Plein air...short for en plein aire...briefly means take your painting gear outside and paint what you see and feel. It can be a bit intimidating as you begin to gather the things you think you need and the realize, uh oh, this weighs about 300 pounds. So you choose to leave behind half or more, make sure to have your "essentials" (which reminds me of the time we went camping and I remembered absolutely everything except the tent poles...) I bought myself an awesome new "essential" last week: BestBrella, the queen of painters' umbrellas. It attaches to the tripod, shades the palette, and PROMISES not to take your easel and painting parasailing.
So, we are in Mexico and have found a lovely little rocky beach that I want to paint. The wind is a tad strong but we should be protected by the boulders and hillside. After a short bus ride, on which I bash my clunky bags against the door, the seat bars, but fortunately not any people, we head down to the little beach. The wind does not seem to be abating. Hmmm.
How I wish we had remembered to bring a camera, for I feel certain we were a sight to behold: me setting up the tripod in the damp sand, wedging it between a log and a rock, my good spouse handing things to me in proper order so they wouldn't become airborne.
I commence to paint. Hahaha! With one hand gripping my easel, both feet getting wet from the occasional sneaky wave, I (singlehandedly) squirt and mix paint, slap it on the canvas, try to recite in my little head all the wisdom I've learned from my teachers: simple shapes, pleasing composition, value relationships, meaningful paint strokes. The wind blew. The wind gusted. Even the frigate birds could not handle these currents.
I soldiered on for about 30 minutes before throwing up my hands (figuratively of course) and packing it in. It was an excellent experience in painting from the heart with speed and intention.
Back at the condo I spent another 30 minutes adding some highlights and color corrections:
The BestBrella? She functioned fairly well for a minute or two, swiveling gamely in the wind and then flipped inside out and heaped humiliations galore on our brave, brief adventure.
Hello! My name is Wendy and I am passionate about oil painting! Whether in the studio or out in Mother Nature, I get lost in the experience of capturing on canvas the moment and the feel of what I am painting. I pour my love and energy into every single piece of artwork and I hope it shows! This blog is a place where I can use words to talk about art, painting, life, faith, things that make me laugh, and things that inspire. I love every response, so don't be shy about leaving a comment...