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Wednesday, May 09, 2012

The Benefits of Plein Air...The People!

'The Clearing'      6x8       oil on panel    purchase $125  
People love to watch plein air painters at work. People love to talk to plein air painters at work! Some artists love to talk back and answers questions and for others this part of the plein air experience can be a distraction. I was somewhere in between the two but after last weekend I have changed my mind.  As much as I love the beauty and solitude of painting outside by myself, the people you meet can add so much more to my experience. Here is what happened last weekend....

Photo by Aggie Villanueva  http://www.aggiev.org/ 
My friend Jayne Bachman and I had just finished our picnic lunch of PB & J's and we set up alongside the Toccoa River in a local park. The weather was clearing and we were enjoying the quiet punctuated by the sound of the rushing river and the birds.  I was having a great time with my oil paint trial and oblivious to the people wandering past.  At one point a dog ran past and a woman came up to the picnic table where we had set up. She asked if she could put her camera equipment bag on 'our' table. She explained that she was a professional photographer...a fellow artist. She went off with her dog to photograph the river.
In a few minutes an older lady came up to the table and introduced herself as the photographer's mom. She asked if she minded if she talked with us. Now this is the point where some artists might be frustrated. Especially if they are making progress on their painting. But I am glad we didn't let our paintings become more important than the interaction with our visitors. We enjoyed a lovely conversation and the photographer, Aggie, took our photos at our easel.
I know that Jayne and I will remember the day not for the paintings we did but for the people we met. When I look at the painting that I did work on I will remember the sights and sounds of the day and I will remember talking to Aggie and her mom and watching her dog Smudge swim in the river. This will color any paintings I do in the studio of this place. And that is a good thing!

You can see more of Aggie's photography on her website 


Marian Fortunati said...

Great post... And you're right... depending upon the people, of course, but that can often be the best part of a plein air excursion.

robertsloan2art said...

This is so great! I fall into the sociable category of plein air painters. I like it when people come up to talk. If they ask about it, I enjoy explaining my technique or something about the medium, whatever they asked.

It's a great way to meet new friends. Sometimes I'll sketch at parties if I don't know anyone there, just because that'll break the ice. Someone will come up to look at it, then we'll talk about art and from there get into any other topic.

It also helps me stop and get a second look at what I'm doing. If people are around I have an easier time avoiding major problems because even non-artists can sometimes spot what's in my blind spot.

Also, sometimes they'll buy the painting right off the easel. There's a personal connection when a buyer sees me paint, it's special. They remember the entire experience and I know the painting's gone to a good home.

Adriana Guidi said...

Oh nice ..very cool! The way you tell this story, I can just visualize all the different people coming up and talking to you..back and forth and with the dog..just enjoying that whole experience-the painting and the interaction with everyone.I really have got to get out there and do some plein air painting.