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Old 12-26-2016, 02:35 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
Join Date: Dec 2016
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Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

I am considering entering a local plein air event but I want to work in something besides the traditional oils, watercolors and pastels. The event is juried with less than 15 artists being allowed in. You have to present a few images to the judges and describe your process.

The three that I would prefer to do are printmaking, encaustics and pen and ink. The encaustics would be the most complicated but with a two burner propane stove and a 1/4" thick metal plate laying over the burners the temperature of the wax stays pretty stable as long as the wind isn't strong. No need for electricity. This stuff is heavy so the setup would need to be fairly close to the car. The event is open to the entire county so that shouldn't be a problem.

For printmaking it would be small linocut prints pulled by hand without a press using water clean up inks, probably Akua. Some single color as well as some reduction prints. When working outdoors I prefer to cut the plate non flipped from right to left so that the final print is going to be backwards. I find it hard to work quickly when I have to flip everything from right to left, but my concern is that having recognized local scenes not presented right reading could be a turn off to the buyers and judges.

I might buy a tiny press and try some monotypes and drypoint just for fun if I enter and am accepted with that medium.

Pen and ink isn't really much different than what one would expect at a plein air event though I have never seen anyone working with it. The pieces would be fairly small, some with line work only, some with ink wash and on others with watercolors added to the ink. This is my last choice of the three, but probably the safest as far as being accepted.

My biggest concern is that the committee will flat reject anything that isn't traditional plein air stuff. My hope is that they might embrace something that has never been done in their previous events. Have any of you seen any of the above in plein air events you participated in? How were they received?
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Old 12-27-2016, 02:31 AM
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Yorky Yorky is online now
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Re: Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

A recent UK tv series Landscape Artist of the Year featured painters given 4 hours to paint a scene plein air, albeit with a covered booth and lots of space. The artists painted with a wide range of techniques ranging from traditional oils and watercolours, gouache, pen and ink, print making using cut out paper masks and fabric incorporated into their work.

If you get a chance to see it, it would be interesting. I think it was on Sky Arts?
PS here's a link to the web page http://www.skyartsartistoftheyear.tv/landscape

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Old 12-27-2016, 12:38 PM
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manfrommerriam manfrommerriam is offline
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Re: Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

Of your three choices only pen & ink and pen & wash are ones I've used outdoors. I'd try pen & wash as the most likely to get accepted.

That said I'm going to guess the organizers are looking for oils done in the most common way, the California plein-air style. So if you really, really want to get in you will need to show them that.

Perhaps you could show them something from all three of your preferred mediums; and once, (if?) accepted talk to the organizers about what they would most like to see from you.

and... Welcome to WC ! Good luck, Dave
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Old 12-28-2016, 08:03 PM
contumacious contumacious is offline
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Re: Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

Thanks to both of you for your comments. Also thanks to Dave for the welcome to WC and Doug for the interesting link.

I like the idea of contacting the person in charge of the event and asking them if they have a preference or a recommendation as to which medium would give me the best chance to be accepted. I quite enjoy all three of them as well as oils, so it won't really matter to me which one I end up doing although the challenge of encaustics is pretty exciting to consider.
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Old 12-30-2016, 09:46 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

Wax based paints need NOT be complicated, as long as you aren't wedded to "encaustic" techniques. In other words, Ceracolors, which are water-soluble wax based true paints with high chroma, are incredibly easy to work with en plein air. No heat source required at all, unless you want to set the paint layers. They behave very much like open acrylics, in that you can open the prior layers with water. You can use any style or technique that you would normally employ with watercolors or acrylics. I'll attach a couple of examples of my en plein air work in Ceracolors. BTW, people will be very surprised, as these aren't widely known.

Otherwise, I find it easy to work plein air with any combo of: acrylics (I like Chroma Atelier Interactive best and can imitate oil rather successfully), watercolor, gouache (I like Turner Acryl-Gouache, an acrylic based), pastel pencil, watercolor pencils (Inktense and regular), ink in line and wash (I use Faber Castel brush pens), and Ceracolors.

Here's an example of a ditty done with multiple media: ink, Inktense, gouache, watercolor, pastel!

Last edited by bartc : 12-30-2016 at 09:50 AM.
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Old 01-02-2017, 11:50 AM
bartc bartc is offline
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Re: Non Traditional artistic media for plein air

One other idea re printmaking: do simple oil or acrylic monotypes. You do not need to cut any plates at all, and monotypes are a very interesting and acceptable form of art. You also do not need a press, if you can handle a brayer.
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