Friday, June 10, 2011

Plein Air Friday Challenge

A Brief History:
En plein air is a French phrase meaning "in the open air," and is a style of outdoor painting used by artists internationally. It began in the mid-1800s, when the importance of natural lighting was stressed in the artistic movements at the time (Impressionism & Barbizon School). Painting outdoors became more popular with the marketing of oil paint in tubes—previously, oils had to be made from grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. It was extremely difficult to transport everything they would have needed out of doors, so most art, even landscapes, were created in a studio up to this point. Painting outdoors was crucial for the Impressionist movement (eg, Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Édouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, etc)— among other things, "[the Impressionists] found that they could capture the momentary and transient effects of sunlight by painting en plein air. They portrayed overall visual effects instead of details, and used short "broken" brush strokes of mixed and pure unmixed colour—not blended smoothly or shaded, as was customary—in order to achieve the effect of intense colour vibration." [source]

Plein Air Friday Challenge:
Every Friday, I will be posting a new plein air painting. In his book "Color & Light," James Gurney said something to the effect that if you want to get better at painting, paint at least one plein air a day (I have been trying to find the exact quote and for the life of me can't. But check out Color & Light, it's AWESOME.) While I don't have the frame of mind to do one a day just yet, once a week seems doable. Every one is welcome to join in the challenge.

For those of you who don't know what plein air paintings look like, here are some examples of Plein Air Paintings (NONE ARE MINE).

Jamie __?

Karen Winter

Kenn Backhaus

Nikki Basch-Davis

Jennifer Young


Tiff :o) said...

I've always loved the simple look of plein air. I can't wait to see yours.

Ariel said...

I'll try and do this with you! :)