Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Plein Aire Painting - Or - Why I am a Studio Painter...

Don't get me wrong - I love the idea of plein aire painting!  Taking your paints outside, painting the landscape in natural light, feeling the breeze and warmth that you are trying to convey with paint...  and I have seen some incredible plein aire paintings, too.  Beautiful!

So, today I decided to go have a little plein aire fun - and I had my checklist here to make sure I didn't forget anything -
  • I had my sun screen (number one recommendation from a friend!)
  • I made sure that I knew where I was going and what it would be like when I got there.  Things like drinking water and restrooms are important to me...
  • I wore comfortable clothes that I could splash paint on and not regret the mess later.  (a good thing!)
  • I didn't take an easel or a camp stool, but I often work on my lap and I knew that there would be something I could sit on when I got there.
  • I took my camera with me so that I could take some reference shots in case I needed to finish up my painting later (which I do need to do!)  You never know - you might also miss a great shot for another painting that you could do at home, too! (and I did get some great shots for future paintings!)
  • I didn't expect to do a large painting - I know that lighting changes quickly outside.
  • I had an adequate container for my supplies that was easy to carry and still left me with one hand free.
  • I kept my supplies simple - just watercolor pencils, a sharpie, and watercolor paper. Oh, and a brush - a really cool one that holds water inside it's handle.  That way I didn't have to take a brush, a cup and water with me to use with the watercolor pencils.

Ummm....  I forgot the bug repellant...  fortunately nothing carried me off.

I forgot my rag, but I used my shirt.  I only needed to dab a little spot.  Well, that's all you can 'dab' on an ACEO since they are only 2.5 x 3.5 inches.

Yeah, I know - I'm really adventurous ;-)

The only problem I had was keeping Bailey off my lap... 
Ummmm...  where did I go?   and who is Bailey? 

Weeeellll...  I went here  --->

Yeah...  Pretty adventurous! *roflol* it's my neighbor's garden.  I was playing with my watercolor pencils while I was watering - and trying to keep her red heeler, Bailey, off my lap at the same time. 

*laughs* grueling, huh?!  Sitting on the swing under the shade tree with the dogs and painting while the water runs and the birds sing.  It was fun - and another chance to use a few little minutes to create some artwork.

Seriously (no really!)  Seriously, you don't need to take a hike up the mountain with all your gear to enjoy the fun of plein aire painting.  Something as simple as sitting on your porch with your sketch book can fill you with lots of inspiring ideas.

And you can walk inside to get the bug repellant.

Happy creating!

PS  If you do decide to go hike that mountain, don't forget to take plenty of water, fill your car's gas tank up before you go, grab your fully charged cell phone, and let someone know where you are going and when you plan to be back!

What tips would you add for my next real plein aire adventure?







  1. lol what an adventure. And it still turned out awesome for having a dog in you lap and sitting on a swing! It is beautiful!

  2. Love your painting, and I agree that outside anywhere is a great place to do art. The only thing I would add for your "real" plein aire adventure is some kind of snack, just in case.

  3. You are truly adventurous!

    Love that little painting.

    Next trip? I agree with Marlene. FOOD!

  4. Love the painting! And where do you get that brush that holds water?! I WANT one! (It would be great for my one face-painting gig, I do believe.)

    My one tip: Next time, take me with you, lol!

  5. For you, I would recommend chocolate for the next adventure. I have an antique hand crank sewing machine, so I can do some sewing en plein aire - with the requisite dog and cat help, of course! I love the painting!

  6. Thanks, Pam - I'm an expert at dog hair removal =p

    Marlene - Oh, snack - yes! great idea :)

    Lee - love all the votes for food - yep, adding that to the list!

    Ani - I'll meet you under the trees ;-) Here's a link to a set of watercolor crayons and a brush that I have.

    And here are some brushes by themselves which I also have -

    Both work great - have fun!

    I am pushing it to balance the painting on my lap - lol - leaving the sewing machine to you to balance! hehe! mmmm.... peanut m&ms .....

    Thanks everyone - glad you liked the little painting - it is almost finished =)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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