I know many wonderful plein air painters, however unfortunate – I am not one of them. I’ve tried a couple of times to capture the light and beauty of an outdoor landscape using paint and pastel. I just cannot seem to do it well. Mosquitoes bite me, flies swim under the brim of my hat, sweat mixes with paint, my pastels fall to the ground, people swarm and ask unanswerable questions. It’s just not a pretty sight nor is it worth it at this point. I am outdoors most every day working in one garden or another, so I deal with heat and humidity, wind beyond belief, rain, frost and freezing temperatures all the time. In order for me to plein air paint – the conditions have to be exquisite as a prerequisite for any fun or success at all. There are probably about ten of these exquisite days throughout the season, and I am most likely working happily outside anyway.
That being said, however – I do enjoy writing outdoors and try to poet a delectable landscape with painterly words. My aha moment – I finally got it – I am a plein air poet. It’s amazing how long it takes me to discover truths about myself, but once I do, I am tickled as a teenager. Even the negative stuff lights a bulb in my brain that allows a conduit for change.
Last Sunday morning I drove to a lovely arboretum in Chester Township, NJ – Willowwood Arboretum. It is a wonderful native and managed park in Morris County. Here then is a plein air poem brush-stroked on an exquisite plein air Sunday morning:
Plein Air Poet
I stop at the edge
of a wildflower meadow to watch
the amber and russet grasses
climb a distant knoll.
Goldenrod drifts freely about
and a lone Bluebird house
is vacant for the rest of the season.
At the edge of this meadow
I begin to hear another exchange –
bees humming along flying inside and out
of feverfew and globe thistle.
Slender reeds bend in an easy flow
as birds chirp and flit from treetops and sky.
Crickets continue their morning chitter
as the sun rises in a sleepy stretch.
All is well in the field.
ag ~ 2013