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Sunday, July 28, 2019

Why I Paint Plein Air....A Magical Experience

'Garden Magic'               7x5           pastel             ©Karen Margulis
available $100

This could have only happened on a plein air outing. Painting from photos is my mainstay but I know I miss out on so much when I stay inside my studio to paint. There is magic out in nature.....even when it nature in the middle of a big city. I have painted coneflowers many times from my photos but I don't think it will ever be the same after I experienced painting them from life and experiencing the magic. 

Michael and I had flown to Chicago a couple of weeks ago to drive our kid's car and two cats down to Atlanta. Our son Corey, wife Grace and three grandchildren have moved to Atlanta! I will miss visiting them in Chicago but wouldn't trade a thing to have them close to home. We only had a day in Chicago before heading back with the car and cats so I wanted to visit my favorite place in ....Lurie Garden next to the Art Institute of Chicago. I love this natural prairie garden and I have seen in in every season. This time I brought some pastels so I could paint.

Painting in the shade at the Lurie Garden in Chicago
It was a hot day so we found a bench in the shade. I could see some of the white coneflowers at the edge of the garden bed so they became my subject. I brought my Heilman Single Sketchbox  which I keep filled with Girault pastels....the perfect set up for painting on the go. I had a 5x7 piece of foam core and several pieces of 5x7 paper cut. I don't use an easel when I do this kind of plein air on the go. I simple clip the paper to the foam core and hold it while I paint. It keeps me from getting caught up in the details and only painting what is important to me.

I had worked on my painting for 15 minutes or so. My penchant for people watching was a distraction. It was a busy summer day in the city and there was a lot to take in. But I managed to get the information I needed for the painting. Just as I was ready to clean up a butterfly landed on my knee. I was sitting crossed legged on the bench. It was very odd....almost as if she was looking at my painting. I didn't want to move to take a photo but the butterfly didn't budge. After about 5 minutes I took out my camera and got some photos. She still didn't move. I decided to keep on working on the painting because I didn't want to disturb her. After about 15 minutes she flew away. I feel like she gave me her step of approval. It was truly a special moment tin time.

Pure Magic!


Unknown said...

These are absolutely gorgeous! Thank you for sharing!

Kerry said...

Magical: both image and experience.

RoK said...

A butterfly with a discerning eye!

theoboy said...

What a magical moment. I would not have wondered if the butterfly had sat directly on your painting. Its really great