Friday, September 15, 2006

Peter's great adventure in pleine air practice

View of the Platte
oil on masonite
I get major therapy points today. I actually went outside and beyond my own yard to paint. Am I making progress or what? I am such a chicken heart when it comes to painting in public. It might be because I get more paint on me than I do on the canvas. People probably think I am doing a street performance act. I can hear children laugh as they pass by, "Hey, Mom, why is that man painting himself?".

Maybe that's why a state trooper came out of nowhere and questioned me while I was painting this picture of the Platte river. When I mean came out of no where I mean... no where. You have to get a good picture of where I am setting up to paint to appreciate how strange this was.The painting set up...looks like suspicious activity to me!I'm out there behind those trees at the end of a road.
There must be something awfully valuable in those silos!

So, here I am on a dead end road on the river. The nearest farm is at least a mile away and up drives the Nebraska state police not 3 minutes after I set up.
I am standing in front of my easel with paint brushes and a canvas ready to begin.
Here's what happened. (This is the actual conversation)
Me: "Hello"
Officer: "What are you doing?"
Me: " I'm painting"
Officer: "Painting?"
Me: "I hope that's OK?"
Officer: "We don't get many painters here...People get nervous seeing someone out here. A lot of people come here to shoot guns."
Me: "I can see all the shotgun shells, but I'm just painting."
Officer: "OK , but don't go anywhere up the banks... That's private property."
Me: "I won't. I am just painting here. "
Officer turns to leave, then comes back. "What's your name?"
Me: "Peter Yesis"
Officer: "Peter what?"
Me: "Do you want my card?" I hand him my business card. It says I'm an artist. Officer looks at the card as though it should have an expiration date on it, then gives it back and leaves.

Is this a sign I should stay in my own backyard? Or did the homeland security agency raise the terror alert to a new cadmium orange level and I am not aware of it?

Omaha Park
oil on canvas panel
In the afternoon I stayed closer to home. I actually had people (2 kids) come and watch for a while. It wasn't as hard to paint in public as I had thought.

Self Critique Time:
It is clear I need a lot of outdoor practice. My brush work and colors are very crude. But I am pleased to have gotten past my fear. I don't understand why my painting process outdoors is so radically different from indoors. Practicing more outside should help me discover the reason.


Anonymous said...

This post is so 19th century Barbizon, Peter. I love seeing your easle en pleine aire. Very atmospheric painting too.

Luis Colan said...

Hi Peter, love the first painting! I'm sorry you had that unpleasant moment with the state trooper, he was just being too....I don't know, first word that comes to mind is ignorant. There's a difference in having a set up of paint and a set up of guns. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out when some one is doing outdoor painting.

Anonymous said...

Hi - I absolutely love this posting! I read your blog daily and want you to know how much encouragement your narrative gives me. Although I have been painting most of my adult life and have had the opportunity to study with some of the best including Ray Vinella I have never had the financial opportunity to quit work and paint full time. Sometimes it feels like one step forward - back step back and three sideways. Consequently I find myself frustrated when my mind sees something that my hands apparently can't paint. Of course I realize this is just code for needing to spend more time in front of my easel. But I'm working on that and have spent hours visiting blogs (something new to me - where have I been?)And hope to establish my own in the near future. As I admire your work very much it comforts me to know that there are struggles for all artists from time to time. Thank you so much for being so open in your postings. By the way, having previously been married to a cop I can almost guarantee you that what brought him down to you was his boredom, but once there he had to make it sound official. For be the most humorous part of the story was that he handed you your card back. Obviously he didn't foresee the need to purchase any art in the future. Either that or he assumed you were a starving artist who couldn't spare a card. Ha!
Again, thank you so much and keep doing what your doing - Cara

Leslie Sealey said...

I got such a kick out of your encounter with the state trooper. I used to live in West Texas, and I have had similar experiences...I mean, you're out in the middle of frickin' NOWHERE, and people materialize out of thin air to question you!!
I had to move back to an urban area so I could relax.

Louis Boileau said...

Peter...yours is one of the most enjoyable blogs to visit because you are so open about your processes, your doubts and your ambitions. Love your stories! Enjoy your paintings too. Nice work on the pleine aire stuff. Your is the first blog I visit every day.

PaintingEachDay said...

Peter .... you are funny, funny, funny! I laughed when I read your writings and especially after seeing how remote you were.... Do you think the officer is reading your blog and admiring your art? I HOPE SO -- you're really an excellent painter and certainly a writer who can capture and relate a funny story.

Darren Maurer said...

You guys should spend time with Peter in person if you think this stuff is funny. When we get together we are talking a mile a minute about painting this and that and everything else and laughing about all of it. Then after four hours go by and it seems like 3 minutes have passed, our wives are saying okay boys time to go. Your blog has been a fun read Peter. I look forward to it everyday.

Alisha K. Ard said...

Congratulations on venturing outdoors to paint - I really like the loose brush strokes in the first one and how the trees fade in the distance.
The encounter with the state trooper is hilarious! Perhaps he mistook your easel for a shooting target you were setting up :-)

David Lloyd Smith said...

It was worth the trauma, Peter.

Kevo said...

Hi Peter, A friend of mine had a similar experience in Dublin. He was painting a street scene, including [amongst many others, none of whom are the main feature of the scene] a character that sells newspapers at a regular spot. Up walks this paper seller and starts giving out yards to my friend for not asking his permission. Along comes a policeman who after hearing both sides decides to move my friend along, in effect, treating him like a beggar. It seems many law officials don't actually know what their job is. And certain newspaper sellers can't tell the difference between a painting and a photograph.

I like your blog, and you've given voice to many of the trials and tribulations that affect me in my work. Pleine aire painting fills me with fear!

Takeyce said...

Peter - you are just too funny! I laughed so hard at the cad orange alert bit. Love the paintings as well. I so enjoy your stories - thanks for sharing.


Anonymous said...

Love your blog, and your paintings and stories, Peter. The state trooper one is a DOOZY! I'm about to go to an island in Maine, on Sat., where all the locals are pretty used to seeing us "arteests" painting on site. The only law official they can efford is one weekly visit from the mainland by a Sherrif's deputy, and he's usually looking for tourists digging clams illegally. Keep on painting outside!
S. Jersey Boy

Anonymous said...

I laughed pretty hard when I read this. Believe me when I say I thought I had heard them all before. I wrote a post "the 10 stupid or silly things people say you you while painting in public"

I could have said eleven but I never spoke to any cops...