What’s so special about Plein Air painting? Well, just sooo much really.
Plein air painting is no longer simply a quick way to create pre-paintings for larger, later to be painted studio oil and watercolor paintings. Plein air has matured. Plein air is all grown up and ready to work for any gallery smart enough to recognize it as the most interesting new form of art to appear in 50 years.
The “act of plein air painting” is a greater aesthetic experience than studio painting. The muse of masterpieces has upped the voltage. Painting in plein air is the ultimate artist’s “high”.
Plein air makes your teeth hurt and your hair stand up. It gets you going like no other style of painting. To be outside, your experience circumscribed by the changing light, the temperature, the surrounding situation - forces a certain speed into your work. To be in a city crowd with the traffic; to be in the wilds of some lonely region wondering if there is a grizzly bear lurking in the foliage. It’s a totally overwhelming experience that pushes you out of your comfort zone - into a timeless concentration; a complete involvement with your inner workings.
If plein air painting was analogical to sex it would be worth selling your soul for the experience. Think of ordinary painting as comparable to regular sex. Plein air painting can then be said to be: the best lover you ever had, taking you “there” deftly, slowly, with urgency and fear, with total self loss and timelessness; and suddenly - all rolled into one blindingly intense experience. Of course we want to repeat it, again, and again. We are hooked and our work becomes better by leaps and bounds because of it.