Plein Air painting is a concept that has been around since the dawn of time; utilizing the beauty of the outdoors to inspire artwork, and creating the painting outside directly in front of the subject matter. While this style of painting is not our typical one, we were so excited to partner with Church Street Marketplace to bring three, 1-hour plein air painting events to Church Street! Thanks to the Pomerleau Family Foundation we were able to offer this fun and creative experience for free to participants! Painting one of our “original” paintings from when the studio opened in 2015, “Church Street”, it was a thrill to be able to sit in front of the inspiration for the painting as we worked. As can be expected, the event drew much attention and inspired many people to join-in right on the spot! In a season of much rain, we were blessed with a bright, sunny day of about 80 degrees!
While painting outside is certainly good for the soul, no doubt it also has its challenges. Even when you are lucky enough to have a beautiful day, unpredictable elements mean you always have to be prepared to pivot as necessary. A major issue whenever planning an outdoor painting event? Wind! Basically a canvas propped on an easel can quickly mimic the sail of a sailboat! Even the smallest breeze can send a canvas flying, and that is never good, especially when it is covered with wet paint! Generally we combat this by assessing the amount of wind the day-of, and choosing to paint without easels as necessary. While easels are much nicer to work with, when dealing with wind sometimes just having the canvas on the table can avoid unwanted accidents.
Another strong consideration when working outdoors, temperature! Both heat and cold can have negative effects on acrylic paint. While cold can cause it to become clumpy and not easy to work with, the heat, as you can imagine, means it dries very quickly! Sometimes too quickly! We combat this by waiting as long as possible to give out paint, and providing plenty of paint water to keep the paint as loose as possible. Inevitably we also just use more paint as much of it dries too quickly.
Even with the potential challenges, however, it is hard to beat working in the natural light and fresh air… especially when you live in Vermont and have such a short window of summer! Thank you again to the Church Street Marketplace for letting us be a part of your summer programming, and thank you to all folks who came out to enjoy our Plein Air event! Check out the story that WCAX did here! Cheers!