "hi" and making eye contact, thus inviting them to approach me. I especially enjoyed talking to children - they are so expressive and when I asked one little girl if she liked to paint, she took it as an invitation to join me and ran to ask her dad's permission. I had to gently explain that I while I often paint with my own little girls, I hadn't brought enough supplies to share that day.
One lady, after stopping briefly, left with her final comment, "You look like you're having fun, anyhow." Did she mean that to be as backhanded as it sounded? I had to laugh - whether my work wasn't to her taste or whether she astutely observed that the process is as important as the painting, I was having fun so she was right!
It's a little tricky painting in an unfamiliar environment. I found the lighting to be a little difficult, and the hum of activity around me made it harder to focus and paint intuitively. I got home and decided to restart my painting - while it looked pretty good in the middle stage it was at, the scene was muddier in tone than I was aiming at. I'm working on a moss scene, and I want to make the colors in the moss and foliage my priority, so I flipped my paper to the blank side and laid down another wash, throwing in more brilliant, braver hues.
I started homeschooling my kindergartener this week, and so my painting time has been preempted until we can get a routine established. So I'm thankful for Saturday afternoons - I'll be at the mall again this Saturday for two hours, and will work on my restarted moss painting and maybe a little window shopping!