En Plein Air Painting in a New Jersey Vineyard

On the profile section of a twitter account, at the very bottom is the word, “Location.”  When I filled it out I decided to put in “tri-state area.”  as my location because it seemed like the correct description.

However, after six months I began to wonder if I should remove that and put in New York City and Connecticut because I never found myself doing any kind of artwork in New Jersey let alone visiting it for the easy to read road signs that the state is known for. ( That is sarcasm).

But alas, one day while skimming over the “opportunities for artists” section on the NYFA web site I saw a call for artists to, “paint in the vineyards” in New Jersey.

Here was my chance to be true to my word and be an artist in the tri-state area.  So I made my submittion online and was accepted as a featured artist into the 2nd Annual Mixing Palettes.  An- Art and Wine Weekend-at Old York Cellars Vineyard in Ringoes, New Jersey.  Which took place the weekend of April 14th and 15th.

As for logistics, I had to think this one through; three kids on spring break with one who had to work the entire weekend.  Was my refrigerator filled with enough  food?  What about my car with its transmission on its way out?

Fortunately, I have a secret weapon called- Marjori.  She is my fellow single mommy friend.  Her son is between the ages of my two sons and all three of them are Star Wars fanatics and can be found on any given day battling evil forces on the dark side of cyber space amoung the Jedi elite.

Marjori and her son came in from Manhattan.  This took care of any worries I had over what my kids were going to eat and if I would come home to find the house burned down.  To solve the transportation issues I decided to rent a car.  My 16 year old, with a legal drivers license hot off the DMV press, was very happy to drive himself to work in my Buick.

So off I went at 6:30am that Saturday morning in a zippy rented Nissan Maxima.  Did I mention it was brand new and only had two thousand miles on it?  I’ve never owned a new car and after a weekend of driving one I fully comprehend why people buy new cars!  People with extra money that is.  I am not complaining about my Buick because beggars cannot be choosers and my Buick was freely given to me by my dad.  Otherwise I wouldn’t have a car at all.

I arrived at Old York Cellars just after 9am.  It was one of those mornings where the mist of dawn had just worn off revealing the pale colors of spring in all their fineness.  After checking in and walking around for half an hour I settled on this spot for my first painting.

Notice the gray canvas?  I decided to prep these canvases with a gray acrylic paint.  A new white canvas has such a rough surface, it’s very dry and takes longer to complete because the paint soaks into the canvas.

By 1pm I stopped on this one.

I kept thinking about the entry of the vineyard so I moved my easel to the front.  I picked this scene because I really liked the sign with the barn on it.  Stuff like this reminds me of  farmland back in my home state of Nebraska.

This was a smaller canvas and I finished up about 4:30.

I was lucky enough to have friends in Queens who I stayed with over night.  They had pork chops waiting for dinner.  I like these kind of friends.  The next morning I drove back to Old York Cellars and picked out this scene to paint.

This is the final painting.  I was able to paint 3 altogether.  On the second day in the vineyards I didn’t arrive as early and I took my time painting this one.

Come join us for the closing reception and awards ceremony on Friday, May 25th.  www.oldyorkcellars.com

The Exhibition runs from April 20-May 25th.

I made the trek home through the grueling late Sunday afternoon traffic on the I-95 corridor through Jersey, New York and finally home to Connecticut where my kids were fed, there were no new dents on the Buick and the house was still standing.


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