To paint en plein air—the French expression for “in the open air”
I recently returned from a plein air painting workshop in the flint hills of Kansas. Beautiful place! Kim Casebeer was the instructor. A fantastic teacher, very knowledgeable, open, and sharing and not to mention a fabulous artist, check her work out online www.kimcasebeer.com !
Upon returning, I’ve been trying to make it a point to get out and continue to practice. So, I’ve been caught painting a sunrise before work, painting on my lunch break, and trying to sneak out and paint a bit of an evening. Yep, I’ve been painting En Plein Air……I like to use that term instead of saying I’m painting outdoors or on location because it makes me feel all sophisticated and stuff!
I have to admit there’s something about getting outside, breathing the fresh air, listening to the birds sing, setting up my easel and just sinking into painting. I say, sinking into it because I really do not pay attention to much else as I’m painting. Case in point, I was set up and painting the fields on parents’ farm and was pretty pleased with the way things were going and decided to step back to be sure. I hear movement behind me and hear breathing of something rather large. Do I turn around? Sure, why not, I mean, I’m armed with paintbrushes and paper towels! I turn around to see a big, round, furry…..horse head staring down my process. My horse, Murdock….aka Doc, decided to stop by and inspect my work. Shortly thereafter, he was joined by my daughter’s horse Dixie, and my mom’s mighty steed, Ace. They milled around for a bit, watched, bummed a scratch under the chin and on the rump and then went about their merry way. Ya can’t get that in a studio!!
Seriously, it’s been challenging to get out and paint but the rewards are great. I can tell, I’m loosening up in my work, focusing more on drawing, paying more attention to values, trying harder to mix correct color, and working faster. Look forward to sharing more Plein Air adventures!!