The Benefit of Painting en Plein Air

‘The End of September’            18×24           pastel        ©Karen Margulis

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I have been meaning to do this. Ever since Richard McKinley suggested I use my plein air studies for studio paintings. That was a few years ago during his Lake Tahoe workshop.  I really haven’t done much with that idea though. I usually come home from a trip or plein air outing and throw my paintings in a box.  Once I am home and wrapped up in everyday life I don’t take time to revisit these little studies.

I am missing out on one of the benefits of Plein air painting. Making use of the studies. These studies may not always be great or frame-able  but they do give you better information than a photo.

I discovered that my plein air studies shows the emotional response I had while studying the scene on location. Compare the photo of the scene and my plein air study below. Can you see the drama and feel the wind in the painting?  You can’t see that in the photo. When I look at the study I am reminded of the wind and the ever-changing drama in the sky. Now to recapture that drama in a studio painting!

 

Reference and Plein Air Study

I decided to use the plein air study for the demo painting I did last week for the Atlanta Artist’s Center. The demo painting is 18×24. I chose it for the demo because I am familiar with this place. I wouldn’t want to paint something totally new to me in front of a big group! Also the study made it simple to choose my palette.

The demo was a success. I got a lot of positive feedback and had a lot of fun with it. I don’t think I captured the wind in the big painting and I think it is partly because I was talking and painting at the same time so I wasn’t in the ‘wind zone’. Also it is different paper. I used wallis Belgian Mist for the study and Uart for the demo….so it seems much smoother.

I am not finished with this motif so I will try it again to see if I can capture the energy of the study. I am encouraged to work from my plein air studies more often. I just needed a reminder!

If you didn’t get to see my new YouTube video demo because the link wasn’t in the daily email here is the link    http://youtu.be/HJwX_3-Qg7o   I apologize for that. It seems the email subscriptions don’t pick up embedded links.

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2 Responses to The Benefit of Painting en Plein Air

  1. Carol Hopper says:

    I saw your You Tube ok yesterday. It plus the painting are really professional. You have so much about which to be proud.

    How I hate to paint outdoors, lugging all that equipment, but I do agree with you. The next best thing is to paint still life from life indoors and lit….which is my last five paintings. Do I love that? Not so much as I am an oil landscape painter.

  2. G. Arturo Leal says:

    Beautiful landscapes and high quality watercolors.

    Congratulations Karen. It is obvious your splendid dominion of
    this techinique.

    Regards. Arturo Leal.

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