Sunday, November 3, 2019

Bradley, the 5-year old plein air artist is mentored by Pam Padgett

Last month on the last day of the PAPSE (Plein Air Painters of the Southeast) paintout in Leiper's Fork, TN, my 5-year old granddaughter, Mary Bradley, spent the day with me. She accompanied me into town to see the wet paint sale at Leiper's Creek Gallery and to watch all the artists that were painting around town.

Pam Padgett, Chestnut Group member and PAPSE member, was painting at the Lawn Chair Theater behind the Gallery. We talked with Pam briefly and then went on to look around the rest of the area. When we walked near Pam again, Bradley pulled me to Pam and her easel. Out of all the plein air painters scattered all over town, Bradley was taken with Pam. So we chatted with Pam again, and Pam asked Bradley if she'd like to paint. Of course we all know the answer she gave - a resounding yes!

Pam lowered the easel, attached a fresh panel, and she asked Bradley to look at the pumpkin on the stage. She talked Bradley through how to look at the shape, how to do shadows and highlights. She discussed mixing red and yellow to make orange. With Pam's guidance, Bradley painted that pumpkin.

I loved seeing the attention Bradley and Pam gathered. Leiper's Fork was full of residents, visitors and artists - and many of them came by to watch Pam and Bradley work together. Many took photos. Yes, Bradley was as cute as can be. However, she was also serious. She was 100% into the creative endeavor of painting that pumpkin. She listened attentively as Pam gave her instruction, and she followed it carefully.

In the photo below, you can see the "Porch Sale" in the background with all the beautiful paintings from the PAPSE artists. The paintings go all the way around the building on all four sides. On the other side of the building is the main road going through Leiper's Fork.

Bradley and Pam continued until Bradley finished her pumpkin and signed her painting.

Here is the budding artist with her mentor and completed painting.

Here is Bradley with her finished masterpiece.

And here's a footnote to this story: We took Bradley's painting home and set it out to dry. We told her we'd like to buy her painting, and she finally settled on a price of $20 which we paid her. However, when her parents came to pick her up, she very seriously gave us the $20 back and took her painting home. She loved it so much she couldn't bear to part with it.

And THAT is an example of what art is all about. It's about sharing with children - or others of any age -  the joy and satisfaction of expressing oneself via art. It is sharing how to look at things differently - how to see the shadows and lights - how to combine colors to get the shade we're looking for - how to see the beauty and complexity of our world - how to look beyond the obvious. Thank you to Pam Padgett for so generously giving Bradley an experience she will always remember.

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