Since leaving college (about 20 years ago) I’ve not done any outdoor art, but recently, it’s been on my mind to try it again. So, on a trip down to Cornwall, I did just that. You can see the result on my main site here Unfortunately, I only got to do 40 minutes before the rain drove me away, (I know, what a fair weather artist!) I then finished the piece back in the studio.
I’m pretty happy with the outcome, certainly happy enough to want to do it again, as I thought it changed the painting experience for the better. I feel my brain goes into a meditative state when I’m painting (if it’s going well!) and an article in the Huffington post, about how art improves the brain, makes for very interesting reading:
When I was outside, I felt the creative process was enhanced.
Rather than trying to understand a vision in my mind, or a photo, I was trying to understand a whole scene I was actually part of, trying to take it into me and really see it. All very deep, but does it make for better art?
Back in Hampshire, I decided to try it again, so early one morning I went to a beautiful place we know and set things up. This time, I had about 3 or 4 hours before I had to give up as I was shivering so much, I couldn’t hold my pen steady. My only excuse is that it was very cold.
I found the experience very similar, but even more positive, as I had longer doing it, and the light really was gorgeous. However, the piece I produced is a write off. As you can see from the photos below, the composition just isn’t right. So, no, the processes doesn’t necessarily make for better art, but will, I think, when I get the hang of it.
I guess I have a lot to learn about plein air art, my first lessons are:
Lesson 1: Take some time, consider your composition. Maybe do some sketches first, make sure what you’re going to produce is worth it.
Lesson 2: Take a warm drink!