Plein Air

Artists stand behind easels before the sea,
subject sits beneath natural canopy.
Sun reflects off sand,
reveals delicate hollow at nape of neck.
Streaming light illuminates hair by strands
as shadows gleam, challenge brushes
to blend raw umber, titanium white,
and yellow ochre oils.

Written for dVerse where today De is tending bar, asking us to write a quadrille (poem of 44 words; no more, no less) relating to or using the word  “shadow.” Last week in Provincetown, I volunteered to sit for a portrait session on the beach. Little did I know these were students of Cedric Egeli, one of America’s foremost portrait artists. The second photo shows him critiquing his students. Plein air refers to painting out doors.

 

57 thoughts on “Plein Air

  1. Victoria C. Slotto September 26, 2016 / 3:09 pm

    I can see Provincetown steeped you in inspirations. Shadows so well described and so very essential to art…and to the art of living.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:09 pm

      The shadows are with us everywhere — and quite amazing to hear how the artist spoke about them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:09 pm

      Thank you. I so enjoyed the experience!

      Like

  2. Karen September 26, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    Did you get to keep any of the portraits?

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:10 pm

      I did not. I was to sit two mornings — the last being the day before we left. Sadly, the second day proved to be very cloudy and cold so they were unable to finish the portraits.

      Like

  3. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) September 26, 2016 / 3:22 pm

    I do understand that challenge of the brushes.. from the purpleness of expressionism to Caravaggio it has been more about shadows than of light…

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:11 pm

      Exactly. The shadows actually provide the light — rather than blocked light providing them.

      Like

  4. petrujviljoen September 26, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    In all that glaring glorious sunshine to even think of shadows, let alone having to find them. Indeed a challenge in pastel hues. Hope you got paid, posing is hard work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:12 pm

      It was really really interesting to see their work, each from a different angle looking at me. No — I volunteered.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brian September 26, 2016 / 4:04 pm

    What a great opportunity you had! Your poem captures the brush strokes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:13 pm

      I learned so much listening to them talk….and then to hear the critique from the master…quietly speaking, pointing at me, then at their canvas. Really a wonderful experience and yes…..our words are our brush strokes, right?

      Like

  6. kim881 September 26, 2016 / 4:07 pm

    What a great experience and inspiration for your wonderful, colourful quadrille, Lillian!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      So glad you enjoyed, Kim. Every time we go to Provincetown (annual visits since 1998) we have a new experience 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:14 pm

      Now that would be interesting….to make “plein air” a verb! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Sanaa Rizvi September 26, 2016 / 5:19 pm

    This is absolutely incredible writing, Lillian ❤️ the tone.. the images.. just so lovely!! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Grace September 26, 2016 / 6:05 pm

    I enjoyed the brushstrokes of your poen and most specially the personal share Lillian ~ How lucky for you to have this experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:07 pm

      It really was fun. And quite amazing to walk behind what was once a blank canvas and see me emerging!

      Like

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:15 pm

      We do paint with our words, right?

      Like

  9. Glenn Buttkus September 26, 2016 / 7:38 pm

    Once upon a time, I used brushes, pencils & charcoal–npow I work with my digital camera, finding shadowplay in every direction. Sometimes when the light & shadow are resistant to perfection, I use a tad of photo shop to improve contrast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:16 pm

      It really is all about the shadows, right? I’d love to see some of your charcoal drawings…I find art in charcoal quite amazing: so many shades of black to white……smudging, blending, crashing lines, jabbing, lilting…

      Like

  10. rosemawrites September 26, 2016 / 11:51 pm

    oh wooow. love the descriptions! even without the lovely photos i can imagine the scene through your words. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Mish September 27, 2016 / 1:47 am

    What a great experience and I love that it was the inspiration for your quadrille! I can’t help wondering how long you had to pose for them….but it definitely looked to be a beautiful day. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:18 pm

      Actually, an hour went by very quickly. And unlike what I presumed, I could move a bit, chat with them..take a sip of water etc. I was indeed a beatiful day!

      Like

  12. maria September 27, 2016 / 5:26 am

    Beautiful imagery of a beautiful day, indeed. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you, Maria. It was a wonderful experience!

      Like

  13. frankhubeny September 27, 2016 / 10:03 am

    I liked how the brushes were challenged by the shadows to portray them right.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:19 pm

      It reminds me now of how we are challenged to find just the right word as we right….to convey the feeling, the shade of meaning we intend. I’m thinking we all write in shadows and light!

      Like

  14. whippetwisdom September 27, 2016 / 10:34 am

    What a wonderful experience and the poem reads with the rhythm of a painter’s brush strokes :o)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:20 pm

      Ah, painting with words……it’s a work of the soul.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Kay September 27, 2016 / 1:35 pm

    Beautiful! Looks like a lovely day at the beach. I also love the idea of the shadows challenging the brushes, what a wonderful description.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:21 pm

      I found it interesting to hear them talk — and to hear the critique of the teacher — pointing out that the sands reflect the light upwards and across my face while the sky reflects the light downward. I’d never thought of that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kay October 4, 2016 / 1:30 pm

        How cool! I wouldn’t have either. I imagine there were many interesting tidbits to pick up on, and it would have been so cool to see the many different perspectives!

        Liked by 1 person

  16. katiemiafrederick September 28, 2016 / 12:34 pm

    sMILes.. i see/fEeL noW..
    Art.. A BriGhtest
    liGht.. A Nature
    gift now greAt..
    as Fearless
    Love too..
    withOut
    shaWows
    tHeRe
    iS n0
    ARt
    or LiGht
    oF Fearless Love
    for shadows dARk..:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:22 pm

      The form and placement of your letters create the light and shadows here on the screen 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • katiemiafrederick October 4, 2016 / 1:39 pm

        Thanks for the continuing
        Inspiration of your poetry..
        My FriEnd.. Lillian..
        And ha! Not sure
        WHere the shaWows
        Came from..;)

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Truedessa September 28, 2016 / 10:38 pm

    That sounds like a fun day capturing the light and shadow of the brush.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:23 pm

      My husband, who sat on our deck and watched the process from behind the artist’s shoulders, thus seeing a blank canvas change…was most amazed to see them first sketch/draw shapes — ovals, squares on squares…and then begin to fill in, to scrape off, to create the image…

      Like

  18. Bodhirose September 29, 2016 / 10:11 am

    What a wonderful opportunity, Lillian. When you mentioned to me earlier that you were going to be sitting for a portrait, I had no idea that it was for students of a well-known artist! Your words speak of the process of painting so well and capturing the subtleties of shadows and light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:25 pm

      I only found out the teacher was a famous artist the evening after the sitting, while strolling the art galleries of Provincetown and going into his son’s gallery/studio (who is also an artist). He showed me a book about his father and then I googled him. I just thought I was sitting for some people who’d come to the beach to pain their passon. 🙂

      Like

  19. Imelda September 30, 2016 / 3:12 pm

    Ah, what a privilege that experience must have been, and a treat, too.

    I like how you used shadow here. It highlighted it’s importance in painting. An excellent painter knows how to use the shadows to make his art.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 4, 2016 / 12:26 pm

      I volunteered — and yes, it was a privilege indeed!

      Like

  20. Rosemary Nissen-Wade October 6, 2016 / 2:59 am

    Everything goes together so beautifully here – the poem, the photos, the back story….

    Liked by 1 person

    • lillian October 6, 2016 / 8:22 am

      Thank you, Rosemary. Smiling I am — and so very glad you enjoyed!

      Like

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