I’ve had this post on hold for sometime. Just want to share with you some insight on the benefit of painting outdoors or as the french call it "en plain air".
Essentially its like hunting, you are out there for a short period of time and you need to catch your prey. Picking on relations from observation is a task for your brain; its quite a challenge to get it right, because you have to do it quickly and accurately from the very first attempt. What I mean by relationships is, how big or small the shapes you are drawing in relations to each other and the format of your surface, how cool or warm the temperature of the paint you apply and how to compose it all effectively together.
Painting en plain air makes you vulnerable you become dependent on time and light conditions, weather and environment. But that is actually not bad at all, because you are essentially making first class memory. Experiencing three diminutional life engages not only all your senses but also emotions, making your work a personal and immediate response to the subject in front of you. Unlike woking from photos, working outdoors from life translates true colour, light and shadow into your work, camera obscures that and painting from photos becomes nothing more then cheating, which shows in your work right away. The benefits of plain air painting are clearly there; colour sense improves painting speed improves, work is done faster and looser, making paintings more immediate, bold and contemporary.
Finally doing exercise outdoors is a free source of inspiration. For those that work on studio pieces or painting abstract compositions, going outdoors once in a while will only improve your creative endeavours. New found inspiration outdoors will only enrich your idea fountain and you will end up creating a new masterpiece :) In my own work I try to look for balance between what I learn by panting from observaiton and how I apply it in my studio experiments with paper monotypes. This become an organic process and so far gratifying. Ultimately I search for away to combine the two approaches into a single process, a challenge that I’m still facing.
Below are some small plain air portraits i’ve done of fellow painters this past few weeks in the beautiful Saint Petersburg. Big Thank You Alex!! for beautiful images and capturing me in my element..