I help glean fruit for Food Share of Ventura County. There’s nothing like doing a bit of labor outside, amongst the orange trees flush with both fragrant blossoms and glowing oranges, knowing the fresh pick from local backyards, orchards, and hillsides will be donated to the ‘food insecure’ throughout Ventura County. The locations tend to be beautiful and the days blue and clear. Which got me thinking – this would be a lovely place to paint.
I connected with a group of plein air painters from Los Angeles who I’ve painted with many times before; the Roofless Painters . Roofless is a roaming atelier of painters who paint in fascinating places around LA and beyond. Led by the amazing artist Julio Panisello, who brings all the easels and paints, we’ve painted outside googie-style diners, vast green cemeteries and on rooftops overlooking Hollywood
After getting approval from the kind orchard owner, a group of nine painters were quick to sign-up and show up on a sunny February morning. As the six volunteer ‘gleaners’ finished loading up the 1500 pounds of oranges we picked in two hours, the painters took over in broad brimmed hats and began to paint.
The session was quite a challenge as the day heated up, the small black flies found our tasty skin, and the sun kept moving across the sky, changing the nature and shape of the shadows we were trying to capture. All in all it was a stunning day and I have a small 8 x 10 oil on board to commemorate the day.