In reviewing a number of websites for plein air event descriptions, plein air organizations and groups, and plein air artist web sites (individual and social) there is a range of definitions of what constitutes a plein air work. What do you think is appropriate? Obviously, what an artist does to get a work representative of their style and present it to the public for sale or judging is fine. I am only interested in what you think should be legitimately labeled a plein air work. Here are a couple expressions of a plein air work I found;
1) One Chapter's web site states work must be 85% completed outdoors.
2) An artist's web site states that to him plein air is just that, 100% completed outdoors.
3) Many say that only minor work can be done back in the studio. What is minor? If I paint a red barn is it ok if I add the white trim in the studio the next day after the red paint has a chance to set?
4) Does the subject matter eliminate some paintings? If you do a portrait of someone , or a still life of some garden pots outdoors is that not plein air?
5) American Artist Magazine has an open call to artists called "Showcase Your State" for plein air painting submissions by artists. When they get enough from a state to select some for publication they will feature the paintings in their magazine. Each month a different state will be featrued until they cover all 50. Their rules permit submission of works completed entirely in the studio if you submit documentation of the sketches used-no photographs. This is OK as it is their contest and therefore their rules, but do you think they are confusing the definition of plein air? Your true plein air work could not be selected because of a superior work completed in the studio. Many prominent artists who write books and magazine features praise the value of plein air paintings and sketches as well as a reference photo to develop larger studio works, but they don't call the finished studio work plein air.