Monday, December 01, 2008

My Brief Foray into Plein Aire

This past weekend Michael and I had the pleasure of horse sitting at our friends' beautiful little farm here in Ocala. Two retired thoroughbred runners take up chief residence, along with cats, myriad birds, squirrels and raccoons, all of which we were most willingly required to attend to.

Several plein aire artists comprise my salon group, Out of Hand Artists. These painters are fully engaged in the activities of landscape painting - jurying into exhibits, winning countless awards, participating in paint outs, etc. So, to a studio painter such as myself, this is a major curiosity. Am I tempted to test the waters? Indeed, but with utmost respect and reverence to my peers.

I packed up my gear to participate after a morning feed. Standing on a three foot tall wash rack overlooking the horse's day paddock, I dove in. First, I realized that I hadn't applied a ground to the canvas paper I chose as support. Glaring white beamed back at me. Second, I realized I had forgotten my Liquin - no medium other than turps to use.

Working quickly, I covered the canvas paper with a neutral tone. Horses are awful models, and as rapidly as I sketched them, they rapidly moved about. I tried to paint them from memory, however, their continuous movement was such a distraction that my canvas paper quickly turned into a muddy mess.

There is a love/hate thing going on between these two horses who are half brothers. Oh, and did I mention the light that changed drastically every five minutes?

ocala thoroughbred horse farmPlein aire painting (sort of) oil on canvas paper, 8.5"x 5.5"

I admit that I worked on the horses back in the studio. They stood statue still on the easel.

"Do console your poor friend, who is so troubled to see his paintings so miserable, so sad, next to the radiant nature he has before his eyes"! - Jean Baptiste Camille Corot


Anonymous said...

Courageous and well done. It's an intimidating process to paint outside.
Easier to muck out a stall.

Sharon Crute said...

Bonnie: I agree, however, the "other" outdoor activities (mucking stalls) would be easy if my joints could hold up these days...

Nancy Moskovitz said...

Well, I'm impressed!