Saturday, April 19, 2014

Plein Air Painting

 “Painting is a means of self-enlightenment.” ~ John Olsen

We are all about the manias here at Casa Del Aguas. It's good to try new things.  Sometimes we get sucked in before we know it.

My plein air painting mania started a week ago when I went to Michael's with my mom. I picked up a box of oil paints. It was only five bucks. I wondered what it would be like to be one of those artists that goes out to beautiful places and paints nature. Outside. In the Big, Blue Room.

It's been a long time since I've worked with oils and painting outside seemed like a challenge. Somehow the box found its way into the cart, as well as a pack of cheap canvases. Ten canvases, that's a lot of little paintings.

My friend Bob had mentioned at our last studio group meeting that he had a portable easel that he didn't use anymore. (He prefers to draw with a board on his lap) He sold me this gorgeous beechwood easel for $35. It collapses into a compact suitcase. The brass knobs are very steampunk and I had to practice setting it up and taking it down for an hour before I was comfortable with it.

It was great fun outfitting the easel with paper towels, paints, some brushes and a pair of scissors. The inside is like a Japanese bento box, with nice, little compartments to keep everything tidy. I dug out my old brush wash container and filled it with turpentine. My palettes were all gunky so I used a paper plate instead.

After procrastinating for a whole morning, I finally got out the door. What if it didn't turn out? What if the painting was awful? What if the colors didn't go right? What if a million things? My adventure didn't start out well. The park where I'd planned to go was packed. Some big event was going on and every parking place was taken. I drove around for a half an hour before driving to another mesa.

Once I finally got set up the time flew by.

There are a few bits that need tweaking but all in all I'm not disappointed with it. I need to work on a lot of techniques, composition, foreground, middle and distance. Still, it was a delight to try something new and I can't wait to get out and try again.

Wishing you a happy Easter and a beautiful Spring,



“To practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow. So do it.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut


  1. Makes me want to go over the hill and see what is on the other did a really nice job.

    1. Thanks so much! (blushing)

      On the other side of the hill is my son's high school and a mile or so past that is the ocean. :-)

    2. This is lovely, certainly counts an official plein air, AND also 43rd World Wide SketchCrawl Day. We will consider it an oil *sketch.* I love the way you are TACKLING things.

  2. Hi Marilyn,
    So happy to see you going into the wild to paint. Lovely landscape sketch! It is a big challenge dealing with the elements. I'd like to join you sometime. Hugs, Linda

    1. Linda! Yes, let's go painting out of doors! That would be so cool!