en plein aire

plein aire painter Phil Dynan in the Black Rock Desert Plein Aire painting is said to have originated with the French Impressionists.

A few years ago I visited one of the first “en plain aire” sites near Atelier Cézanne in Aix-en-Provence. Cézanne had built a studio on a hill and his favourite painting spot was just a short walk away. During the construction of the studio, he included a large “slit” in one wall, thru which he could pass large canvases to take onsite.

Plein Aire painting means, simply, painting in the outdoors and usually refers to painting the scene you are confronted with – or part of, would be more accurate.

The advantage of plein aire painting is the accurate light that is present and the ability to examine details.

My work reflects my own way of seeing things. My “vision”, slightly too colourful for some people, is the way I actually see things. I am not colour-blind. I am extremely colour-aware.

Have you ever had a photo in photoshop on your computer and adjusted the “Saturation” slider as far as it will go? If you have, then you know what colours are presesnt in your photo – though no one will ever “see” them at normal settings. Well, I SEE all the colours and that is how I paint.

Since I paint in an abstract form, the shapes and lines around me are painted as I “perceive” them, not with the exactness of careful measurement. I may see a praying mantis with a powerful personality and make his legs four times the length they are “in reality”. But my painting shows how the insect “seemed to me” at that moment.

Mountains become harder-edged, or softer; cows seem pointless or bristling with personality…it all depends on that particular moment and my perception.

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2 Responses to “en plein aire”

  1. Glenn Parton Says:

    I see what you’re saying and means to me that Art does not imitate reality, but reveals or discloses aspects of reality that others may not see.

  2. poppytump Says:

    Like the way you describe your vision 🙂

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