Thursday, June 26, 2014

Back to Plein Air

My teacher/mentor/friend informed me today that we have been painting together outside for 22 years.  Today was another glorious day.  

I was so fortunate to get my start in art with someone who actually knew what he was doing. The next 20+ experiences were dismal save for 3 people who were able to build on my base.

When I started I was told that I had to learn to "see".  Had trouble with that but it turned out to be so right.  I was to paint from life to learn to do that.  That meant plein air, still life and figure drawing and painting.  A number of challenges soon proved that I "thought I was seeing", but really I was "painting what I thought".  Took a lot of challenges and work to start to understand what Mother Nature was offering.  Been painting plein air in all seasons ever since.  It was years before I saw another plein air painter.

Today was a typical day at the office.  "You want to paint?" was all it took to get out the usuals.  Then we chose a spot and;

- found some shade

Like This

Sun Creep

- set up
- decided on what and how to paint 
- put down paint for an hour and a half max - light had changed to a new painting
- shut down and cleaned up
- had a chat about what we had done, why, and what we learned
- decided on next session

So simple.  So enjoyable.  So instructive.  

Now Plein Air has been taken to Event Status.  A totally different emphasis.  Some are connected to charities, some are learning oriented, some are invitational.  Most stroke the ego and get "paintings" shown with the chance of a sale.  Here are some central themes I see.

- organizations, presidents, vice presidents, and red tape
- memberships
- fees
- mugs, caps, flags
- permission by entry form
- contests
- "judges"
- prizes

I'll be out there as often as I can using the simple route.

Ruins of Belfountain, 11x14, Oil on Canvas, on Board