"9/23/11 Rex Beach at Sunset" -- plein air field study -- oil on birch panel 8x10"
It had been an absolutely gorgeous September afternoon, with clear, blue skies. That morning I'd butchered one of the rabbits (quite a job -- I was new to the procedure!). And it seemed like I'd labored most of the afternoon, making rabbit stew. Which was an adventure in itself.
As evening approached, a large cloud bank came out of the East, promising for an interesting sunset. It appeared my long-awaited rabbit stew was finally ready. Ah, the dilemma: paint or eat? But the clouds looked so wonderous, I just had to shut off the stove, cover the pot, throw my Soltek easel into the car and head down to Rex Beach. All I'd eaten all afternoon was the rabbit liver (which was delicious!), but eating could wait!
Good thing I'd put on a polartec jacket AND a windbreaker: it was getting a bit nippy! I set up on my favorite spot, next to a couple relatively flat large rocks, with a view across Grand Traverse Bay towards Northport. As usual, I had the entire coastline to myself. Sunsets change SO rapidly, there's no time to chitchat or dither. It's a race to finish! Ten, fifteen minutes and the show's over. Darkness descends.
As I was packing up, a minivan pulled up into the boat launch area and parked. It was driven by a young woman nurse who had taken her patient, a quadriplegic older man, for a view of the sunset. They were both friendly. We talked briefly as she exercised her patient's legs. Like many of us up here, she'd moved up from one of the Detroit suburbs. The man seemed in good spirits. I could see he was in good hands.
So it was another experience reminding me of the importance of making the most of every day. Everything is a choice: do we want to lay on the couch, watching TV -- or do we want to go paint a sunset? The rabbit stew? It was just perfect! Oh, and I only had 2 bugs stuck in my paint at the end.