Walking to plein-air site
By Joseph Weinzettle
June 20, 2020
For an in-progress painting of the Anclote River Basin, I need to get up in time to walk to the site before sunrise. This time of day is called nautical twilight.
When Covid-19 restrictions limited a nearby park’s hours, I starting walking to the painting site instead of driving. I walk through an industrial area to the Pinellas Trail.
It used to be dark at this hour. The days have gotten much longer. I started a series of Anclote paintings in February of this year.
Before I reach the painting site, I have time to consider the vista of natural forms and built structures. Before the settlement of the Anclote in the mid to late 1800s, longleaf pine trees dominated the canopy in Tarpon Springs. Pines grew along the shores of the Anclote. Now, the dominant structures on the horizon, even in natural areas, are cellular and utility towers.
Although located in an environmentally sensitive and strategic area, a residential development is planned on the 17-plus acre property to the right of the river (above). There are few city, county or state-owned structures that afford the public a view of this winding river environment. Water views in Pinellas County are all too often privatized.
An old railroad bridge is the base for the Pinellas Trail pedestrian crossing over the Anclote.
Looking east on the Old ACL Bridge, U.S. Highway 19 crosses over the Anclote (above). The pre-dawn light softens the effect of development over the natural landscape.
I have arrived on site (above). Today, I planned to deepen tones in the foreground especially. I was on site for about 50 minutes. The work session was comfortable as the sand fleas weren’t active. Rabbits foraged nearby. After sunrise, I began to pack-up and headed back to the Pinellas Trail.
I don’t try to match local color for all the various plants and objects in my field of vision. Working in fleeting light (or darkness, in this case), I look to match tones, even temperatures in the surrounding environment. Not certain this painting is finished, but it feels mostly resolved, and I signed it. I did learn from the experience of painting at this time and location, which is for me, an important and rewarding aspect of working en plein air.
Next blog: Urban Pleinairism