The life of a woman artist hitting her stride!

Outdoor Painting Adventures/PleinAir

Some of the outdoor paintings from the most excellent adventures.

Valley of Caves, along the Kolob Reservoir Road, May 29, 2012.

Barracks Canyon, Mount Carmel, June 5, 2012.

North side of Zion National Park, on a ledge a ways from Kolob Reservoir Road, June 29, 2012.

Along that same Kolob Reservoir Road on the way to Zion National Park, July 3, 2012.

The Most Excellent Adventure Continued . . .

When the wind blows . . . at Bryce Canyon, holding onto everything with one hand and painting with the other.

Then there are onlookers and curious questions on a public walkway. Brave artists go for the view rather than the natural tendency to hide.

Taking your daughter along on a painting excursion to see the magnificent views you get to see. AND feeling the wind on the ledge.

Of course there is that interval of painting (from 45 minutes to 3 hours) that requires some alternative activity to pass the time. Smart girl. She brought some reading material.

Speaking of WIND. A common mishap in outdoor painting is having the wind grab your painting panel and throw it carelessly onto your palette and into your globs of paint. This time the paint hit the back of the panel. A near miss.

Then there was the time we got lost. Thankfully we had cell phone reception and called someone who knew where we were and directed us out.

Painting INSIDE a slot canyon . . . cold.

Painting OUTSIDE a slot canyon . . . hot.

And speaking of HOT. How do you cool down enough to paint? Here’s an idea.

“Did a run-away horse come through here?” Really, you would never get that question in the studio. And suddenly you also have a piece of photo reference for horse and rider.

If you have phone reception you are never away from the kids! “Where are you mom?”

The Most Excellent Adventure of Painting Outdoors

Often referred to as Plein Air painting, painting outdoors is always an adventure. The act of making art is, in and of itself, a piece of work: where to begin, which stroke next, what color, aargh-the model moved, etc. Painting outdoors intensifies the work load with heat, cold, wind, ants, gnats, mosquitoes, aargh-the light moved, etc. I was asked recently by a fellow artist, who paints exclusively in the studio, WHY I even want to paint outdoors. Two main reasons came to mind: 1. I love being out in the landscape. It’s a way to go camping for a moment (smell the trees, feel the wind, walk on dirt and rocks) without the work of setting up and taking down a full campsite, food preparation in the wild, and going to an uncomfortable bed dirty. 2. Seeing the landscape with my own eyes. There is dimension and color (especially in the shadows) that is lost in the translation from life to photos. I do use photos, of course, as reference to paint later in the studio. I am grateful for what is captured and disappointed with what is lost. Paintings I have done outdoors, or started outdoors, or had a small outdoor painting to refer to while taking it to a bigger size have color and energy that is not there sometimes when working solely from a photograph. Later, a third reason popped into my mind: 3. Why, the adventure, of course. Thought I’d share some of this year’s painting excursion moments with you all. Thank heavens for art buddies to paint with. Life is a rich experience.