Aug 4, 2016

What does a Plein Air Painting Trip REALLY look like? Part 3 Painting & Drawing Tips


Or 6 Ways to Get You Painting on the Road

MORNING CALM - 3 x 4 - Watercolour
Early morning is sometimes the nicest time to paint on the water. 

Let me first explain, like you, I don't travel alone. I travel with my husband and our dog, Max.  (A new puppy who is now 4.5 months old). My husband is a non-painter and our new puppy is definitely a non-painter!  To have a successful trip with other members: ie husband gets to fish, go crabbing and sight seeing;  puppy gets lots of walks and attention; and I get to do my thing requires lots of pre-planning. This has been my blog focus lately.  See the glamour of a Plein Air Travel Trip here, see Preplanning Ideas here,

Now, the meat and potatoes:  How to get your Art into the traveling day:

1.     Combine Activities: Walks and hikes are great times to combine art with life.   Max and I usually head out for walks in the early morning and late afternoon/evening each day.  I use those times to scout out places to paint.  After a good walk Max is ready to have a nap, one of the great features of a puppy!  He and I will grab my paint bag and while he naps I can work on a painting or sketch.  

2.    Paint Small: Now is not the time to work on a large canvas.  Be realistic, you only have an hour or two:  Light changes, hunger calls, other members want to move on.  I use a 5 x 7 format for watercolours and my small 5 x 8 sketchbook for quick sketches. 

3.    Be Prepared: The Girl Guides have it right "Be Prepared". Have you art bags packed and ready to go. If you have 2 hours to paint you don't want to spend it rounding up gear.  I have a special bin for my cameras and paint bags.  Whatever the situation - basic kit, full gear or painting on a log - I can grab my kit and I am ready to roll.
FISHING IN THE TIDAL POOLS - 5 x 7 - Watercolour
Catch the early morning changing skies.  Had lots of cloudy skies this trip, got some great cloud formations in my pictures. 

4.    Share Jobs:  My husband and I have been camping for years and we have our own routines. He likes a slow start and big breakfast later in the morning, I am a early riser, eat light and go kind of person.  Some days I hit the road and paint for a couple of hours early in the morning and other days I take it slow and keep him company for breakfast.  We also take turns making dinner when in camp and that will also be a painting time for me when it is not my turn to cook.  

BUSYBODY - 5 X 7 - Watercolour
A really fun rainy day project, even tried a few new things with it.

5.    Be Realistic:  A painting trip is not working in a studio.  Things can change.  It can rain for days.  If you are going to new places, on the move every other day, you won't be able to do as much as you want.  I have been doing painting trips each summer for years and know what I need for each situation.  Yes, even those days of rain. Now I pull out my iPad and use my reference pictures to paint in the trailer.  In the old, pre digital days I always carried a batch of reference pictures I could pull out and work with. 

6.    Take Risks: To get work done you need to take risks all the time.  There are the risks you face as an artist, that whole blank page thing.  You may find yourself stalling with little excuses, no shade, can't see anything to paint, little things like that. But the biggest risk is dealing with the fear of painting in front of people.  Yes, there is fear.  What will people think? or say? The fear of getting out in front of people to paint is a big one that stops many artists.  It is not always easy but once you get started success does build success.

Summer is nearly over, still time to get out your basic kit, take a risk and start working.  Not too soon to start planning for next year, make it  really rock.

If you missed my last post series on Drawing Tips for summer fun check them out.  It is a four part series starting here 

Looking for a starting point in your drawing?  I will be happy to get you up and running.  Call me now and set up a few lessons to get you on the road to a summer of fun with your art.

Special Note: Looking for a fun Plein Air Painting Festival centered on an historic site? Right here in the Fraser Valley. August 26, 27, & 28. Prizes for everyone at all levels.  $15 - to register and get more information.  See you there.

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Have a great artful day, Wendy


Brenda Hill CDM said...

love the Busy Body!

Wendy Mould AFCA said...

My first crow painting and I was very pleased with him too.