Back in January, I took a plein air painting workshop and I had an epiphany: I really am not a landscape plein air painter and am not enjoying trying to be one. I have no idea why my brain didn’t register that fact until I was in the class and talking to the instructor at the end of the workshop. My actual comment was “Great workshop but I think I really hate plein air painting.”. I said it and surprised myself because that wasn’t at all what I intended to express. I think I meant to just say “Thank you, great workshop.”. But as I said what I said, this pressure lifted off my brain and I knew it was true. I had forgotten this monumental foot-in-mouth comment until the opening of the show of the students’ paintings from this plein air workshop. But no worries, more than a few people who overheard me that day were going to remind me.. They laughed. I laughed. And then I thought about crawling under a rock.
Don’t get me wrong, I love plein air landscape paintings and creating art outdoors but it’s not my love. If I had to put my finger on why, it’s all the gear: pochade box, tripod, umbrella, panels, panel carrier, paints, mediums, brushes, towels, wet wipes, bug spray, sunblock, hat, and other stuff to keep me going while I stand on the scene for 2-3 hours. Not to mention all the pressure: “Is this a good spot? Should I spend another 30 mins scouting compositions? The light is changing!”. You know what’s easier? Sketching with watercolor, paper, ink, and markers. Everything fits in your bag and you can do it just about anywhere. Not to mention, who cares if light changes or colors are off…it’s a sketch. Just do another.
Photo for this blog entry is of me, age 8. I think it properly captures my internal mind struggle.