This post is not a how-to but a reflection on what it's like to be new at painting outdoors, as well as a shameless promotion of my upcoming plein air class. But first: I have a confession to make.
It's been a few months since I've painted outdoors. I really have no excuse. Living in San Diego, I certainly can't blame the weather, especially after having watched from afar artist Marc Hanson paint four plein air paintings a day for a month in frozen Colorado.
So it's not surprising that when I joined the San Diego Urban Sketchers on an outing to Oceanside Harbor a couple weeks ago, I was really feeling out of shape, painting-wise. I painted for about an hour and ended up with an OK sketch. I wasn't quite thrilled with it but trying to paint like that after a long hiatus made me aware of a lot of the stuff I'd learned (and maybe forgotten) as a budding plein air painter. A place like the harbor can have so many things going on --- boats, birds, structures, reflections --- that it can be difficult to know where to begin (or end), and if you're not mindful, it's easy to get bogged down in all the details. Throw in a cloudless sky and a few gusts of wind , and you may find yourself losing focus (and your hat). Painting in public can also attract onlookers, which I don't mind so much now, but I do recall a time when chatty folks could easily derail my efforts.
Of course, this is not news to people accustomed to painting outside, but my recent exercise was a good reminder for me as I prepare to teach my plein air class next week. I certainly won't be taking everyone to the harbor on the first day, and I'll do my best to address the challenges that face the newbie plein air painter.
For info on my upcoming workshop, please visit: http://alicepicado.weebly.com/workshops.html
I have a passion for plein air painting. I try to capture and share the moments of beauty I find. You can see some of my work online at: