The Reluctant “Plein Air” Painter

Posted by on Nov 4, 2013 in Blog | Comments Off

The Reluctant “Plein air” Painter

 I have friends who “plein air” paint.   Indeed, I myself have, in the past, done a couple of paintings outside.  But, I didn’t like it!  I am a studio artist.  No thank you!  The cold, rain, wind, dirt!  Why would I subject myself to that?

So I stuck to my studio.  I dabbled in other mediums other than Pastel and other methods both with Pastel and acrylic, stretching myself, learning and growing.

But you don’t invite a friend into the studio and I really like people and wanted to mix with other artists.  Everywhere I turned “plein air” came up, it was rampant.  There were competitions, and stories in art magazines like the Pastel Journal, and American Artist.

Well that’s fine, but I’m a studio artist.

But, darn it, look how many competitions are out there for the “plein air” painter.

“Ok, ok, I’ll go out a couple of times to reconnect with my old friends,” says I.  And that’s exactly what I did in 2012, a “couple of times”.  My friends dashed off some beautiful complete paintings while mine went right in the round file!

Now my Irish dander was up!  Well, I’m not really Irish, but you know what I mean.  What is wrong with me!  I have been painting for 20 plus year, I can do this.  So- new goal for 2013-“plein air” painting.

I joined the Plein Air Painters of Washington and joined them on a yearlong painting of Washington State Parks for the Parks’ centennial celebration.  All that painting culminated in a show of Washington State Parks in all media at American Art Company in Tacoma WA.  I, unfortunately, did not get in the show, a great disappointment to me.  However; you should check it out. The show run through Dec. 31.  There are some fabulous “plein air” and studio paintings of the State Parks.

What I did accomplish is 28 “plein air” paintings and I was in two “plein air” shows!  Perhaps you came to see me at Crow Valley Pottery  on Orcas Island, WA, and/or at the Seaside Gallery in La Conner, WA.  If not, perhaps we need to communicate a little better.  They were both great shows!

More important was how my art grew.  It turns out that doing a painting in two to three hours (before the light changes) makes you simplify and paint only what is important to a good painting.  Who knew?  That translates into better paintings in the studio as well.

Does that mean I’m now a “plein air” painter?  Yes, and no.  Yes, “plein air” is definitely part of my art routine.  I will be out there again in 2014.  Then again, No.  I still consider myself a studio artist, because I like to go beyond what you see in front of you.

What about all those “plein air” paintings I did?  Watch for upcoming shows.  I can’t wait to show them to you!

To learn more about “plein air” painting, check out the Plein Air Magazine.


Sailing the San Juans-Lime Kiln State Park                                                               Sailing The San Juans        2013 “en plein air” painting