Plein air with friends

Moods of Wilder Ranch, by frankeber 2012       

Outdoor painting is definitely one of the pleasures of being an artist! Not many people do it nowadays, the comfort of the studio is just too much to resist. They are missing out!
There is no substitute for the direct interaction between you and the subject matter. Sure, it’s possible to do more elaborate, bigger and more involved work in the studio. But oftentimes it’s the small and spontaneous paintings that people like the most, especially when it comes to watercolor painting!

Unfortunately, going outside and setting up oftentimes comes with adversity. While painting at Davenport, we went to a cliff side (see third image) to get a good view onto the ocean and the Torey pines in the background. We did pass a ‘no trespassing’ sign, clearly there to prevent people from taking a 100ft fall onto the beach below. There was a guy in a fruit stand selling his wares at the side of the road and sure enough, he called us in! Minutes later, one of the two (!) employees of the decommissioned concrete factory came over and wanted us to leave. As it turns out, it is part of their property. It took quite a bit of persuading but eventually, he let us stay for another hour! Talking about pressure to finish your piece!! In the end they were cool, he never came back and we stayed on for much longer.

One of the best tips for painting outside is looking for something manageable. If everything looks too much or too intimidating, pick a detail view of something you like and just do that. It doesn’t always have to be an overview. It takes a bit of experience to pick the right subject matter, but if you persist I guarantee you the rewards are plenty!

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8 thoughts on “Plein air with friends

  1. Sherry Schmidt

    Love this post Frank! I’m getting better at choosing the right subject but I should try your advice to pick a detail. I see you added an impromptu sun or wind block in the 3rd. photo?

  2. Carol King

    Dear Frank, Although my motto is “Outside begins with OW!”, since I recently did some plein air sketching, I have to admit it was fun. I can see why you like it. And of course your painting is awesome.

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