Thursday, August 6, 2015

Plein Air painting: a joyful way to celebrate nature

"Plein Air" is French, meaning outside. Painting outdoors in the fresh air is something that I tried for the first time this summer. A friend invited me out, last month, to give it a try. As a result, I bought my own supplies and hit the trail at the Kentucky Bernheim Forest
Preserve, shifting into high gear. Outdoor painting was exactly the boost I needed to get out of the studio, out of a creative rut, and out of my house. 

The colors and lighting outside are bright. I used a lot of green colors, but I decided to spruce up the scene with more vivid colors making the flowers stand out. The thing I noticed is, that being a beginner, I would like to practice using more of a combination of vertical and horizontal elements in my paintings. I can paint different sections, not just right to left in lines of what I see.

Plein Air requires a mobile set up. I had to be sure to have paints, brushes, a tripod and an easel on hand that were easy to carry. Plus a water spray bottle to keep the acrylic paints wet, Both times, it was very very hot out, and I'm glad I brought drinks. And a sun visor.

It was remarkable to do a complete painting in one sitting over a couple of hours. And, the  term "sitting" is relative. The first time, out at Louisville's, The Woodlands, I brought a fold-up chair. The next time, I stood and fended off many small hovering little bees. Next time, I'll bring bug spray.

See you outside - 
The long and winding road, with some beautiful landscaping at Bernheim Forest.
Painting outdoors at The Woodlands near a pond. No bugs that day.