by Allison Malafronte
Nothing proves a plein air painter’s prowess like surviving a hard-core painting session battling the elements of nature. The young, talented California artists Jeremy Lipking and Tony Pro learned this the hard and—as you will see from the video below—hilarious way when they set out to record an instructional plein air-painting session that instead turned into a showdown with a seriously perturbed Mother Nature.
As any plein air painter knows, when you strap your wooden box to your back and head outdoors you never know what you will encounter. Most of the time the weather is pleasant, the vistas are inspiring, and the distractions are few. But every now and again lightning strikes—as it literally did right in front of Tony Pro in this video—and you learn to just have a laugh. “We started out with every intention of making a serious instructional plein air video, but when the lightening struck practically a foot away from me, it was pure comedy after that,” says Pro, who along with Lipking taped, edited, and produced the video.
You have to admire Pro’s and Lipking’s steadfastness in the midst of such unusual circumstances. Lesser plein air painters would have dropped their alizarin crimson and headed for the hills at the first sign of sprinkles, but these guys took it like men and waited until they were covered with mosquitoes and hit several times on the head with hail before bailing. “What you don’t get to see in the video is when we’re running for our lives to catch the water taxi back in the middle of this deluge of hail and lightning,” Pro says. “I was pretty sure we were dead men.”
Luckily for us, the painters and their video survived, and now we can all enjoy their documentary that proves disasters en plein air happen to the best of us! Here’s the video:
Pro and Lipking will be filming Part II of this segment in the Sierras this weekend and will have the new video posted to their pages on blip.tv shortly. On a more serious note, Lipking also made a video of a plein air-painting excursion that he and several of his artist-friends made to Maine this past September, which is also on his blip.tv page. The video is beautifully shot and edited and shows the artists capturing an amazing sunset off of Port Clyde, Maine. (Lipking will be adding interviews with the artists to the videos shortly.) An exhibition associated with the Maine trip titled “Paintapalooza” will be held at the Addison Art Gallery, in Orleans, Massachusetts, in February, and will feature the following artists: Jeffrey Bonasia, Glenn Dean, Frank Gardner, Jerome Greene, Logan Hagege, Peter Kalill, Jeremy Lipking, Eric Merrell, Ernesto Nemesio, Colin Page, Paul Schulenburg, and Lance Walker. For more information, visit www.addisonart.com/paintapalooza.html.