En plein air

"Just try going outside and painting things on the spot! All sorts of things happen then." - Van Gogh

Painting and drawing outside is one of my favorite things we do at camp. It is entirely different than being in the studio or classroom, and it is something every artist should experience. You have natural light that is always changing. You have 365 degrees of inspiration and choices. You have wind, heat, unfamiliar sounds, smells, dirt, distractions, and bugs. You stop and observe the beauty around you, and realize, yes, this is beautiful. You have a challenge of replicating that beauty. Working outdoors you can't help but feel like a famous plein air impressionist artist. 

I showed the campers examples of impressionist paintings and we noticed the vibrant colors, the use of light, textures, and composition. I told them that they had an artistic license, which meant it was ok to make choices- you could exaggerate a tree trunk, you could omitt a bench, or you could add some little flowers. We talked about the colors we saw. The lake wasn't just blue, it was green, white, yellow, and black. We were thinking like real artists.

 

"All pictures painted inside in the studio will never be as good as the things done outside." - Paul Cezanne