Several years back I participated in Paint Oglebay, a September plein air event in the park with an art show at Wilson Lodge. I really enjoyed the event and though I was novice plein air painter, I sold a small a painting. I planned to go back but it seemed that year after year I had scheduling conflicts. During that time Paint Oglebay morfed into Paint Historic Wheeling.
I decided this was the year to return. The event was headquartered at Artworks Around Town a nonprofit for the local artists located in the Center Market in south Wheeling. After registration and announcements on Thursday I headed to Chapline Street where there’s a row of beautiful old buildings. A morning rain stopped just in time. I had originally planned to paint a different house but I was suckered in to this one by the sunflowers and the orange doors. I got a lot of encouragement from the local folks walking past. I could have painted views there all weekend if it wasn’t so hot.
That afternoon I headed up to Oglebay. Since it felt like it might rain again I decided to paint on the veranda of Wilson Lodge. I wanted to catch the view looking through the chairs so that meant I needed to sit on the floor with my pastel paper propped against my knees. I’m surprised that someone didn’t throw a few coins my way as I sat there! It didn’t take long to realize that this was not going to be easy. I had to simplify the rocking chairs to get contrast with the background and add the flowers at the bottom for balance. Of course there were challenges with cars and people coming and going. One of the Wilson Lodge guests who stopped to talk was a high school classmate I hadn’t seen for 45 years! That was probably the best part of the whole weekend.
Each day the artists were supposed to check in and wait for announcements. The event organizer was not a plein air artist so I don’t think he realized we were wasting the best light of the day, not to mention the only cool air. I headed back to Schenk Lake at Oglebay where I thought the heat might not be so bad. I really liked the patterns of the shadows so I did this oil painting. It just got hotter and hotter so I was pretty envious of the kids peddling their boats under the spray from the fountain.
I probably should have called it a day, but Oglebay is so beautiful that I wanted to do one more painting before I headed home. Although I tried to stay hydrated and walked under the landscaper’s sprinkler, the 90+ degree heat got to me. That’s one painting that isn’t likely to see the light of day! I missed the First Friday event at the Center Market so I don’t know if the traffic through the gallery was comparable to what there had been with vacationers staying at Wilson Lodge.
Because of other commitments I didn’t paint on Saturday. On Sunday I did another pastel on 23rd St. of a porch that caught my attention and had a nice conversation with the residents of the house.
I headed back to Artworks as the final reception and awarding of prizes was already under way. Alas, my paintings were not what the judges were looking for. The show will stay up for a month and the paintings are for sale. The event organizer summed up by saying that the event was a good way for the local artists to get together once a year to paint together and renew friendships. That’s probably the way I’d describe it, too.
The organizers are talking about moving the event to the fall because of the heat. Would I go back? Maybe???