It's time to prepare for a fall workshop, and this one will be about Music City. Rachel, my event manager, packed me off to Lower Broadway to paint my impressions of that exciting part of town.
After haggling with a couple of parking attendants, I found a deserted lot and abandoned my car. My painting gear fits into an REI wheelie-backpack, and off I marched pulling everything I needed in my wake. By the way, everything I needed was this: my French half-box easel, my full selection of colors, a small bottle of Liquin and a tiny metal container of Gamsol; brushes and painting knives; rags and baby wipes; a small sketchbook and pens; water, chocolate and sandwiches. In the trunk of the car I keep a Silicoil bottle with baby oil in it to preserve the brushes at the end of the day.
Ah, what shall I paint first? The Schermerhorn Symphony Center would be wonderful, with its classical architecture and outsize fountain ... modern Nashville as a backdrop. The Music City Star train station beside the river would be fun to paint. Maybe some of Nashville's favorite landmarks like the Ryman, home of the Grand Ole Opry... or the Country Music Hall of Fame.
But my attention was held, that day, by the street itself: Lower Broadway, lively with musicians and tourists, families and loners, hopes, dreams and especially song. I unfolded my easel right there in the middle of the sidewalk while beside me a truck driver unloaded kegs of beer.
The next couple of hours were magic. Plastic Elvis teetered on his plastic stand, balloons flying in the breeze. People walked and talked and gawked. The sun drifted lower in the sky, making the whole place sparkle. For the composition, I stuck someone in a cowboy hat into the foreground, and put in the parking meters marching up the right hand side.
"Is that painting for sale? My wife would like to buy it." Tempting, but this painting is not for sale. It has another purpose.