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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Overcoming One of the Biggest Challenges of Plein Air


'Palm Study'       5x7      pastel plein air     ©Karen Margulis

It can be overwhelming to paint en plein air. There is so much information to process. How does one choose a subject? How does one simplify? I just finished a quick video with information on using viewfinders and finding a subject to paint. It is available on my Patreon Page. www.patreon.com/karenmargulis.  In my research for the video I came across this older blog post that drives my point home. Enjoy this post from the archives.

Choosing a subject to paint and then simplifying the information is one of the most difficult tasks for a plein air painter. Sometimes it is best to see what can be removed from the scene rather than try to fit it all in.

Ask yourself....What is important and what can I ignore?



My first plein air demo of the workshop was done just after breakfast on our second day. It was a hot day and the sun was intense. There was not much shade so I decided it would be good for everyone to  stay on the patio in the shade of the big red umbrellas. It was a comfortable spot. There were things to paint but they were hidden. I decided that this would make a good lesson in simplification and elimination.

One of those big red umbrellas was in the way! And there were the tennis courts in the background. All things that were not important to my painting. I wanted to paint the palm tree.....more specifically I was interested in the light on the palm tree. I could see enough of the tree to put down these 'notes' on my paper. All I had to do was move slightly when I needed to see more. I reminded myself to look past the umbrella and the tennis courts. I took the information in the scene that I needed and ELIMINATED the distractions. This is something we as artists can do....the camera cannot!

Here are a few photos from the demo. Thank you to Mario from Pastel Workshops Croatia for the photos.






The palm tree in the evening from another angle



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