Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Talking About Plein Air

A few days ago, I was invited by the Gulf Breeze Arts Association to speak to their members about plein air painting. Most of these enthusiastic artists had never painted en plein air. My job was to talk to them about how to get started.

 I showed the group the difference between a studio painting and works painted outdoors. After talking briefly about the history of plein air painting, I compared historic approaches of working outdoors, to the current debates concerning whether a plein air painting needs to be completed in one go and without revision

talking about why I don't recommend this plein air umbrella
 I brought examples of my own work, demonstrating that the reasons for painting a plein air piece can vary. Some  were 1 hour quick studies painted to understand a painting problem or to gather information. Others I'd painted by returning to the same place several times. Still others I had started outdoors and then finished in the studio.

Next I talked about the options for field easels, color choices, and the little extras like water, sunscreen and bug repellent that are so necessary for outdoor painting in Florida.

tools of the trade
On April 5th, we'll put it all together in a 4 hour Getting Started in Plein Air workshop. If you're in the Pensacola area and would like to join in, contact me for information.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

A Once in a Lifetime Storm

On Friday three days after the ice storm, ice still coated the shady sides of the streets. I've never heard such a deep silence in Gulf Breeze as there was the day after the storm. Roads, bridges, schools and businesses were closed for more than two days. Long time residents said they'd never seen  the spectacle of ice encased pine boughs and crepe myrtles on the coast. Crystals of ice accumulated on the ground creating the appearance of a dusting of snow. Road salt isn't stocked in a place that never needs it. Streets and sidewalks were so slick that it was easier to slide along them as if on skates than to try to walk.

Palmettos in ice
By Friday, most of it was over and the local plein air group came out to paint along the waterfront. Though it was early afternoon, a sunset colored fog was rolling in from across the Gulf of Mexico. Here is my sketch of Pensacola Bay looking across toward the Gulf. 

Into the Gulf - oil - 7x16

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