Artists Statement

I paint as often and as much as I can. I take classes when I can afford it, but the money usually goes to buy more art supplies. This blog is to share the results with you! I am a Work in Progress.

Dianne Lanning Fine

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Gatsby Summer Aftenoon Picnic

A Summer Afternoon ala Gatsby

About 2 weeks ago was the gala "Gatsby Summer Afternoon" at Dunsmuir House in Oakland! It's an annual event beautifully put on by the Art Deco Society of California at one of the most beautiful Italianate mansions in the Bay Area. No, I didn't paint the house, I have painted the house in the past and, as it is a huge white house of a thousand geometric angles and elements. . . I am not sufficiently recovered from the experience to attempt it again. It's more drafting than drawing. But it is truely magnificent.

This is one of the paintings I did there, a watercolor done plein air in the morning part of the picnic. It was a gorgeous day, not too hot, not too cool, a delicate breeze and a clear sky. This annual event is always special, but this year seemed very special.

The attendance of many people with beautifully restored and maintained cars of the period (1920-1940) really makes it very special. Not to mention the clothes! This year I got an early entrance pass because the house is at the top of a hill, and you have to schlep your picnic gear up and in otherwise. I've done that many times, not going to do it again. Since I have a modern car it is not allowed off the paved path, nor left in view during the picnic. You drive in, drop your bundles, and drive on through to a hidden parking lot that must be nearly a mile further on. It's also up a hill, but it's no problem when you aren't carrying all your gear.

The ADSC has definite rules for the picnic, which ensure that it is a fabulous experience, and some of the picnics are amazing! You cannot leave anything later than the correct period in sight. There is a costume tent at the gate so you can get help with anything from a finishing touch to a dress for the occasion.

There is an excellent live orchestra playing the grand old tunes on which my parents grew up. There is a nice size wooden dance floor so you can dance to the music, then there are talented singers that specialize in Swing etc, and of course the famous Deco Belles. This is a group of 15 or 20 young lovelies in antique bathing costumes doing "Busby Berkeley" numbers on the dance floor for the show. And they are good, well rehearsed.

It's irresistible to watch the 1972 version of "The Great Gatsby" just before or after this event.
My vignette was "society matron who thinks she is a great painter." This allowed me to take my plein air set up, all the wood things, and the picnic stuff and set my scene. A nice thing is I didn't have to buy anything except a new ground cloth tarp. It was green and shiny and the one thing that wasn't period. Note to self: throw rugs.

It's funny, because I knew people who were there, but I ended up meeting many new people but I didn't see any of my old friends. We touched bases with each other later.

Sigh. It was a lovely day. Soon I hope to have more pictures to post.