Monday, November 24, 2014

My First Plein Air Experience...and my only one.

While teaching a workshop this past weekend I mentioned the story of my one-and-only experience of plein air painting.  The response of my students was "You need to tell that story."  So here you can blame it on them.

Painting en plein air had been on my "to do" list for quite some time.  But needless to say, I wasn't going to do that in the middle of winter or when it's rainy or the conditions were very much less than perfect.  Well one day in early fall, it seemed right.  The rabbit brush were just about at the end of their beautiful color and I needed to hurry if I was going to paint them.  My inspiration was Clyde Aspevig's beautiful work.  He is one of my all-time favorite living painters and he did a beautiful one of rabbit brush.

So loading all my paraphernalia, I headed out to the spot I had scoped out earlier.  It was mid afternoon and the heat was approaching 100 degrees.  I parked the car and set up in front of a nice view, spread out my paints on the pallet, and started painting.  Before long the sweat was dripping down my back and I had a bad case of "hat-head."  Because I'm a slow and deliberate painter, I could barely keep up with the changing light.  Very frustrating! Then the wind came up and blew my paper pallet ladened with paint creating a huge mess.  I was covered with paint from head to toe...big globs of paint, not little smudges.  But I persevered until the legs of my easel began to telescope back inside themselves and the height of my easel would have worked well for a "little person."  With that, I decided to call it a day.  So at least I can say, "I did it."  And here's what I got...

My inspiration: Clyde Aspevig's Painting
My first attempt at plein air painting
The rest of the story...At Saturday's workshop, I was reminded by my own class material of what Clyde Aspevig said about his plein air work.  At the end of a week of teaching in France, he only chose to show 10% of his work.  The rest he considered to be "dogs that he wouldn't let out of the kennel."