Imagine setting up your easel to paint in a sunken garden with masses of spring flowers and weeping willows cascading over a pond running under a stone bridge. You hear the Canadian national anthem "O Canada" being sung by the wait staff of a restaurant nearby where whiffs of grilled steak permeates the air. It is a comfortable 70 degrees in late March. Life is good!
My adventure in the Artists in the Gardens weekend of Epcot was wonderful. Despite the windy day we had on Saturday, the early Sunday morning rain, and the lack of shade in the afternoons, I had a difficult time choosing what to paint. When I first received my assignment, I thought, "What's in Canada that I would want to paint?" Little did I know that the area is based on the Butchart Gardens in British Columbia. The original sunken gardens were developed in a limestone quarry. Of course the gardens and grass in Epcot were "Mickey" perfect. An ideal setting for a plein air artist, if you can paint and talk to mulitudes of people at the same time. :>) That is really the fun of it all, meeting the guests and talking about your art and art in general. Children are especially curious and ask great questions. I was fortunate to have four paintings go to new owners. I even painted under shelter Sunday when it was pouring down rain!
My "art buds" this year in Canada were Dorothy Gardiner from St Pete and Linda Pence from Gainesville, FL. Both are wonderful artists and old pros at painting en plein air at Epcot. We shared a great host, D.J. Gibson, who normally works in management. He helped with our setups and getting us where we needed to be on time. The three days went quickly and I am so glad that we were able to paint through Sunday this year. Last year, we had stormy weather that called off Sunday afternoon painting. If you have a chance, you should definitely go to WDW during the flower festival months of April and May. You won't be disappointed!
For you painters, I tried out my new Anderson easel that swivels. It has telescoping legs like my Soltek. I think it weighs 7 or 8 pounds and is very easy to put up and carry. It worked great for my watercolors this time because I could lower it and sit down to work, stand and paint upright, or swivel it flat to add detail. The only problem was adding an umbrella. I will have to work on that! I worked on Stratmore's Gemini paper which has a softer tooth than Arches. It took the washes well and worked fine for outdoors where you usually have to really pile on the paint to keep it from disappearing.
Wishing you a season of beauty and good scents!