en plein air

My precious, precious studio time dwindles as the summer approaches.  I have three kids.  Enough said.  So, I take the studio with me and set up when I can, wherever I can. Yes they are getting older.  Much older.  But as most of you parents know, sometimes that doesn’t matter.  You still have to BE there.  You still worry too much time alone will produce disastrous results.  Thus the en plein air  plan.  So yesterday I went to Tuck’s Point, Manchester-by-the-sea and worked on a little painting (to be fine tuned and finished in the studio) that I will probably include in my tent at the Manchester Art Festival this August 4th.  I will have a variety of sizes of paintings and price ranges.  Please put it on your calendars!

En plein air has its challenges.  The weather for one, the wind, an abbreviated cache of supplies, little access to water, being baked in the sun, no bathroom, providing your own chair (or not), insects and a very public audience.  However you have a portable studio, can see gorgeous views right in front of you and need no photo references!  I recommend it whenever possible but be very prepared.  Wear sunblock.  Bring a lunch!  Wear a baseball hat for the sun and of course take everything you brought with you out with you.  Its a lot of heavy lifting if you take everything you will need but its worth every pound.  Just try to pare down to the bare essentials of outdoor painting:  a variety of brushes, a water cup, the primary colors + white,  a canvas, an easel, a collapse-able chair, two water bottles (one for drinking, one for washing out your brushes), a palette, a watch and comfortable shoes.  Dress in layers.  Weather could change in a heartbeat.  Check the weather channel!  So much planning…but better to plan first and be comfortable than not bring everything you will need.  Good luck and happy painting!

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