Since I've been doing quite a bit of painting on location this summer, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts about the experience of plein air painting. I'll deal with the less desirable aspects first, and then follow up with what I love:
- Bugs of all kinds (ticks, mosquitoes, bees, etc.). I'm not the world's bravest outdoorsy type and I hate the creepy crawlies.
- Sunburn! There is no way to avoid the sun. Be prepared and deal with it.
- Being covered in goo (otherwise known as bug spray and sunscreen) due to list items 1 and 2.
- Finding a location with lots of lovely shady spots, but the amazing scene that you are passionately in love with is only visible when standing in the blazing sun.
- Forgetting to pack one essential thing (and I ALWAYS seem to forget to pack one essential thing!)
- Having to lug around a bunch of heavy art supplies and equipment (no matter how much I try to pare down, it is still too much stuff!)
- Getting out before breakfast time and staying out beyond dinner time because that's when the best light is. (Okay, my days revolve around my meals. Note; those are TWO meals I'm missing! )
- Getting in the groove while the light is excellent, only to encounter a passer-by who feels like a nice, long chat.
- Enduring the elements (sun, wind, rain, heat, cold, ever-changing light, etc.), all the while hoping to create something brilliant.
- Spending 2 to 3 hours painting and ending up with something that's nowhere near "brilliant"!
Lest you are thinking, "Stop your complaining. If you don't like it, stay inside!", stay tuned for the top 10 things to love about plein air painting and see why I put up with it and am becoming more and more obsessed with it. You may be surprised to find some overlap ;-)