It has been a long winter. Not a particularly hard winter, but long. Getting outside to paint this winter has not been possible. The leg has slowed me down some as it seems to want more time to heal.
Plein air painting is a very important part of my process and suddenly the thought about the connection to the land came to mind. Painting from screens or paper photo's can not be the same as painting directly from the land. The epiphany that hit me was in comparing different activities with the idea of watching these same activities on a screen, or on YouTube.
For example, is it the same to ride a horse through the sagebrush or watch someone else ride on a TV screen? I would say that the actual ride is going to give you more satisfaction. The sounds, the clip clop of hooves, the feel and sway of the ride, the smells of sage. I can imagine those things, or merely watch it on a screen, but there is nothing like the actual experience, the actual smells, and the personality of the horse. It is one of life's most satisfying pleasures.
Such is plein air painting. There are sounds and smells that go beyond the mere screen. The air flowing around me as I stand stationary. The sudden surprise of hawks, or Osprey gliding by. These things cannot be reproduced on a mere screen, but they can be a huge influence in a painting. To include these surprises is one of the great pleasures of plein air. Plein air is not about the completed painting, it is about the experience. It is about getting away from the screen and into the land. It is about the smell of sage, the clip clop of hooves, and even the buzz of insects, all of the things that cannot be recorded in a photo, or successfully felt on a screen.
This week I am going to get out there.