Sunday, July 4, 2010

Painting Plein Air

I have a confession. When I paint on location…. I am a fair weather plein air painter. This seems to be my pattern in life. Those years that I was a skier, I only liked to ski on the best days. And so it is when it comes to plein air. Now mind you, I have painted in bad weather, wrapped in warm wind and waterproof clothing, looking like the toddler wrapped for winter, and I had a good time. But plein air painting is difficult enough - why add to the problems. I can handle gentle breeze, hot sunshine and frigid temperature but I really excel in perfect conditions. I love to smell the fields and feel the dappled light skipping across the landscape. In these conditions, my brushes fly over my canvas and almost giggle with joy.

Often I am drawn to dwellings set in a landscape of beauty. Barns often catch my eye and beckon me to paint them.

This fading gray blue barn had tall trees on the right and casting long shadows along it’s front. I had to quickly paint those shadows first because they were changing minute by minute. Behind the barn are the Bridgers Mountains, the beautiful gates to our Gallatin Valley here in Bozeman. In front of it were fields scattered with sunny wildflowers. It was a wonderful morning.

Often, I find a subject right at my friends’ homes. This barn is just one of Reny and Bill’s many wonderful old buildings in Pennsylvania. It has it all, including old red boards and stonewalls. What a joy to wake up in the morning, walk outside and start painting right there!

This is my red, white and blue salute. What a great beautiful country we live in! Happy Fourth of July!

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