Friday, August 26, 2011

En plein air

I've just returned from a plein air session, the first in quite a while.  En plein air is French phrase for "in the open air".  Painting outside instead of in the studio is a fairly recent concept in the art world.  Prior to the invention of pre-mixed paint in a tube in 1841, artists had to make their own paints by grinding down pigments and mixing them with linseed oil.  Pre-mixed paint in a resealable tube freed artists to paint where ever they pleased and lead to a creative boom in the mid 19th century known as Impressionism.

It is a bit of a chore though, having to haul paint and canvas and palette and easel and stand in the sun hoping the light doesn't change to quickly.  I don't do it to often except in the vicinity of my own home.  However, in October there will be a joint plein air show with the Preble County Art Association and the Preble County Historical Society.  It's a plein air show, with all works to be painted at the PCHS site.  They have a lovely property with flower gardens, and old barn and house and a restored log cabin.  A wetland was created a few years ago, attracting all sorts of birds and encouraging wildflowers.

This morning a friend and I went to work on our paintings for the show.  She was much braver than me, working in watercolor, a medium I have never been comfortable with.  I stuck with my trusty pastels.  We'll have to schedule a time to get back though, as neither of us finished today.  And I saw a few more good painting spots I'll have to try.

As an aside, I have been working on an oil for Sacred Spaces, but it isn't quite done yet.    I have to finish it soon, or it won't b dry enough for the show!  It will be posted when ready.


  1. There is more info on the event at

  2. Oops, I should have posted that link too. Thanks Erin! Dinner, by the way, features a ridiculous amount of homemade food...