Sunday, January 3, 2010

Plein gross
















Oh! Oh! How one suffers for one's Art... you may remember a sketching trip some weeks ago at Emmarentia Dam, where I and my sketchbook were enthusiastically bounced upon by a muddy-pawed Staffie... well today was a way more shocking encounter in the dog park.... I had sat myself down on a cushion in an idyllic little spot under a tree, fields of wild flowers, a rushing stream nearby... laid out my paints, my water, palette and sketchbook, when once again a kerfuffle of canines, an owner's anguished cry..."Noooo!"... and then a warm, wet, creeping feeling down my back! I turned to see the offending leg descending and the awful truth dawned on me - I had been peed on. By a large, delirious young Ridgeback. On my back. Me!! The owner and I looked at each other in utter horror, he mumbled apologies and took off, head down, while I spluttered and swore and tossed my painting water down my back. Thank heavens its summer.
I almost packed up and left, but having spent days trying to get out to sketch, decided it was all part of plein air and I must tough it out like Vivien does on her expeditions. I gathered up my stuff and went to find a seat above dog leg level, passing the owner on the way to a park bench. He came across and apologised again most profusely, and I forgave him and his stupid mutt, who was happily chasing hadedas behind us and not the slightest bit repentant.
I eventually did this sketch - over two pages which I've posted separately as they come out so small in doublespread - and it was quite lovely out. The grasses and reeds are sprinkled and shaded with flowers. Drums were beating in the background hills - some African churches meet there in the Melville Koppies on Sundays and dance and sing.
Finally I went home and showered and washed and scrubbed but I'm still sniffing strains of eau de dog - I think some got on my sketchbook.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cathy, What a wonderful story, so sorry about the dog thing. The sketches are lovly as alway's can you please explain how you do the tree folidge. I have such a hard time with this.
Have a great day,
Linda

Kris Wiltse said...

Great title. Beautiful sketch! It's a textural feast.

Suzanne McDermott said...

Hysterical!!! I can't say that I've been peed on (though I probably have and just can't remember) but I've had my share of misadventures and not all of the en plein air! I am glad you stuck it out because your visual report of the day is fantastic. It is so cold here, it burns and I've retired early. It's delightful to see a warm and sunny report.

Sandy Maudlin said...

You're a tougher breed than me for sure! Whew. I'd have been screaming. Glad you stuck it out, tho. Have a great new year and keep up the wonderfully beautiful work.

Sue Van Etten said...

Oh, my. I almost missed the significance of the title. That's hysterical. Thanks for the great story and lovely sketches.

Carol King said...

When I first saw your title I thought, oh, I wonder if that's one of those South African words that I don't know. Like lekker. ...and then I read your story I realized, NO! THAT WAS MEANS GROSS!

You poor thing. Pardon me if I laughed out loud at your story. Having a dog and being at many a dog park I have experienced the hazards of dogs marking their areas.

Speaking of markings I love your sketches. You are able to handle such a range of greens beautifully. Your foliage always looks so lush.

Art with Liz said...

Not funny at the time, but darned funny in the telling Cathy! Emmerentia Dam looks incredible - a bit of wildnerness in the middle of Joeys. Wonderful sketches.

Penny said...

Love the sketches but being peed on by a dog is not funny! totally gross. Actually it could of been worse, if bigger he might have hit your hair.

Maree said...

This is hilarious Cathy!! And the title very apt! The joys of plein air are endless, but maybe you must look at this in the same light as when a bird overhead poops on your shoulder - 7 years good luck!

Cathy Gatland said...

Thanks everybody - I forgive you all for laughing, it is funny in retrospect!
Maree, I do hope so... I've been wondering if this is how the rest of the year might go - I'll take your interpretation!

vivien said...

oh NO!!!!

that's not a hazard I've had to deal with .... touch wood!

good for you for staying - you got a lovely painting out of it :>)

Gillian said...

Ah Sus NO! and... SIS, man!! But good on you for sticking it out with your plein air excursion, after the mighty warm stream (seriously EW!!) because the paintings are so lovely. When the French step in dog poo, they consider it good luck and go buy a lottery ticket... (That's what we were told.)

yal said...

My english is too bad for understand all the articles..but I saw the sketches!
Happy new year from France !

amicalement,
YANN

Jeanette said...

Oh my Cathy...poor you. But I have confess to smiling at your story. I know however that something happening like that throws you, so kudos to you for sticking with it and not heading home.

Beautiful sketch, despite the circumstances around it.

Helen Percy Lystra said...

Beautiful sketch but what an experience. Kudos for sticking with your plan in spite of the dog.

Walkyria Rennó Suleiman, said...

Hi, i loved your art, include that one to thanks given....so bealtiful.

masmoulin said...

Hello,

You have a very nice and interesting blog. I love

RHCarpenter said...

Oh, you are a brave and steadfast woman!!! I wasn't laughing at you and the doggie story but it did make me smile a bit and think what a wimp I am (I don't even like being outside with good weather, no dogs trying to pee on me, and no bugs). What a memory this will be!

lostinarc said...

This is so beautiful...i enjoyed all your sketches..:)

JRonson said...

I loved this one ! :)