Northern Neck Artisan Trail · oil painting · Pastel painting · Plein Air · Sketch

Plein Air Season Starting Soon

Last year I did not get out much, at least not much with a paintbrush in hand and I aim to remedy that this year. I think there were just too many rainy days and it got a bit dull painting fog and rain week after week. Hoping for some more sun this year but not too much heat or humidity. You know, just perfect Spring, Summer and Fall weather. But even without it, I’m determined to improve my plein air work even if it is just to do more compositional and color studies.

The Northern Neck Plein Air Group sort of got a little lost from our priority list last year and I’m hoping we can resurrect the group this year and find a day (or even two) when folks can venture out and team up to paint. It really is much more fun with a buddy (or 6).

I’m less fearful of setting up in a public parking lot then I used to be – even if alone. But I’m more fearful of trying to pull over on the side of the road when a scene calls out to me. Locally “the side of the road” tends to be a ditch hidden by weeds, so it can be difficult to ferret out a safe place to park. With a group of drivers, it’s even more challenging, so we may be working out ways to “carpool” on our painting adventures.

We currently have 31 members listed in the Northern Neck Plein Air Group Facebook page but are always looking for more. We are always seeking new ideas, locations, folks who want to get involved. If you’d like to learn more, have an idea for a location, or just want to swing by one day and see what we do; drop me a comment here, or a Message in Facebook or check out the group here.

Folks can work in oils, watercolors, acrylic, pen and ink sketching, etc. I think we all have resorted to taking photos, but the object is to create a painting or sketch from life. It’s kind of hard to explain how this “informs” your studio work later, but it really does. Having seen a place and really studied it intently over several hours helps you overcome the faults that show up in a photo. And yes, we are free to “fix” a composition in a plein air painting as sometimes trees just aren’t quite in the right place or people walk out in front of you at just the wrong time.

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