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Old 07-14-2018, 12:06 AM
painterbee painterbee is offline
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Plain Scared of Plein Air

I'm not really sure where the fear comes from. I've been painting since I could hold a brush, but the thought of venturing outside and painting something that's real, moving, and ever changing scares the beejezus out of me. Maybe it's a control thing. Hmm

My question is....what's the best way to start? I feel like I need someone to watch, someone to hold my hand, someone to say "See? You don't suck at this!"

How does one go about finding a painting buddy or buddies to venture outside with?

Signed, I've been painting from photographs far too long
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Old 07-14-2018, 03:56 AM
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maryinasia maryinasia is offline
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

It helped me to think, at least at first, "These are sketches and practice to improve my art"

I found plein air partners just by painting outside.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:57 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Sort out your gear first and give it a try in your back yard. There's nothing worse than turning up on a paint out to find you have forgotten something vital. If you can, put a plein air set together that you can just pick up and go.

Doug
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Old 07-14-2018, 06:48 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Depending where you live you may be able to find an art society or art group that organizes a regular day for a group to paint out together somewhere. Painting with a group is a good way to learn as you will always get pointers from others and will get to see how others handle things.


Painting from life is different from copying as you have work things out for yourself and there are certain 'rules' that can known but not easy to apply... but there is nothing quite like finding a lovely quiet location, setting up the paints and giving it a go!


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Old 07-14-2018, 09:53 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I am fortunate due to living in the country and I'm with Doug on going out into your own back yard. Just imagine you are miles from home and spend a couple of days painting; you'll soon find out what you need at hand and what makes you comfortable.
You might just do some under painting at first with earth tones and build up color on another day etc.
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Old 07-14-2018, 01:56 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I found my group (and now organize it) on meetup.com Ours is multi-media, many levels of skill and experience, gentle and non-critical. You have to ask for criticism or help, but you can get plenty. And we learn from one another - even the pros learn from the neophytes sometimes.

But that idea of just going outside in your yard where nobody can see you and trying out anything at all - start with a simple still life or the corner of a building - will help you get over any anxieties.

Painting outdoors is something that you continuously learn, so don't be intimidated by having to learn how.
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Old 07-14-2018, 03:13 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Oh.....and big straw hat, sun screen, insect repellent, and knowing what to say to tourists to get em' off your back.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:51 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcam
Oh.....and big straw hat, sun screen, insect repellent, and knowing what to say to tourists to get em' off your back.

Yes! These things especially.

.
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Old 07-14-2018, 04:55 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcam
.
You might just do some under painting at first with earth tones and build up color on another day etc.

I do this often. It's very helpful.
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Old 07-15-2018, 04:03 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I'll just add that you need to be somewhat sure that the person/people you paint with are as interested in actually painting as you are. I found it very frustrating when people near me talked on and on about everything under the sun while I really needed to concentrate on what I was looking at. I felt it would have been rude to suggest that they save their conversations about their pets and grandchildren for another time.
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Old 07-15-2018, 09:36 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I call it 'easel fright', it happens sometimes. So, what you can do, that helped me immensely is just say out loud: "Whatever this painting will look like in the end, I'm going to have FUN painting it now."

Then paint, have fun, and take a reference photo for later.

As for painting buddies... I had a 'paint buddy' a few times. The "analyzer" took an HOUR AND A HALF for her to make a mark. By that time, I was already finished and ready to go! The "Drinker" wanted to make art messes and leave the area in bad shape. The "Mooch" didn't bring any art supplies!

It is better if you just have a good friend tag along and bring their personal joys like a good book, guitar or something. They tend to be better at encouragement as well, and sometimes bring potato chips (crunch, crunch).
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Old 07-16-2018, 03:44 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I second joining a local watercolor society and finding a group to join.

You also might skip the easel and full size painting set up. Instead, take a stool, a small travel palette and a journal and just do some sketching. That breaks the ice as you know you're not going to do anything approaching a finished product. Great way to get your feet wet. If you have to, just take a pen and some watercolor pencils and a waterbrush. Caran d'Ache has a set of six small pencils on amazon. Pair that with a micron pen and a Pentel waterbrush and there you are. A small journal and it can all fit in a small bag, fanny pack, purse or whatever. If you've got a folding garden or camping stool you're set for your first adventure.

There is nothing to fear. I have NEVER had a stranger pass by, look at what I'm doing and remark how terrible it is and I should quit painting and try something else. If you feel the need of a compliment or a little ego-stroking, take your kit out and do some urban sketching. People will like what you do, no matter what.

And a big yes to a wide brimmed hat and sunscreen.

Take a bottle of water even if you won't need it for painting. You'll need it to keep hydrated.

The lighter you pack and the easier/faster you can set up, the more likely you are to paint something. Less is more, as more gear results in less painting.
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Old 07-16-2018, 04:35 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Start by sitting with you back to a wall in the shade, in your car even.

Doug
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Old 07-16-2018, 12:35 PM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

Crowd pleasing? Not necessary.

When I paint outdoors I can pretty much tune out the human distractions. Almost always they come by, take a look, and tell me it's great (whether it sucks or not, or even whether there is anything but a rough outline!) Kids are especially complimentary as to them such levels of skill as a novice displays are really a big deal.

No matter what anyone says to you, your internal mantra needs to be that you are not painting a photograph, you are attempting to capture an idea or impression. You are learning.

For Pete's sake, just go do it! You'll be glad you did.
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Old 07-21-2018, 06:19 AM
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Re: Plain Scared of Plein Air

I agree with the 'just do it'

Don't work on canvas - use paper or canvas paper - less pressure, treat it as an experiment, a sketch - and then it tends to work
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