Confessions of a Plein Air Artist

Oh, my dear drafting stool sits abandoned and waiting patiently for me, the artist, along with it's sturdy and lunky easel companion for another 5 months. Oh dear stool and easel, if only you had the grand opportunity to go out to paint outdoors with me, but you are big, very big and awkward to handle... and you are too heavy to be hauled to a place far away from the studio, so far away that you may feel a bit homesick at times.  Perhaps you may not like the bright sun, or the songbirds, or the occasional bug kissing your painting, or the quiet breeze and the occasional cow paddy accompanied by a potty stop in the shrubs. Oh, dear easel and stool, if you could just go out a few times and feel the joy it brings to so many artists, then you would understand my absence.

The plein air season is finally here and will be marked by the opening statements of Plein Air Magazine Publisher, Eric Rhodes at the Plein Air Convention in Monterey, CA. this coming April 10th. I am looking forward to return again to learn, observe the masters, to make new connections and reconnections and to come home exhausted, yet full of fuel to blast me forward into the season. 

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Spring Wear, 10x8, Yosemite, and PAE!

"Spring Wear", 10x8" Oil  Sold

The plein air season has begun here in Oregon; that is, whenever we get an occasional dry day. It's even better if there are blue clouds above, if you can imagine that in Portland. There have been a few days when I've gone out with full intentions to paint and then end up leaving with a camera full of images only to paint in the studio for the day. "Spring Wear", above, is one of those painting days.  The inspiring image was taken from a stroll down the trendy boutique blocks of NW 23rd.

I've been busy as usual, happily readying for upcoming trips, painting a few paintings, entering shows, traveling, and composing my Studio Updates newsletter.  Fortunately for me, my husband is home on sabbatical and that has helped tremendously, allowing me to get quality work done with a lot less rush. We took a trip to Yosemite for Spring Break last week with the kids and I had a couple of opportunities to paint the amazing landscape. The weather was cooperative for late March which allowed us to access most of the park. Imagine breathing the fresh air after a rainfall, seeing wild poppies in bloom, hiking amongst the Giant Redwood trees, walking under a solid vertical piece of granite that measures 10 football fields high, and feeling the mist from giant Yosemite Falls upon your skin. Yes, Yosemite was breathtaking! I highly recommend that every artist go there to paint at least once in a lifetime.  Here are two plein air paintings I painted in the park:

Half Dome", 8x10" Oil

 "Tunnel View", 8x10"  Oil

One Happy Camper

Upon my return from Yosemite, I was greeted with an acceptance letter to participate in Plein Air Easton!  Can you say "happy artist dance"? Some artists call it the "Ironman" of plein air events because of grueling hot and humid weather conditions, fierce competition amongst top plein air artists, and oooh sooo lavish parties. I can't wait.  To get an idea of what Plein Air Easton! is all about, click the logo below for the calender of events.

"Summer Lake" 10x8" Pastel

Today I went out with a few other artists to paint in a local park called "Summer Lake".  I have to get my act together for the upcoming Plein Air convention, so I went for a test drive with my pastels, which have been practically abandoned since my introduction to oils. I was wildly surprised that I hadn't lost my mojo with what I was able to accomplish in a little more than 1 hour.  I'd say it was a good day. How was yours?

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