Friday Night Club November 9 – Plein Air Show and Tell

(Submitted by Ingrid Mueller)

It was really lovely to spend the evening with the enthusiastic DVAC Plein Air group hosted by committee chair Wally Lush.

The Don Valley Art Club is a dynamic club with activities for just about every art interest, however Plein Air seems to be making a renaissance and this group heads out to pre-arranged locations more than a dozen times per year, weather permitting.

The evening commenced with introductions and explanation of how the group works by Wally and then a number of members showing some of their finished plein air paintings. They discussed their work and what was involved in the process. It seems that many paintings are not finished on the spot and often photos are taken of the scene in order to capture the current light and finished in the studio.

It became apparent that weather is a very important factor in combining art and the outdoors. Capturing the light is probably most important explained Georgia Bowen. Selecting just the right subject would be another important issue as one can become distracted by your surroundings. A remedy for this is the use of a view finder which helps one focus on a specific subject.

Georgia Bowen and Brent Arlitt demonstrated the types of easels they use and the pros and cons of each.  However, it would appear there are many options from which to choose as well as price points.

The idea of plein air is attractive to many landscape artists but they hesitate because they don’t know where to start. The following is a basic list of some standard plein air equipment: collapsible easel, lightweight paint box and tripod, folding stool, small clamp-on umbrella, paints, brushes, palette knife, solvent, water and painting medium (dependent on medium used), wet-panel carrier, paper towel or rags, canvas/panels/paper.

The following is a link to a blog by Charley Parker about plein air equipment:

While plein air seems cumbersome to studio painters, this type of painting reconnects a person with the spirit and energy of nature and with the opportunity to become completely engaged with natural landscape, not to mention the opportunity to simply enjoy the outdoors. For those who are hesitant, perhaps a good way to start is to simply take a sketch book and pencils and go from there. If the experience is rewarding, purchasing more equipment will ensue.

The following is a link to a blog written by Timothy M. Joe that may help getting started: