|"In At Dusk" oil on panel, 14"x18." Photo by Saunders Fine Arts.|
Before we arrived in Florida for the Lighthouse ArtCenter Plein Air Festival, I did my research. I knew that one of the places I really wanted to paint was Port Salerno, a fishing village with all manner of boats and sailboats. I also had an early vision in my head of a specific scene that I wanted to paint. I wanted a backlit view of a bunch of sailboats, where all the hulls and masts combined together into a nice design shape. It seemed that it would be simple enough to find.
When Kimberly and I arrived in Port Salerno, I knew that the perfect view would be from the eastern shore of Manatee Pocket looking west. We had easy access to the docks on the western shore, but it just wasn't what I was looking for. The colors at sunset were much more vibrant and lasted longer than the dawn.
That's where I ran into issues. The problem was that all of the land on the eastern shore was private - mostly backyards of homes. I couldn't find a view that satisfied my vision. We drove up and down the residential streets looking for a way in. Finally, we found some docks on the southern shore that projected out into the harbor. They were all clearly marked as "NO TRESPASSING." One was occupied by a couple of guys securing a yacht. Always the optimist, Kimberly convinced me to walk out and ask them if I could set up shop, and thankfully they said "no problem."
|The scene as I first encountered it.|
It turned out to be exactly what I was looking for, although I didn't expect to be painting on a 3 foot wide moving dock. I'm really lucky that I still have all of my gear and that my easel is not at the bottom of the harbor.
The color gets more intense as the sun drops to the horizon, so I had to work quick, blocking in the mass of the boats. By the time I got to the sky, it was just as I had envisioned.
That rarely happens. My paintings are normally a surprise. I'm not sure which I like more - getting exactly what I want, or the excitement when best laid plans go awry.