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The Ups and Downs of Plein Air Painting

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Evelyn McCorristin Peters: The Ups and Downs of Plein Air Painting

Evelyn McCorristin Peters

Fine art for everyone


The Ups and Downs of Plein Air Painting

I recently had a “Twitter Conversation” with the wonderful artist Debbie Lamey-MacDonald, (click here to go to her blog) @lameymacdonald (click her to follow her on twitter). Please make sure to visit her blog and view her beautiful work. On Sunday, she had posted her recent Plein Air efforts. Debbie lives in Nova Scotia, so it may have been her final opportunity to paint outdoors. Her results were well worth the effort of braving the cold as the sunset and all warmth left her surrounding.

I live in the very different climate of Southwest Florida. The weather allows me to plein air paint for most of the year. The year round temperate weather makes up for the lack of strong seasonal changes that others enjoy in the northern climates. The shift to fall and winter is much more subtle here. Most everything remains green, but the green is less intense and a few trees do lose their leaves, quickly regaining them in late February. Fall here often reminds me of spring in the Northeast, the temperatures are similar and so is the light. This is the aspect of a Florida fall I like the most, the change in light. Everything becomes a little defused, not as crisp and bright as it is in 100-degree weather.

I love to paint outdoors and 90 percent of the time I produce a piece of which I am proud. The 10 percent is brutal, and I had that experience this morning. I am working on a series of the world around me. I live in an isolated area surrounded by pastures and the Myakka State Park. It is common to see deer, wild boar, wild turkeys, and a Florida bobcat. There are alligators in my neighbor’s pond on a regular basis.

With the heat, humidity, wild animals, all sorts of creepy crawlies, it is important to be prepared. I always have an umbrella, sunscreen, a hat, tea tree oil for the fire ants, a first aid kit, and my cel phone, although it usually does not get a signal out here! I have a great half Julian easel with a backpack, so I can walk far into the woods to set up and paint whatever catches my eye.

Today I worked on the view from my backyard. The first larger piece did not turn out as I hoped, but I did learn from it as I always do from a piece that is not successful. I did not give up and completed the piece, which will go into my file of “what not to do!” I spent the next ten minutes doing a 5 x 7” study that I love. I advise everyone to do small paint sketches of nature; they will often become your most cherished little pieces!

More of my Plein Air work:
"My World ~ Out the Back Door"
"Plein Air Study ~ Gulf of Mexico"
"Longboat Key Mangrove"



Blogger Debbie Lamey-MacDonald said...

Hi Evelyn!

A big THANK-YOU for including me in your blog!! I am both honored and touched--You MADE my DAY!!

I totally understand your love for plein air painting. Once you get in the groove on how to go about it,the rewards as an artist and person are many! It really doesn't matter if the work you complete is a study,finished painting or a dud the experience is cumulative and creates long lasting artistic benefits over time.

I LOVE your little plein air study you did for your "My World" series. The colors make it so soothing. Love its simplicity and at the same time the strength the tree projects.

Wishing you many more happy days painting on location Evelyn! Your work is amazing! Cheers to plein air!
See you on Twitter!

November 16, 2009 at 7:46 PM  

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