Sunday, March 7, 2010
Definitely not a “plein” day… and not a fair weather day either. Local artist Alix Orton invited me to paint with her outside today. With paints in hand I hiked up the hill, happily to discover that she was working closer to my house than I thought we would be. At this point we were both laughing at the wind that was progressively picking up speed, and carrying off our materials piece by piece. However that did not stop us from thoroughly enjoying the moment with each other and the beautiful scene. We drew, painted, and chatted about art for close to 2 hours in the freezing gusts until finally the wind won and blew my palette across the desert into a small shrubby cactus. Barely able to maneuver our chairs and easels against the wind, we finally made it back to warmth…
A painting done outside rather than in a studio is called a “plein air” painting. The term comes from the French en plein air, meaning 'in the open air'. The Impressionists were particularly interested in the influence of changing light outdoors on color.