painting en plein air

“To look, to see, to understand, to capture – however imperfectly – is to be part of the land in a way like no other.” Jan Blencowe

I have never done plein air painting before, until this past week. As I was setting up the easel on the grass overlooking a big field and red barn, I thought, how could this be? Then as I was painting, I thought, wow, this is really challenging. I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

I made a last minute decision to sign up for this plein air class through Zoll Studio with the very talented Lisa Mitchell as the instructor. I was blown away by the paintings created in the 2 1/2 hours by the other artists. People were either working in oils or pastels and all were traditional landscape painting and just beautiful! My goal for this class is to 1) be outside 2) observe the land and the way natural light moves across it 3) study natural landscapes to further the abstracted landscape paintings that I want to work on.

I had mentioned in a previous post that when I paint my landscapes I want to capture more of the feeling rather than what is technically in front of me. I am looking forward to exploring this idea more.

This is one of two studies I did in my first excursion. I edited out a lot of what was actually in my line of sight and focused on shape and light. I felt that while it is recognizable as a landscape, it is still in my style of painting- the piecing together of blocks, like a quilt.

oil study 1

small oil study

Last year when I took a still life class I found that when I returned to my studio, my paintings became more abstract and looser. I thought it was interesting how one informed the other. When I returned to the studio this week after my plein air class, I found a similar thing happened. Here is a detail of a larger oil painting.

Detail of an oil painting I'm working on
detail of an oil painting I am currently working on


1 Comment

  1. Both seem brilliant to me, Bridgette – the light-filled apred down landscape as well as the abstract oil painting. I’m not sure which I enjoy more, but it’s clear the time outside has had a beautiful effect on your work…

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