Click  here  to see some of my plein air paintings.
This French term simply means paintings completed outside, “in the open air.” The concept was embraced by the impressionists in the mid 19th. century, and really became popular in the 1870’s, when paint tubes were invented.
The plein air work serves the artist far better than a camera, in that it does so much more than just record the scene.    I  love being out of doors anyway, and doing a plein air sketch enables me to really connect with the scene in a way that a camera cannot. I am forced to really see the subject matter in front of me - the shapes, colours, relationships and patterns.
The result is a small study which captures the scene as reference for a future large painting in the studio, but it is so much more than that! This little “sketch” usually has more energy, and more confident, bold brushstrokes than the final studio painting. It is more likely to capture the excitement / emotion that caused me to want to paint the scene in the first place!