Bee it Plein Air or in My Studio, Inspiration is Everywhere

Plein air painting is not always practical.

I take a lot of photos to help inspire me when I must work in my studio instead of outside. Weather, time constraints, how I'm feeling and the painting subject, can all contribute to the need to stay indoors. This photo I took in my flower garden was the perfect motivator for a day in my studio. To help give it some life and to help me feel more like I was sitting outdoors, I viewed the photo on my computer monitor while I sketched and painted. For me it enhances the colors and lighting, giving it much more depth than a flat photo. And unlike a static print, I can zoom in on details much like sitting closer to a real subject outdoors.



En Plein Air at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds

What a wonderful weekend! Painting en plein air on location is so inspiring. The flowers were beautiful and the weather was outstanding (even with a few sprinkles).

Here are my two watercolor paintings from the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

There were lots of people there even though the fair didn't start for a couple of weeks. They were busy building, washing, painting, planting and doing lots of work to prepare for the big day. It was fun to sit and paint while all the commotion went on around me.

Visit my studio to see more of my art.


Plein Air Painting on Vacation

I love painting en plein air. So much more inspiring than painting from a flat photograph. Painting on vacation sounds wonderful doesn't it? Take a marvelous road trip, say to the Southwest, Utah, Arizona. Beautiful scenery, warm breezes, inspiration everywhere. Unfortunately its not as easy as it sounds. The vacation was wonderful, but finding time for art before dark (the day goes by so quickly), coordinating with Mother Nature for good weather to sit outdoors, and add struggling with high altitude lethargy, all makes for a rough creative state of mind. To compensate, I relied on my trusty digital camera and took hundreds of reference pictures. 

This 45 minute study was one of only 3 pieces I did during this 10 day excursion. I'll use it along with many digital photos for a much more in-depth painting in the comfort of my studio.