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Painting at Gettysburg

July 3, 2012

For all it’s faults, Facebook has allowed me to connect with other artists, and getting acquainted is a really enjoyable experience.  John Wooldridge and I were facebook friends, having originally connected through the WetCanvas site, but had never met.  John’s from Arkansas, and Nell and I are travelling.  When we found ourselves within 20 to 25 miles on either side of Gettysburg, PA, John proposed we get together and paint.

A photo for posterity, before we started painting

For anyone not familiar with the Battle of Gettysburg, I’ve touched on it somewhat in my travel blog article Gattysburg National Military Park.  Anywhere you look at the Gettysburg Battlefield, there is a painting waiting to be done.  This particular day was a hot one, so we chose a place with some shade.  The house behind us in the photo above was the home of Lydia Leister, and was used as the headquarters for Union General George Meade.  Just down from the house is a small barn, which was the main subject for both of us on this day.

We did our best to stay in the shade

Leister Barn, 8×10, Gouache, Plein Air

For those who are intimately familiar with this barn, yes, I took some liberties.  Not with the barn itself, but I did eliminate a couple of fence sections to get a better view of the barn.  Aside from being General Meade’s headquarters, this location has other significance.  Up the hill to the left and behind the barn lies Cemetery Ridge.  At the top of the ridge, above this barn, is what has become known as the High Water Mark.  It was at that point that Union defenders held off 12,000 Confederat soldiers in what is referred to as Pickett’s Charge.

View From the Leister House, 5×7, Gouache, Plein Air

Turning around and looking behind us, we could see this barn some distance away.

Along Cemetery Ridge, 5×7, Gouache, Plein Air

Turning slightly to the right, we could look up at the back side of Cemetery Ridge.

John Wooldridge

John and his painting of the Leister Barn.

Painting at Gettysburg

And, of course, there is the obligatory photo of the artist painting on location.

The weather was hot, but beautiful.  It was a great pleasure to meet John’s wife Laura, and the rest of his family.  John and I painted for almost five hours, a long time for family members to hang out in the heat.  Instead, Nell went with John’s family to a nearby outlet mall and window shopped.  She dd manage to find several books she hadn’t read.  And I came home with three plein air paintings that I felt good about.

It was a good day.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. William R Moore permalink
    July 4, 2012 10:18 am

    Ralph,
    Serendipity…meeting with John and having a day of painting together. Three for three painting successes. How was the heat on the gouache ?

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