Monday, November 24, 2008

Why Paint Plein Air

This was painted in a parking lot near a busy boat launch earlier this fall. Between my location and the scene were a railroad, a freeway, along with the busy boat launch. I worked on the ridgeline on location and roughed in the rest of the picture. Then the boat launch became busy as the boats started coming in from fishing. I went home and finished in the studio.

Below is a comment by one of my pastel painter friends. She lives in Sweden, and although we have never met in person we share a common passion for painting. Here is her comment:

Donna, it is so enjoyable, educative, and informative to see your PAs together with a photo of the spot. I learn so much about finding interesting views. Some spots look, well, bland, but the paintings you do of them are gorgeous!

Working plein air (PA) teaches me to paint what I feel, rather than copy nature. Painting from a photo tends to teach me to copy. While in nature you are surrounded by things, sounds, scents, and movement, the influences I am not able to experience from a photo. Then taking that experience back to the studio is the goal.

I would be interested to hear from other artists on the merits of plein air painting.


Adriana Meiss said...

Great painting! I have not done much outdoors painting, but when I do I'm always happy. The results aren't always good though, but I'm sure that with time and practice I'll learn to simplify.

Donna T said...

Beautiful painting, Donna! I think plein air painting is teaching me how to see. I am not yet at the stage where I can use the scene before me as reference and paint how the scene makes me feel ... but I'm headed in that direction. It must take some time to learn how to alter reality when reality is right in front of you!

Donna Van Tuyl said...

Thank you Adriana and Donna T for your response. I agree Donna about painting what you feel, that is is difficult. The first time I heard about painting a feeling, I thought about mood, but then I realized for me it is about feeling cold, or warm, or the breeze. Hearing the birds and the wind. I want to bring those feelings to a painting. Sometimes things have a moody feeling, but I am not interested in moody.