Week 18 - Painting En Plein Air. I had chosen to do this activity during the same week as Digital Collage for a contrast in working styles and also because I could work with one when I couldn't work with the other.
For the first time trying plein air painting, I packed up my French Field Easel which is usually set up as my studio easel, and helped Brenda get set up with another easel of mine. We headed out to Codorus State Park near the Mary Ann Furnace Trail where the overflow parking is located. There is an old barn there that Brenda made a painting of and I painted a distant hill with trees. I used an inexpensive water mixable oil paint set for the first time and found them stiff at first, but added in Acrylic gloss medium and they went on better. The weather was in the mid seventies, with sunny skies and swirly clouds. The sounds of nature and the occasional car passing on the road below with butterflies bouncing among the tall grass in the field, was also quite pleasant.
We had a couple of ladies out walking their dogs briefly stop to check on what we were painting. Nothing too traumatic, but one of my fears while out painting, that I might actually have to talk to a stranger about what I'm doing.
Setting up and taking down my French Field Easel was also problem free, thankfully. The time passed quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Brenda had some difficulty painting with the easel I had put together for her, so after watching several plein air painting videos on YouTube and seeing different Pochade Boxes with their fancy straps and drawers, we set about making our own inexpensive Pochade Boxes out of wooden sketching boxes bought from A.C. Moore.
The process involved inserting 1/4 - 20 T-Nuts in the bottom of the boxes allowing them to be mounted on a tripod. We bought inexpensive wooden rulers and used screws to make a brace to keep the lids open while painting and added a bungie cord setup to hold our canvas boards in place while we painted. They fit quite nicely in a backpack with our tripods and other painting essentials. We tried them out on Sunday at another part of Codorus State Park and they worked quite well, though now we feel it is time to invest in better quality paints.
Now that I've experienced Plein Air Painting, it is definitely something I want to do more of this summer and fall. If I continue to enjoy painting en plein air, I may invest in a better quality pochade box, but for now this one is pretty cool.
Next up in Create-A-Thon 2017, a yearlong creativity exploration - Experimenting with Yupo Paper.