Tuesday, October 26, 2010

En Plein Err'd

Acadia Rocks--En Plein Air

Every year I make the same New Year's Resolution:  Take up smoking, and drink more.  That, and also to do more Plein Air painting.  Plein Air is french for "Making a complete mess of a painting outside".  Or something like that.  All I know is, Plein Air is THE thing to do in the Art World right now.  There are support groups, magazines and special shows all geared for the outdoor painter.  Here in Maine, where if you shake a tree an artist falls out, you can't step out your door without knocking over a Plein Air painter with their fancy little easels.

I couldn't really work on my studio painting today because it's still too wet.  Now, I know there are a whole lot of painters who only work on wet paintings, but I'm not one of them.  I let my layers of paint dry, then apply another thin coat of paint.  And let that dry.  And put on another thin coat of paint.  And let that dry...  Get it?  It's called glazing, and I feel it gives my colors a little more luminosity.  But it is rather laborious and time consuming.  I have to admit, putting on the right color right off the bat does have its appeal.  So doing a one-shot look and paint it type of picture is not easy for me.

I was walking my dog Champ this morning out in my hay field when I thought I'd paint this:

This old one room schoolhouse is now a private residence, and is my next-door neighbor.  I thought the cloudy sky and the shadow of the school set off the autumn colors of the trees nicely.  So I grabbed my French Easel and set up.  In about two and a half hours I did this this 12X16:

(Please excuse the poor photo job, I took this in bad light)

I think you can see why I paint indoors, but hey, it's a start.  I plan on tightening and tweaking this up a bit in the studio.  I think I can turn this into a decent little painting.

Every year I participate in the Cape Elizabeth Land Trust paint-out and art auction.  It's a charity event for a good cause.  They want to buy up land to keep the area around all the gazillion-dollar waterfront mansions looking rural.   So I do my little part.  Here was the location I painted last year:

And the resultant painting:

Truth is, I'll never be a true Plein Air painter.  I like the creature comforts of the studio too much.  I do plan on using more out door work to better help my indoor paintings.  I want to rely on my visual skills more and photos less.  Hey, I'll do anything if it'll help my painting.  Even keep New Year's Resolutions!

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