“What do you want to do Dad?” cheered our three little kiddos as I was still lying in bed sleeping, “It’s Father’s day.”
“Sllllleeeeeeep.” I tiredly bellowed as the wake up crew jumped on me with a big group hug. “How about we just hang out and play in the yard while I paint a little?”
“Yeah”, they cheered as the sound of six pitter-pattering little feet ran off to start to get dressed.
“You know it’s only 5:30 right?” my wife said with a smirk, as she looked over at me.
Much later, we got ready to finally go outside. I had my portable easel and art supplies ready to go. I always struggle with painting en plein air (a French expression which means ‘in the open air”). First it’s difficult. Secondly it’s sometimes hard to find a spot. One of the challenges I have with finding a scene to paint it finding what I’m looking for. Duh. I’ll explain. What I mean is, in my head I want a scene that has depth and a great distance, so a foreground, a few layers of middle ground and then a distant background and sky. I want to try to capture the space and atmospheric perspective in my painting. (How when things get farther away from you they get cooler, lighter and have less contrast, for example.) Third, bugs. I love being outside but usually I’m running or biking. Just moving around constantly. Bugs, bug me.
But on this beautiful sunny morning in mid-June three years ago, I was outside painting while my wife and kids played in the yard. I remember sitting under our grove of 17 white birch trees as a gentle summer breeze kept blowing my painting panel right off my easel. It didn’t really but thankfully it did kept the bugs away.
As I painted I really appreciated what a wonderful Father’s Day gift I was blessed with. I get to paint. In my own yard. With my wonderful family. I’m not sure if I loved the painting as much as my kiddos did. But I know I loved it when they came over to me, each one at different times, looked at what I was doing and told me great job Daddy. I love it.
I’m an artist so I’m excited about new art supplies but what I love more and what I think all dads out there do to, is spending quality time with their kiddos, young or old, and I know if you spend some quiet time together under your own grove of trees, you’ll be amazed at what you create. Memories that you’ll never forget!