May 10, 2012

Peirce Mill

I went to Peirce Mill today in Rock Creek Park (yes, it's Peirce, not Pierce) to paint.  The mill is no longer working, but when I first came to Washington over 30 years ago, you could buy flour ground there as a demonstration of mill workings.

It was very windy and I had a big "sail" of a canvas, so I put the easel down very low to the ground and painted in the only direction that would allow me to protect the canvas from blowing into the creek, keep the sun from shining through the surface and give me any view at all.  The brushing is particularly funky because of the low angle of the canvas.  I need to fix that and fix the building, which I reduced in size by half just as I was getting ready to pack up.

I'd just been reading "Why Art Can't Be Taught" by James Elkins and his assertion that most artists are making ordinary, everyday art, not rare masterpieces.  And that it's a good thing.  I read it, I believe it, but at the end of the day, it feels a just a little sad.  On the other hand, if I got out to paint so often that a painting day was an ordinary day, I'd be pretty happy with that.

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