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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Brown Baggers reminiscing

A week or so ago I had lunch with the Brown Baggers outdoor painting group. We've been through a lot together since the group of seven women watercolor painters formed in 1975. Being busy with families as well as painting, we met on the first Tuesday of every month, occasionally an extra day to finish up at a site, and painted in each other's homes during bad weather. Memories abound of mostly funny experiences painting on site--the comments made by onlookers and the hazards of public painting--insects, sudden rainstorms, lack of restrooms. For a number of years we exhibited as a group in banks, hospitals, galleries, and businesses throughout the Miami Valley area around Dayton. Our shows were booked into one venue after another. Unsold paintings never made it back to our studios; they just went on to the next show. I confess that, although I enjoyed painting outdoors, I am much more a studio painter and was probably the least productive of the group. After I began writing my books and teaching national workshops, it became more difficult to find time to paint with my friends. Health issues interfered with others in recent years and now, after 34 years, only five members and two spouses survive. We enjoy swapping stories, though, and think wistfully of braving the elements to paint outdoors again one day. In the meantime, we enjoy lunch now and then and remember all our good times together.

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