Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Earth Day! An En Plein Air Story.

One of my goals this year is to get out and paint on location more. I rarely paint outside.  I usually grab a few hours here and there while enjoying some vacation time in Maine. Add to that that I am not much of a landscape painter. Throw in sun, the shore, sweating, sunburn and bugs and well you have entered a world of hurt.

But it  can start well before that with the packing up of your gear.

I started out with a beautiful French easel. It was a splurge so pretty, and I felt just like Monet, but it weighed about 75 pounds. The next year I purchased very light folding easel with a cool little snap on shelf to hold my pastels. It looked great but blew over about 100 times. I added a bag of beach rocks to stabilize it. That was better.  By the time I gathered the stones and attached them, the light changed. My easel set up was little short for me so I had to make a drawing board attachment and figure out how to add it. Now that had to go in the bag with the easel, shelf, bag for rocks, hook to hang the bag, pastels, paper, tape, charcoal, wipes, sunscreen, water, a hat etc. My travel bag had become a giant monster.

I dragged that back and forth to Maine for about 5 years. Last year I had enough and treated myself to a little wooden thumb box for oils and this year I am putting together the smallest pastel kit I can. I think these changes will help me enjoy plein air panting more.

What is your approach to plein air painting?  

The Sea, pastel 8x10 en plein air