LINDA S. GUNNMy Lovely Day at the Beach with "Color in Your Life (CIYL)" Producer Graeme Stevenson
Just before heading out to Point Fermin Park above Cabrillo Beach, CA for my live performance, Graeme and I talked about my background in art for an hour, as a warmup, inside the cozy Walker's Cafe that is located across from the Point Fermin Lighthouse. I found Graeme to be a gentle and casual man with a lot of experience in putting nervous clients, like me, at ease with the scary notion of being interviewed while painting plein air and having a camera catch every word and brush stroke.
It all began a couple months before with my responding to a Color In Your Life (CIYL) inquiry. Two weeks later, as I prepared the family Easter dinner, Graeme called to ask me if I would like to be the feature artist on his internationally broadcast show. He explained the process in great detail and the cost as well. Twenty minutes and a well done roast later, I promised to procure an accessible site for my interview and painting demonstration. In two months!
I used this time to prepare for five hours of filming by painting my favorite scenes from Cabrillo Beach and its tide pools. I chose a filming location that I thought was a perfect isolated spot for Graeme and his crew to set the stage. I was confident that my demonstration would be a breeze and everything would go smoothly —including a lunch break. NOT! My choice was upended by city regulations requiring a “video license” and having to pay insurance fees for all involved.
Two weeks before filming, I was in a panic. I did find what I thought would be the perfect site and painted several practice paintings but when I escorted Graeme and his videographer to my chosen site they were horrified! I had failed to realize the amount of equipment which included numerous cameras and large screens for lighting. But videographer Sophia Stacey came to the rescue and, after twenty minutes of reconnoitering, helped me find a suitable location. One of several alcoves at the edge of the bluff containing a cement picnic table under a cement arbor.
A new location meant that I had to start my painting by drawing a new scene instead of using the one I had prepared from my chosen site. Graeme put me at ease. As the camera started to roll, I sketched in my demonstration painting while Graeme asked questions about my techniques and materials. Everything went smoothly at first, though there were intermittent lighting problems due to shadows from the awning and a few passersby with questions. But then came the fire truck and rescue vehicles and noises from the Coast Guard and Rescue Boats 150 ft. below us on the water. Sophia had problems adjusting the sound so Graeme talked to me while I painted. He told me of his past life in Australia as a paramedic and a helicopter pilot! We assumed that a massive Emergency Practice Exercise was taking place. Sophia kept filming until a noisy helicopter arrived and chopped the air and dust low over our heads. By this time I had almost completed my painting. Graeme asked if I could add the finishing touches in my studio and send him a photo of the finished painting. When you see the attached video you will see my hair blowing as Graeme and I are saying our goodbyes. Sophia did such a great job of editing the final production that you cannot hear the surrounding noise.
Two months later, I have five DVDs and a link on Youtube. Imagine four hours of filming for a twenty two minute video. And the best outcome of my adventure? My online friendship with Graeme Stephenson and Sophia Stacey.
A sad note was that a man who had been watching us film committed suicide by jumping off the cliff behind our cement structure. It was no drill.
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