Thursday, June 17, 2010

Plein Air Painting In the Rain at Scotsdale Farm

The mist and darkened sky over the vast hills and fields of Scotsdale Farm were punctuated with the hushed figures of six OPAS painters huddled under trees and umbrellas ready to paint. Strange, but what nature takes away in terms of colour and value on a rainy day, it gives back in aerial perspective and harmony. The subdued colours of the trees, sky and fields sing together in a grayed and blued dance.

Our paintings were interrupted by occasional downpour but all of us knew what we were getting into long before we slept the night before. We were determined to come away with, at the very least, some well earned experience. That, I know we all did.

I came out with a dud of a painting to be perfectly honest. Nothing about my sketch of the pond was worth while, but the experience and the understanding that I gained of the atmosphere of the day was worth every minute of it. Others were much more successful as you can see from the pictures in this post.

Every moment that we spend painting outdoors feeds our observation and expands our understanding. Not every paint-out will result in masterpieces for everyone, but every paint-out will be one step closer to another successful work.

The practice of plein air painting does not need to be cloaked with the mystique that seems to engulf it nowadays. It is simply the study of colours in nature and the act of painting or sketching within the environment. That is not to say it is easy. The senses are heightened and the bewilderment of colour, light and motion rakes havoc with ones senses, but the experience has no equal. I urge every artist who has been dwelling in their studios for the winter, to take their easels out - even to their back yard - and paint from nature. It is exhilarating.


  1. Zan, you have me wanting to run right out and paint in the glorious outdoors!

  2. Amen...I say, too - no mystery.
    Love painting in the fog and rain as long as I can keep my painting out of the rain...


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