Plein Eire

Your Site For Artists Who Paint Outdoors

"Often when we paint plein air we have to paint quickly to capture the image before the light changes too much. This calls for a simplification of the subject to its basic elements, also known as abstraction." That is what Don Maier says at the top of the "Abstract Plein Air" group on PleinAirArtists. Spoken like a true open air artist and very valid and each to his own I say.

 

I am as obsessive as the next artist but my obsession is with painting, not light. For me light is a given, we would not see without it. A theatre in complete darkness is still a theatre. An unlit stage is no different to a lit stage and doesn't only become real again when the lights are switched on. I am more interested in what the actor is saying than how her head reflects the stagelights, beautiful and all as that reflection might be. I'm not concerned either whether the play is staged in a theatre, an open air amphitheatre or a forest.

I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this but to get back to Don's words; I just wanted to say that I, for one, am not too concerned about capturing the light. I find the image is often burned into my mind in the first fifteen seconds. I can still feel the sun on my head and the glare in my eyes from the day I sat in front of this scene (see attached painting).

 

However the glare and the heat are not what it's about. They are tools to convey something. I would write about it if I could but then I wouldn't be a painter but a writer.

Views: 138

Attachments:

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Plein air painting has become, probably always was, very popular helped by daily blogs from American plein air artists such as Stapleton Kearns and the huge popularity of Kevin MacPherson and his art books. The latter has been an inspiration to me and his positive easy going attitude. Simplification of a scene is the key capturing the atmosphere the moment or the light...whatever. To me the scene has to be right as well. Too often one sees a painting rendered well and technically good but often the scene or subject is quite dull. Contrast, light shade, texture, bold colour are what I love in painting. I was looking at a Derek Hill painting in Belfast the other week, painted I do believe on Tory Island plein air and it looked rough up close but wonderful from a distance, when it all came together. Hill had simplified it down to grey, white, dark green blue as contrast with a warm yellow ground which shone through the whole painting.To me one has to see impact in the painting and not just a painting for paintings sake.
Couldn't agree more Joe. For me anyway, firstly a painting has to tell the viewer exactly why I painted it. I can push some things to convey this, but fancy brushwork or other "distractions" should not come in the way. The viewer should get the message first and then everything else afterwards. As painters working on a 2D surface we lack the 3D vision of our human eyes, so we have to compensate in other ways by pushing things a little. So we resort to placing light against dark (value), bright against dull (chroma) and warm against cool (hue) to create visual impact and an illusion of 3D depth. Varying texture and edges can also help in this regard. While I too like MacPherson's work (I really love his painting "Celtic Brilliance" of a backlit boat in Dingle, Ireland, which to me is more evocative of mood and perhaps the personality of the artist than most of his other work - it really suggests an artist loving his subject matter), I think he still could become more expressive and thus move more of his work to a higher level.

Mind you, if I could paint half as good as him, I probably wouldn't be too concerned with such things either!



Joe Mahon said:
Plein air painting has become, probably always was, very popular helped by daily blogs from American plein air artists such as Stapleton Kearns and the huge popularity of Kevin MacPherson and his art books. The latter has been an inspiration to me and his positive easy going attitude. Simplification of a scene is the key capturing the atmosphere the moment or the light...whatever. To me the scene has to be right as well. Too often one sees a painting rendered well and technically good but often the scene or subject is quite dull. Contrast, light shade, texture, bold colour are what I love in painting. I was looking at a Derek Hill painting in Belfast the other week, painted I do believe on Tory Island plein air and it looked rough up close but wonderful from a distance, when it all came together. Hill had simplified it down to grey, white, dark green blue as contrast with a warm yellow ground which shone through the whole painting.To me one has to see impact in the painting and not just a painting for paintings sake.
many year ago i saw a painting which at first sight just looked a dull grey colour, but when looked at right, you could see that there was a bright light starting to come through a distant mist,just like the early mornings in spring, simple but brilint. I donot rember the artists to my regret. On Derik Hill i think his best pieces are his quick sketches, taken on the spot, either of people or landscapes, little effort but contains all relevent information, if only one could be as sparingle concise.
I never thought that my thoughts on light would spark such a reaction or would be seen as an assault on representational painting.
As I said at the beginning I "am not too concerned about capturing the light". So obviously I don't dismiss light altogether as having no function. Yes I probably am concerned more about form and colour and they have an inherent light quality. We all have our own hierarchies and my chief concern is painting (not "the painting", but that's probably another Pandora's box for some).

Far from worrying about what anybody else is "doing or thinking", I would say I have a healthy irreverence towards most -isms and their practitioners and a dearth of sacred cows. I am enjoying immensely the journey, whether it be inside or outside.

"Plein air" painting has become hugely popular due to America's ability to embrace something and to popularise it. Partly because of, as Joe Mahon says "daily blogs from American plein air artists such as Stapleton Kearns and the huge popularity of Kevin MacPherson and his art books." and all the plein air sites including this one. I'm sure that the contributor who mentioned an ‘orgy of banality and mediocrity without any substance’ was not referring to content on these sites posted by sincere and often gifted amateurs and professionals alike.
I like your last paragraph, Tony and in the words of Wassily Kandinsky "There is no must in art because art is free. "
What happened in1776?

Michael, reading your last two posts, I think we're probably not that far apart in our thinking, as we assumed.
To me all artists who use the medium of paint on a suport face the same questions what intrests me here, how will i do it justice, and do i follow it up later. On another tack but related as an amature artist, siting in trafic on a tree lined road with all the colour of the trees, a thought came to me, ? why is nature so perverse giving the season of decay and hibernation such a riot of colour. just a thought.
Just a couple of quick thoughts, Paddy. No one is saying here that painting should be a mechanical exercise, well I'm not anyway!. But if you want to be a concert pianist you have to practice your scales and if you want to be able to improvise a lead guitar solo, you need years of structured practice too, so that the mechanical bit becomes intuitive, allowing the creativity to take over. Also one of the advantages of a forum such as this is that it offers the opportunity to those who are new to plein air to learn form those of us who are more experienced. And it is virtually impossible to teach something at a remove without putting some structure on it.

I don't believe either that anyone has to do paintings the size of a "postage stamp", but for those of us who are learning our craft and struggling with the elements, working on a relatively small scale is a sensible place to start.

Whether a painting is large or small, done quickly or slowly is irelevant. Ultimately a painting stands on its merits, regardless of how it was done. What it boils down to in the end is that we are all different and have to be true to ourselves as artists, if we are to produce our best work.



Paddy Darigan said:
I for one have been taking "what I want" from plein air painting for 30 years, or more accurately taking what I can get from it, or what it cares to give me ( sh*t 30 years ) and it just bothers me a little to see something that I love being analysed to death, light keys, colour keys, tonal values, capturing and chasing the light are all very well but concentrate on them to much and you will paint like a chemist!
"Painting is mystifying and I don't want to demystify it" Frank Aurbach
Frank Aurbach! obsessively working from the model, obsessively working sketching in the streets of London to this very day, obsessively sketching in the National Gallery and if you ever have a cup of coffee there you will see 150+ of his sketches from the great masters from the collection
Lots choose to paint, but some have no choice, and some of us may have had a much more comfortable life style if we had a choice. and I am not knocking the fleeting moment, capturing the light approaches, but hey! there is more than one way to skin a cat!
who says you must paint the size of a postage stamp? who says you must complete a painting in an hour , or do three a day, capturing the moment isn't easy I know, but capturing time is even more difficult.
When I look at one of the great paintings by Rembrandt, Turner, Constable, Van Gogh, Soutine, Giacometti, Mondrian, Popova, Saville or one of the other artists that I admire their work tells me as much about the Artist as the subject. Art, like life takes time
I have had experance of work taking time, the longest I peronly worked on a piece would be four years. There was just somthing that wasnt right, what it was i hadent a clue. I followed all the usual things turning it to the wall, looking through a mirror and looking at it upide down, all had not returned the desired effect. Several times I thought it was finished, but that dought still hadent gone away. Eventualy I just sat in front of it and looked at it, then without any reason I scraped a good bit of, almost going back to the canvis and started to repaint, after an hour or so it was finaly finished, I was happy enough to leave it at that. Confirmation of this decision came a month later when I entered it in a local art clubs annual show, this painting was the first to be sold, much to my suprise and joy. By the way it was a realistic work.

I came across this which I thought interesting.

I'm not sure this is exactly the right Forum thread to post it to but read it and make up your own mind.

Plein air painting does attract performers, and why not? I have no great love of the performance element probably because years of hand-painting shopfronts in the high street has made me indifferent to onlookers. (I'm not saying I don't revel in the compliments which I invariably get when out painting). For me painting outdoors has been and hopefully will always be a part of my artistic practice.

I, for one, will continue to keep an eye on those performers because although they often pick a high profile location, it is often too the best one.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Website Sponsor

Notes

Making the most of your profile page

Created by Plein Eire Administrator Jan 24, 2011 at 10:36am. Last updated by Plein Eire Administrator Jan 28, 2015.

Notes

Created by Plein Eire Administrator Jan 12, 2010 at 2:18am. Last updated by Plein Eire Administrator Jun 1, 2012.

Posting Artwork on Plein Eire

Created by Plein Eire Administrator Jul 15, 2010 at 1:33am. Last updated by Plein Eire Administrator Jan 10, 2012.

© 2021   Created by Plein Eire Administrator.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service