En Plein air Painting

Some artists paint exclusively in the studio and others exclusively en plein air. If you are a landscape painter (rural, urban or marine) painting outside can be a very enjoyable activity.

I have been fortunate to go on painting trips organised by the Wapping Group of Artists. On a ten day painting trip to Brittany it rained most days, but despite this there were painters out and about continuously; the watercolourists sought out awnings and doorways, but those using oils often worked in the open and regularly poured water from their palettes; some held an umbrella or had one attached to their easel or chair, and then, of course, had the wind to contend with. Such is dedication!

At the hotel a week later I reckon there were 200 paintings on show – and there were still three days of painting to go. Many of the works were complete – others almost so, and due for completion back in the studio.

I did a mixture of drawings, watercolour sketches/paintings and oil paintings, and I am pleased to say that on this occasion I sold a couple.

Although sometimes I complete a painting in situ, my normal practice is to make sketches, sometimes in colour, often with colour notes, and then use this information to paint back in the studio. A couple of photographs to record specific details can be helpful – but beware of just ‘painting the photo’.

The weather shouldn’t be a deterrent to painting outdoors, but it is usually more comfortable when it is warm and dry.

If you don’t normally paint or draw outside, why not have a go – just in the garden, perhaps. It can be very different from painting in the studio – and quite exhilarating.