Plein Air Artist Reception for the Oil Painters of America "Great American Paint Out" 2008 Charleston, SC

Many of the nearly 30 plein air artists participating in the 2008 Oil Painters of America sponsored "Great American Paint Out" gathered Sunday in the spectacular setting of the Poplar Grove Boathouse on Rantowles Creek near Charleston, SC.

Good food, friends, and artwork all added to the enjoyment of a beautiful Fall day spent relaxing on the spacious porch overlooking ancient oaks and the sparkling water of Rantowles Creek at Poplar Grove.

The afternoon provided painters the chance to discuss their weekends work with each other and Poplar Grove guests.
Pictured left to rt. are artists Hilary Lambert, Ann Merrill, Bonnie Stabler, OPA member and event organizer Sara Jane Reynolds, Barrie Hinson, and Veronique Ariel.

When asked what would be their advice on painting "en plein air" (painting on location) to new plein air painters, some of the artists offered the following replies.

"Make yourself come out. A photograph is nothing like being out there." Barrie Hinson
"Don't let Nature intimidate you." Veronique Ariel
"Keep it simple. Streamline your equipment." Almeda Kelly
"Don't forget your bug spray." Diane Balister
"Forgetting something essential (like your brushes) forces you to new solutions, like using your palette knife instead." Ann Merrill

"The camaraderie among fellow artists who share the same passion as I do for plein air painting is an important part of painting en plein air." BeNita McAdam

"Squint for shapes. Open your eyes for color." Hilary Lambert
"The vertical plains are darker than horizontal plains. Shadows in the horizontals (like the ground) can't be as dark as in the verticals (like a tree)." Bonnie Stabler
"Use thumbnail sketches or a viewfinder to simplify your compositions. Use a mirror to help correct errors and strengthen your painting." Kay Schneider

"Don't throw everything you have at the canvas. Keep something in reserve. Winston Churchill in his book "Painting as a Pastime" uses the analogy of creating a painting to fighting a battle. If a general uses everything he has, all his artillery, and keeps nothing in reserve, and if at the end of the day he hasn't won the battle, he has nothing left. Likewise an artist needs to keep something in reserve." Sara Jane Reynolds

I wish I'd had a chance to hear comments from all the artists painting en plein air this weekend. Several artists advised against using "tube" green paint. They believe mixing greens from their palette colors unifies and strengthens their plein air paintings.

Do you have a tip or trick about plein air painting to share? Maybe something funny happened while you were "out there" painting? It'd be great to hear your comments.


JJ-40 said...

Great quote from Winston Churchill comparing painting to fighting a battle. I often feel like I'm battling my painting, the weather, and interested "looky loo's" when I paint en plein air.

My advice to new plein air painters is to bring along a sense of humor with your paint and brushes.


Katherine Muschick Schneider said...

Hi JJ-40,
I agree with your plein air advice. A sense of humor is a good thing to bring anywhere.

Happy painting.

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