The Art of Plein Air


A year ago today I left for Italy on a 3 week trip to explore the art and culture of this amazing country. Feeling the intensity of light, the sensuous smells and fragility of this ancient landscape made me glad I was a painter.

Most of my large format paintings are done in the studio. But the richness of the essence of that painting originates out in the environment, or painting “en plein air”. Occasionally I pack up my travel paints, a few brushes and several small canvases and head for a field somewhere. There, I choose what excites me, where the light will travel, where the color resides. I paint for hours at a time in total relaxation, oblivious to the fact whether or not my painting will succeed. What I learn out in nature is my source of inspiration. I can truly see the color of the sky fading from an intense blue to a soft lavender as it meets the chartreuse horizon of spring.

If you’ve never painted outside, or haven’t done so in years, pack up your paints and your senses and do it today.