When it seems like water may pour from the sky at any moment (as it has done for nearly the past 10 days in this area), having all your watercolor kit out in the open may not be the wisest move. So in a recent gathering of sketchers and painters in a Maryland park, when the skies and winds suggested rain, it seemed safer to stick with a pencil sketch–at first.
The subject in this case was a functioning bell tower–complete with enormous bells ringing out not just the hour on the hour, but various melodies all day. To be working on a sketch or a painting in the open air, with breezes, and flowering trees all around, while enjoying the sound of bells ringing out even the national anthem (Francis Scott Key of Frederick wrote the “Star-spangled Banner” national anthem in the early 1800s) is a special treat indeed. But here we were in the midst of a well-maintained park which also features a covered bridge and a theater pavilion in the historic district of Frederick, Maryland. The bell tower dates from 1941 and is named after one of the leading citizens of Frederick, Joseph Baker, whose philanthropy helped to ensure the creation of this beautiful park.
The iffy weather discouraged many from participating in this plein air event, but those who made it were amply rewarded when the skies cleared, and the entire lawn was lit up in the colors of a brilliant spring day.