Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Plein Air Discovery

Challenge and Discovery
I put my plein air kit together, watched numerous dvd's of the big guys, purchased the rolls royce of easels and its accompanying backpack in preparation for an artist friend to come over for a plein air excursion in Europe. The trip included places in Belgium and France and The Netherlands and maybe a quick jaunt to Italy. The goal was to have a plein air painting to represent each day my friend was here and to post finished works on this blog... Life takes funny turns sometimes.

My artist friend let me know after her first 'wipe away', that plein air painting was not preferred over indoor studio painting, but the day was young so I am still hopeful for a conversion. I needed to see the world in her eyes instead of a long term European resident. To a newcomer, Europe has complicated textures that invite tedious brush strokes and longer producution time than the setting sun allows. Vision is good but fast vision and ability to slap it define one's capabilty int th e great outdoors. My friend, from the point she decided the outdoor work did not match the merit of her indoor work and emphatically revoved any evidence she had succumbed to anything not lookign classically real on her canvas, turned to her passionate interest of photography. In light of our 'discovery' it was hard to set up too many times without guilt. After all it was her first trip abroad and we were excited to see panaramas either with cameras or brushes.

I ended up with seven 'starts' in the month. My husband labeled them 'childish-looking' compared to my 'other work'... considering the speed I worked, in an effort to dimish my guilt and selfish activity, I only gave him one left hook. When these works 'mature' out of their ugly duckling phase, it could be amusing to post the starts as well as the finished works. This cannot be done today. The 'afters' are not done'and none are photographed. So hang in there. Visit again and see for yourself if the left hook was justifiable or I must eat humble pie. It's the journey that counts, and posting such comparison are today a side road.

Back to our trip It contained many experiences that I am certain will be relived in paintings yet to come. We met the modern-dayDutch Rembrandt in his studio and talked with him at length after viewing his 40-yar retrospective in his museum. We did popular things too like Monet's Garden and surroundings and Richard the Lionhearted's castle. We lingered to snap other landscapes, waterscenes, sunsets before heading into Paris.

There, while set up for a street scene, I was spotted by a group of plein air artists meeting nearby before heading for their barge trip in France. I was painting the Joan of Arc statue near the Louvre, which had this gigantic Ferris wheel for a backdrop and wonderful frame for the main story. (The fair comes only once a year, and I found this a pretty lucky view). Another pleasant surprise occured there. When I started the painting it was foggy and it was only later the Eiffel Tower gradually appeared out of he misty background into a day full of sunshine Yes!
I think this has a lot of commercial appeal based on my own -want-to-keep-it feeling. There are a lot more famous sites in Paris than this little corner, so I may get to enjoy it for a while before it has a buyer which will be okay..

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