Thursday, September 12, 2013

You Drive that Far to just Paint Trees??

Went to dinner with an artist friend of mine last night. She doesn't get to paint as much as she'd like based mostly on lack of motivation and self-doubt. While she has done plein air painting in the past, she made a comment which I feel I need to speak about, especially to those who are not artists and wonder why I bother to get up early on my day off to go painting outside.....

She wondered why my group bothers to drive 50 miles away to paint, when most of us just paint trees and fields which we can paint in our own backyard?

My answer is that I do not paint plein air for the resulting painting - I paint plein air for the whole experience. I greatly enjoy being out in nature - feeling the breeze, bugs, smells. Finding a nice shadow that appeals to me that makes me want to capture that moment.... I enjoy the comradery of traveling with my friends to our painting site, our banter between the easels, or painting in a solitary corner in silence.

The resulting painting is just a trinket of the day - a souvenir  - I can look back later at the piece and remember where it was painted, who was there that day, etc... I am never 100% happy with the paintings, but I can look back at some of these done in plein air and see how my skills have progressed this summer. That is why I try to post all my paintings, not just the 'winners'. We all paint failures, but most artists online only post their best.

I think it is important to let people see, it is not easy. Art takes lots of time, expense and sweat/tears. Even if I paint a nice painting in one morning, it is the accumulation of my life experience that makes it worthy of a fair price.

Practice is important and when you can combine it with a pleasant Saturday morning with friends - it doesn't get much better than that..... 

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