Archive for Thursday, September 22, 2011

Painting in the open air

September 22, 2011

Have any of you ever heard of “Plein Air” painting? It is French for “in the open air,” and when you drive around beautiful places and see an artist all set up with his paints and easel, comfortably propped up on a tall stool, looking at a beautiful lady in a big hat posing very rigidly, and a scenic mountain or tree in the background, “Plein Air” painting is what you are seeing.

Through the centuries, artists have painted outdoors. In the late 1880s it was much easier for the artists when someone invented cute little tubes to hold different colors of oil paint. Before that they had to grind pigment paints with linseed oil and mix it on the spot. In that same period of time, the box easel was invented. It had telescopic legs and a built-in paint and palate box.

There are many advantages to painting outdoors. The natural sunlight and colors are vibrant and the scenes are so variable. The disadvantage could be wind and weather, plus a beautiful cloud can change completely in a matter of minutes. This is where a digital camera comes in handy. I had the opportunity to do this a few weeks ago when our artists’ group went to the Holy Field Vineyard, and it was a fantastic experience.

If you want to see one of these artists in action, I will be painting “Plein Air” with my Monet French Easel at the Barn Grand Opening and Fall Festival this Saturday, Sept. 24, and Sunday, Sept. 25. This is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Lamborn Farm, 25761 151st St., Leavenworth, 1.5 miles west of Lansing Sonic and off 4-H Road. The pumpkin patch is waiting.

I also have to mention “Autumn in the Grove” on Oct. 8. There is an artist’s booth in the northwest corner, and I will be there too, painting out in the lovely open air. We are hoping for good weather and a big crowd. Come and join the fun.

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