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Old 10-07-2019, 09:00 PM
BeLing BeLing is offline
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Is plein air significant?

Not my stuff, that's for sure.

But to tell the truth, most of the plein air paintings I see around here, even by master painters, and even in magazines, don't seem to be very important. I mean, they might be painted flawlessly. But they just don't seem to be worth much, except as pretty little pictures. I'm feeling discouraged: I don't want to make pictures like these.

I'd like to aim (one can always aim ) for something more heavyweight, like Corot's.

Is that being ridiculous?
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Old 10-07-2019, 09:52 PM
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LeahPaintsPonies LeahPaintsPonies is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Whatever makes you happiest is the right type of art to be doing. If plein air doesn't make you feel as accomplished as you'd like to, maybe trying another style will. That's how I feel. I'm not a big fan of plein air myself, but I create a lot of other things that I don't think are worth much and even though I'd like to be able to sell a few things, that's not my priority. I like painting mostly for the satisfaction of seeing a piece take shape and looking at something I really like and thinking, "I did that, wow". Everyone has a different idea of what is significant and worth something. Some may really gravitate towards plein air art while others prefer something else. :-)
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:41 AM
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tmwilliams tmwilliams is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

I didn't get out that much this year (health) but I find it a satisfying challenge. It improves my abilities - from framing the scene to capturing the values in real time.

Thomas
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Old 10-08-2019, 09:18 AM
DaveCrow DaveCrow is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

To get out of the idea that plein air is only "pretty little pictures" view more plein air work. Erik Koeppel for example. he does large works in the Hudson River School style, en plein air. https://www.erikkoeppel.com/index.html

There is much more to plein air that Impressionism. I know plein air painters who paint in every style, size, medium, and technique imaginable. pretty sure you can find painters today working in the style Corot.

As for the significance of plain air, well it does have a ten year strong convention drawing a thousand attendees, at least one dedicated glossy magazine, dozens of competitions and events, so I wouldn't say it is insignificant.

The great thing about plein air painting is that the only requirement is that you paint outside. Any subject, style, or medium you like can be used to make a plein air painting. I know some focus on the figure in the landscape, others architecture, florals, even still life.

Go forth and emulate Corot if that is the style you wish to explore.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:22 AM
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westcoast_Mike westcoast_Mike is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Personally, I see better when working from life. I get a much better understanding of the values and colors than working from a photo. And this is why a lot of Artists paint PA. The historic use of it was to take the painting one did on locations, and use them to make larger ones in the studio. A lot of the A List painters still do this. The information one can get from these “value studies” is invaluable. An experienced Artist\Critic can tell immediately if a painting was done from a photo. And a lot of organizations\judges will hold it against you for jurying purposes.
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:28 PM
BeLing BeLing is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

DaveCrow, thanks for the link. EK certainly has the technique, and the drama! But I don't care for that too much either, the drama being in the imagery, or narrative. I'm looking for the drama being in the paint. Think Cezanne. The mystery isn't so much in the image (what it says about a tree or whatever) but in the painting.

Anyway, I'm going to keep at it for awhile, because it IS a good way to study, and I also do better work from life than from photos.

I like most the first gathering of dark masses, the underpainting. (Then I proceed to ruin everything by adding more paint.)

And thanks, all, for reminding me it's okay to do something you ENJOY. I forget that at times. I feel it has to be work to be worthy. That's dumb!
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Old 10-28-2019, 03:38 PM
paint2go paint2go is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

The thing about plein air is that it makes you notice things that you usually just dismiss or pass by.
As it becomes a habit, even if you aren't actually painting, it adds to your visual vocabulary.
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Old 10-30-2019, 11:54 AM
jmmur jmmur is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

"Nothing is more useful to the soul than the useless"


interesting documentary, google search: why beauty matters
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Old 11-12-2019, 04:57 PM
Gwen Solvaag Gwen Solvaag is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Do a search for Rackstraw Downes. He paints plein air over a number of days. Not exactly Corot style, but he might interest you if you are looking for something different.
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Old 11-13-2019, 11:38 AM
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Painting itself as an act is significant. What results may not be. So what?

Plein air is at heart about painting from life outside. Not necessarily landscape. Style, subject and preference are in the eye of the beholder, but the experience of being out in life, dealing with changing light conditions is what plein air is about.

If any or all painting were about becoming Corot (or pick your idol), then we would almost all of us give it up and find another pastime.

Sometimes I like what I've done, sometimes not. And sometimes I can see the value after looking back later. It's the experience of being there, creating art that matters. IMHO.
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Old 11-13-2019, 06:13 PM
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sidbledsoe sidbledsoe is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Plein air makes no difference in this regard.
Plein air is just as significant, or insignificant as any other art.
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Old 11-22-2019, 10:15 AM
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MChesleyJohnson MChesleyJohnson is offline
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Depends on what one's goal is when plein air painting. Lots of times, I go out not to make a "pretty picture" but to enjoy and connect with the environment...and to build up my observational skills. Plein air gives you the knowledgebase to make successful paintings in the studio. You can then make your work as "heavyweight" as you wish.
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Old 11-29-2019, 04:22 AM
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Re: Is plein air significant?

Quote:
Originally Posted by westcoast_Mike
Personally, I see better when working from life. I get a much better understanding of the values and colors than working from a photo. And this is why a lot of Artists paint PA. The historic use of it was to take the painting one did on locations, and use them to make larger ones in the studio. A lot of the A List painters still do this. The information one can get from these “value studies” is invaluable. An experienced Artist\Critic can tell immediately if a painting was done from a photo. And a lot of organizations\judges will hold it against you for jurying purposes.


totally agreeing - your eye sees colours and more degrees of tone than a camera can and that really matters to me. This feeds into studio paintings.

I wouldn't call the work of Kurt Jackson just pretty pictures (nor are mine) He catches the spirit of a place. His work is sustaining - not just a nice picture that you glance at and pass by. Some are huge and you are 'in' the landscape when you stand in front of them, like Monet's waterlilies in the Orangerie and Marmottan galleries. There is an intellect behind them, sometimes a narrative element. If you searc youtube you may find a film of his working on a HUGE canvas on the clifftop Cornwall - I saw this video playing at an exhibition of his work, with the finished canvas above. It was fascinating to be able to look up and down and see the progress and finished piece at the same time. He has a wonderful way of catching the light, possible only because he was there to observe it and be open to changes.
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Old 11-29-2019, 04:24 AM
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Re: Is plein air significant?

working plein air also feeds your visual memory
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Old 01-07-2020, 12:42 PM
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Re: Is plein air significant?

No, not ridiculous. You want to make something that you can be proud of.
Plein air painting is an artificial constraint on your work process environment, as well as an opportunity. The picture product won't likely be the best you can do, I think that misses the point.
Just as working in transparent watercolor on paper limits the means for free artistic expression, but has a special look that is just as important, so, too, does plein air have an immediacy of rendering that also counts as content. I think that many can especially value the resulting painting in light of the constraints, and not just the picture. I suppose that is why so many plein air artist events are social - they can commiserate with fellow artists and tell their story to the buyers who are there to see it happen.
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