Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Plein Air

It is outdoor painting time again and the group , Men in Hats, is painting plein air every Tuesday, weather permitting. The group seems to be expanding and does include women although it just started with guys. The hats are a necessity in the sunlight. This is my first painting of the season and is the Bunkhouse at Britannia Shipyards, a heritage site.  I had a sketch of boats in my sketchbook but then I turned around and loved the shadows on the white building - so here is the result. Why plein air? There is nothing quite like the challenge of being there, having to zero in on a subject, work to get the lighting right and pretty well complete it on the spot.  Outdoor painting goes back to the impressionists who were freed from the studio because paints were available in portable tubes for the first time. This was also possibly a reaction against the industrial revolution which had changed living conditions so much. The artists wanted to get out into the outdoors and capture outdoor lighting. For quite some time now, plein air has been a bit on the back burner although there have always been some artists and groups of artists who have been active - literally  "in the field".  Now there is quite a revival with many major outdoor painting events and conferences. The theorists say it is a reaction against the technological revolution.  Whether it is or not, there is nothing quite so spirit-lifting as getting out there to paint. Here is to a summer of good weather on Tuesdays!

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