Afternoon Ride is an original oil painting of a cyclist riding away from us down a sidewalk. This painting could have been any small town with umbrellas, shops, street lights, and flower pots, but I was in Chippewa Falls, WI when I painted it. This was an entry for the Go Paint Chippewa Valley Fall 2021 plein air competition. Plein air competitions require you to paint everything on site (not in your studio), except for a few minor touch-ups. Yes, I was able to follow the rules – even the figure was painted on location.
When I was nearly done painting the street scene, I was feeling like it was a bit plain. I was thinking to myself that I could sure you a figure or two in the painting, but the street was really quiet this particular Sunday afternoon, so I just prayed about it and kept working. A few minutes later this young man on a bicycle stopped to see what I was doing. After chatting a while, I got up the courage to ask if he had 10-15 minutes to pose for me. He said that he had to get back home because it was his turn to wash the dishes. But he could spare a few minutes. So this ended up being a “quick paint” figure. I named this painting Afternoon Ride because that’s what this young man was doing.
Part of the joy of plein air painting for me is being able to interact with people through the shared joy of art. People who run into me on the are curious about what I’m doing and I love to share my work. I love meeting new people! And often, they make my work better!