Thursday, July 25, 2013

retro fave: Richard Mckinley interview, part three- plein air tales

Richard's two most used plein air pastel boxes (top, heilman, bottom, dakota)

Plein air painters just love to share their "war stories." part of the fun of painting outdoors is the NEVER know what will happen. You can be tickled with delighted, frightened, or just left wondering. Here is one of Richard's stories.

It happened in Bend, Oregon, one of my favorite places to paint. Birds fascinate me. And you do know about me and my pastel box. Some people call it anal. (Richard keeps an ultra neat and organized box. See above. I totally envy it.) Well it was a day with flat light, wonderful for a painter, as there is no rush. The light doesn't change much.   I was out in the wilderness painting. It was a little strange when I looked down at my box and noticed a couple of "holes" in the order. (a few sticks missing) Hmmm. Where did I put those? I kept working. I stepped back from the easel to view the painting and each time I did this I thought  another stick seemed to be missing. Strange. How? 
Pretty soon I am missing some of my favorite sticks (probably violets) and NOW I know I am not imagining it. I KNOW those pastels were there. I move back and stand in the trees quietly watching my easel. In moments I see a raven dive down to my box and grab another "treasure."

My first thought was, uh, oh, I hope it wasn't the cadmiums (toxic.) Then I think of the raven, his nest lined with his purloined treasure, bartering with his friends.
It's funny we go through so much effort to make out easels level and in good light.  And here is this bird, stealing pastels.
  I guess you never know.

If you want a treat check out Richard's website and his Pastel Pointers Blog. You will be amazed!
Also view part one and part two of his interview.


Leah said...

I love this story and the neatness of Richard's pastel boxes!

Casey Klahn said...

And they say Ravens are among the smartest...

I had a look at that Dakota Box. Yummy.

loriann said...

Hi Leah, I new the organizer of the universe would love the neatness of R's box!.

Hi Casey, That raven was smart..he chose Richard's box. I would have loved to have a look into the nest, wouldn't you?

Sonya Johnson said...

What a funny story! Ravens are unbelievably crafty, resourceful and intelligent birds; I've had many experiences with them backpacking in the Grand Canyon.

They will waste no time at all going through a backpack if you step away for even a moment. I once thought one had flown off with my digital camera because I couldn't find it after they'd pulled every non-edible thing out of my pack and onto the ground.

Ravens associate humans with food, so I'm betting that raven that stole Richard's pastels was thinking he/she had hit the motherlode. Pastels do look like candies, after all, especially the way they are arranged in Richard's boxes! :)

Weatherhill said...

The picture, the story, and as always, the art you all create.

SamArtDog said...

Photographs of Richard's scrumptious toy boxes, whether here or in Pastel Journal or on his blog, are some of my all-time favorite images. Of anything. We should all be glad he does this. So we don't have to.

loriann said...

Good point Sonya, the raven probably did think it was sort of was. i can't believe the ravens actually emptied your!

Hi James, thanks. I am glad you enjoy them!

Hey Sam!
I wish my boxes looked like that. He wipes each one before placing it back into its slot. I am always impressed.

Cynnie said...

At first on the thumbnail I thought this was some kind of abstract color,,,well it is isn´t it....what a beautiful display!
Cynthia Schelzig