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Thursday, July 16, 2020

This Time Last Year: Why I Paint Plein Air

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

I am camping this week so I am sharing a post from the archives. Enjoy!

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!

1 comment:

MikeH said...

What a magical moment to capture this beautiful butterfly admiring your lovely painting of the cone flowers! You have lifted me up by sharing this delightful adventure, Karen! With all the craziness around us, observing the wonders of nature is my way of staying grounded. Thank you! And Happy Painting to ALL! :)