Christine Beirne: Plein Air Painting is Not for the Fainthearted!

by | Aug 16, 2022

I recently went on a painting trip to the high Sierra’s. I planned to paint plein air as well as explore other techniques in my motorhome. Before I left, some well-meaning friends said things like: have fun! Enjoy! How I envy you!

And yes, plein air painting is fun… but it’s also work and it is definitely not a Disney film. LOL

For example: my 1st day. Found a great area by the North Yuba River. The only problem was it was very rocky and difficult to find a spot where I could be very stable. I also didn’t want to be in the way of people that wanted to come down and swim. Another issue with plein air painting – is you want to face the direction for that will get you a nice contrast.
So… I was all set up and had my basic shapes laid out and colors. The wind was building up slightly and I turned around to use my backpack as an anchor and my set-up blew over.

Do you see my shoes and socks? Well… A couple of things went in the river and I slipped and fell right on my tailbone and soaked my shoes and socks.

So, like a good plein air painter, I painted the rest of the morning barefoot on this nice rock. Where’s the finished painting you ask? Well… the light changed dramatically (another challenge for painting plein air!)  before I finished and I moved locations the next day – so will end up being a studio painting.

I won’t even go into crashing and burning on my bike… I told my husband when I got back home that I looked as if I had been beaten up!

So, the next time you see an artist plein-air painting – realize they are fighting the elements, the bugs, the heat, the cold, the wind… all to create a painting!

 

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