I am an Extreme Plein Air Painter. What do I mean by that?! En Plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air”, and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors. The Extreme part means I paint outside in all types of weather, year round. I live in Canada, so yes, that means extreme cold. Why you might ask? I love nature. There is no place I’d rather be then outdoors painting on a beautiful, or not so beautiful day.
It is a challenge to paint outdoors. The light and weather are constantly changing. Yes, there are annoyances, such as bugs, sunburn, and unwanted pseudo art critiques who might wander by my easel, waxing eloquent on how my perspective is off, or in the worst case spit on the ground in disgust. Yes, this happened to me in my early years in Florence, Italy. His friend was kind and told me to keep painting. The painting was in the very early stages, so had no resemblance to the subject, but I digress.
It’s not easy, but it is extremely rewarding. You learn to work quickly. When painting en Plein Air, light and shadow are constantly changing. You can’t chase the light, you must make a decision on when to capture that one moment. The artist must always be aware of where the sun will be at any point during the day. Then again, you might be painting at night or on a cloud covered day where shadows are scarce. That’s when Plein air gets really interesting. What effect does the available light have on the scene?
You maybe a studio painter, and think that plein air is not for you, but the act of painting from life outdoors will improve your studio work. I must warn you that painting outdoors from life may just spoil you from ever painting from a photograph again. The experience becomes a memory not soon forgotten. There is no greater joy for me, then when I am able to paint outdoors, and introduce others to painting en Plein Air. I am blessed that I am able to share my passion for Plein Air with others through my group, The Windsor & Essex County Plein Air Aritsts. This group was founded by myself and a friend back in 2009.
I’ve been painting outdoors since the mid 90’s. I’ve been an artist since my childhood. I studied fine arts at the University of Windsor where I received my BFA in 2000.
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