It’s too bad that October has only thirty-one days because it is one of the most beautiful months of the year. The sun has a special glow, the sky is intensely blue and the temperatures and humidity begin dropping. In Louisiana, this is the time of year of festivals, football games, and other outdoor activities such as plein air painting.
Painting from life in the open air doesn’t seen unusual today, but it is a relatively new thing in the history of art. Before the Impressionists revolutionized the art world by painting outdoors with brighter colors and heavy brush strokes, most paintings were completed in a studio environment. During the past decades painting en plein air has become a popular past time, with thousands of artists pursuing the activity because it is fun, not to make perfect artwork. Plein air painting is like golf for artists, so there must be a competition!
On October 19, 2014, FW Gallery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana sponsored its first Plein-Air Fest. The day was perfect with cloudless blue skies and no chance of rain. Registered artists picked up their canvases at 10:00 am. One of the assigned areas to paint was a former artists’ colony located behind the gallery. We hiked through some fairly heavy underbrush, looked for the perfect composition, set up our gear, and started working.
For me, painting outdoors is such a rush. I have to think and execute quickly, and since I am a rather slow painter, this pushes me from my comfort zone. I am a rock star when I am in front of the easel outdoors. I worry less about the results and enjoy the process.
We returned our canvases about 2:00 pm. Rozlan Fransen framed the paintings and installed them for the Wet Wall Reception that evening. Viewing the different works by the participating artists was a treat; even though we were in the same area, no one had the same perspective. The show was a lovely end to a beautiful day.
I wish there were more weekends in October so I could get out and push some paint around…