It’s “plein” to me


How we look at, how we occupy and how we move through place has relevance whether or not we pay attention to it. Think about walking past concrete compared to walking past a line of trees, or the shifting shadow of a telephone poll as it moves across the lawn, or how the reflection of the color of the neighboring house can change the light on your patio? These subtleties, observed or not, inform as well as create questions and can affect outlook and emotions.

Richard Serra, (,
talks about the childhood experience of walking on a dock next to the hull of a
huge ship as it was about to be launched. Because of its shape it arched
as it towered over his head so he was actually inside the outside of the ship. The shadow it created was deep and cool compared to the light reflection off the water. The impact of how something that massive changes into something weightless inspires him still. When looking at or, better said, occupying his work it is clear that the questions and the mysteries brought about by that experience continue to impact his work after more than sixty years.

Unfortunately we have no docks and no ships but we do have lovely weather and mixed landscape that can be viewed from several perspectives– we are going out to paint “en Plein air”.

Your subject will be entirely up to you. You don’t have to paint everything you see nor do you have to paint the things you see exactly how or where you see them. Be selective and be imaginative.  Look 360 degrees so you don’t miss possibilities that might be included in your composition. Be concerned with the relationship of the elements that you find interesting. Be aware of your point of view, or what can you imagine it to be—is it a ground-based view or one from a billboard? Inform yourself about the characteristics of your subject. Mix them with recall and memory.

Ultimately you are combining elements that resonate and arranging them on the page (a good time to impliment rebatement) to make a statement about how you relate to this small corner of the world.

Use any materials—you may want to sketch first then work back in the studio or set up to work outside until dark.  Decide based on that choice what you will need to bring.


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1 Response to It’s “plein” to me

  1. Anonymous says:

    Excited about combining two of my favorite enjoyments, being outside and painting. Rebatement? Please educate me. Thanks. Nan

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