Monday, June 9, 2008

Artistic Ingenuity is Alive and Well!


An earlier post this year showed an old photograph of one of my heroes, John Singer Sargent on a boat with an umbrella shading his little portable easel. So how did Mr. S attach a large and heavy umbrella to a little easel? He didn't. He lashed the umbrella's pole to his leg! He was a true blue plein air painter where ingenuity counts!
Last summer I found that this same artistic ingenuity was alive and well when I ran across a plein air artist's blog. One of the photos he posted showed a portable ironing along side his easel. It functioned like an artist's taboret, only for his purposes, a lot better...he could raise and lower it. And when he was done painting, the board simply folded flat.
This last Sunday was the first day of my plein air water media sketch class that I teach for Sacramento City College. In fact, this is my 6th summer teaching it. The class runs for 8 weekends. We go to eight different locations in the Sacramento area every Saturday and Sunday from 9AM to 1PM. All of this is leading up to this photo I snapped. We work on small watercolor sketch pads and only need a chair and our laps to work from. Notice off in the distance my black folding chair with pockets below the seat for supplies and a shoulder strap...very comfortable, compact, and portable. I purchased it from an art catalog, and it has served me very well. I told my students that if on a budget, they could use any old folding beach/lawn chair or maybe a soccer mom chair with the handy beverage holders in the arms...very cool! So what does one of my students show up with? A feakin folding recliner! What a laugh we had about that...until... we saw how he used it! Nuff said...he's the foreground student. Yet another example of good ole artistic ingenuity. He don't need no stinkin art chair!!

7 comments:

onpainting said...

That is a good idea. Sounds like an enjoyable class.

silvina said...

How does the saying go?... necessity is the mother of invention. He made a traveling draw bench! Excellent.

bonnieluria said...

Nothing "Plein" about his resourcefulness. Cleverness lurks everywhere and now thanks to your student and this post, we can all reconsider everyday household stuff.

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

I think artists are the most inventive people anywhere. We are always thinking up new and interesting ways to add comfort and convenience to our outdoor set ups.
I'm a little nervous about the back leg of his chair. Those things can fold up on you pretty quickly!

David Lobenberg said...

You know, Mary, that chair does look a little tenuous in the back! I'm going to ask him about it this weekend.

Frank Gardner said...

Yeah, I know how those chairs work. I would lean back to take a rest and admire my work and BAM, that chair back would flop backwards.
It is pretty clever though.

David Lobenberg said...

Seems to me Frank...clever but dangerous. Guess some people like to push the envelope!