“Plein air” is a term artists use when they are going to paint outside or on location. Painting or drawing in the studio has always been my preference, not because I don’t like to be outdoors, but because subjects don’t move and the light stays constant.
Deep down, I am a coward. Attempts at drawing or painting on location have left me feeling humiliated. There is evidence proving my feelings are not skewed. People I’ve sketched tend to look like they just got out of rehab. I painted some men carrying a small boat and my dear husband said, “That guy is walking like his back hurts.” And he is right.
Last week, thinking four legs would surely be easier to paint than two, I sketched some neighborhood horses. Beautiful animals were turned into images that could have been used in “Animal Care Goes Wrong”.
People are excited to see an artist painting outdoors. They cannot help but be interested. They foolishly assume that holding a brush and standing at an easel gives me the ability to reproduce what is in front of me.
Brave individuals are accomplishing their dreams, writing about their journeys in their blogs. Because this is definitely an adventure, I have decided to paint and paint and paint outside all summer long, documenting my progress here. If I feel really brave, I shall begin to post images. I will begin by using my sketchbook because it is friendly and small. Then I will progress to quarter sheets of watercolor paper and my easel. For me, this is like driving a sports car then jumping into a semi. My goal is to gain confidence including people and animals in my paintings. I don’t want my future landscapes and cityscapes to look like a recent evacuation just occurred (or that the people are injured and on their way to a hospital).
If you happen to see me standing at my easel, sloshing paint about, please give a cheery wave. It will be most welcome!