En Plein Air

Assignment:  “En Plein Air” (in the open air)

“Plein Air” painting takes place outdoors and endeavors to capture light and color accurately in the location in which one is painting.  It is painting from life out of doors.  It was used by the Impressionists to capture the effects of sunlight at different times of day.

Some points to consider:

  • Don’t paint everything you see, be selective
  • Paint small, perhaps 8 X 10
  • Use a view finder (small cardboard with cutout, similar to a camera view) to establish a subject and boundries
  • Focus on what you see rather than what you know
  • A Jullian or traveling easel is helpful but you can use a propped board
  • Scout out a locate  in advance, consider a spot, perhaps with a distant view (local park, estate garden, etc)
  • Paint o e scene for only a couple of hours (preferably no longer than 1 hour).  The light, color, and shadows will all change during the day
  • Put down main shapes first to simplify;  sky, land, trees, etc.
  • Try to set up in the shade and out of wind
  • Think about how to transport your paintings ahead of time:  clips or push pins can be bought to separate multiples
  • If you don’t like spectators, set up with back to wall and respond to inquiries by saying that you are limited on time and can’t talk
  • Dress in layers to be comfortable.  Be aware that the color clothing you wear may reflect off of your painting
  • Bring water to drink, snack, bug repellent, sunscreen, hat, etc
  • Use camera to record scene just in case you want reference to the subject in the studio
  • Bring supplies, trash bag, a checklist can be found at  painting.about.com/library/weekly/aapleinairchecklist.htm
En Plein Air Painting Chattahoochee National Forest by Ginger Dean

En Plein Air Painting “Suches AreaNational Forest” by Ginger Dean