Oct. 7, 2010
I was well into middle age before I heard the term plein air, although I had enjoyed that form of painting from time to time. It simply means painting outdoors what you see in front of you. It was a teacher in a Lawrence Art Center plein air class who first introduced me to that term. I looked up the words in an old college French textbook. Literally, it seems to mean full of air. Whatever, it’s a great way to paint.
I was plein air painting yesterday at the home of a country artist friend. The weather was perfect, sunny, no wind, and not too hot or too cold. Perhaps influenced by the Monet series I had seen at the Art Institute, I painted in a location where I had painted before. I set up my easel beside a pond looking at the trees on the other side and their reflection in the water. Several years ago I painted from this spot, but that painting was a vertical one and it was painted later in the fall when the trees had changed color. Yesterday’s painting was horizontal and the trees were still mostly green. I like it enough to want to finish it. It is hard to think of names for paintings. I called the first one “Carol’s Pond.” Now what shall I call this one? “Carol’s Pond II” seems kind of lame.