What is Plein Air Painting?

Get out of the studio

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In the late 1800's Claude Monet discovered that he could paint outdoors because paint was now available in tubes.  What a great invention!

Chasing the light

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A plein air artist is always looking at the effect of light on a subject.  As the light moves, so do the shadows! This requires quick decisions as to what is important.  No putsing, allowed!

Have paintbrush will travel!

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Plein air painting is a way to record impressions of the world as you travel.  Instead of souvenirs, a painting provides an impression of the beauty of the world , and what things have "spoken" to me as I travel.

Plein air events

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The popularity of plein air painting, has launched countless plein air events to pop up all around the United States and the world.  Artists travel around the country and compete in these events. The public is invited to watch the artists paint and experience what the artist sees while painting.

A win, win for everyone!

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Purchasing a painting that you watched an artist paint, provides a lasting impression of the subject.  People tend to purchase art that provides a memory of place, or experience that has impacted them.

Urban sketching.

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Another phenomena that has become popular is urban sketching.  Groups of artist post events on facebook and artists meet with their sketching materials and paint what speaks to them.  This is another great way to get out of the studio and to learn to make quick observations, a precursor to plein air painting.