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Plein Air Musings, Issue 3 - More than a Hobby, Its a Lifestyle
March 15, 2014
Hi Fabulous Painters!

Plein Air Painting, More Than a Hobby, Its a Lifestyle..

In California where I live, Spring is already in the air as I write this in mid March. I apologize to our northern dwelling artists friends who still have a chunk of winter to endure before the warmth returns. I recently talked with a friend in Maine who said that she could smell Spring even though the ground is still frozen and covered with snow. Maybe her positive attitude can help the thaw hurry up and get there. Keep smelling the Spring Mary!

Here at our motto is "Plein Air Painting, more than a hobby, it's a lifestyle". When I was designing the website 3 years ago this tagline came to me as the perfect way to convey what plein air painting means to most of its fans. We are truly fanatics about it. We find ways to weave it into our lives no matter what is going on. It is the one thing that consistently delivers joy, peace and relaxation to those participating.

There is something truly magical about knowing that this is a safe harbor activity that I can engage in for the remainder of my life if I choose to. Life can be difficult for all of us at times. Knowing that we have a safe and happy place to rest in front of our easels out in the landscape is a true blessing. Smelling the paint, listening to the birds, feeling the sun and wind as we stand there...My gratitude to the Muse for this wonderful gift of art and nature all wrapped up into one package. Let's get out there and enjoy regularly...

Here is a Selfie photo from a couple of months ago - 2 plein air painting buddies out enjoying an afternoon of painting at the beach.

Shadows and Plein Air - Some tips on Painting Shadows

As the sun will be returning soon, this is a good time to review what we know about painting shadows while out plein air painting.

Shadows give definition to paintings and provide another exciting element to work with in our design and composition tool kit.

• Plein air painting either in early morning or late afternoon light provides us with good shadows. Similarly, Fall, Winter and early Spring provide those lovely lengthy and interesting shadow shapes that can make a very simple painting sing.

• Paint the shadows first – they will change quickly – so get them into your painting right away.

• The shadow at the base of a tree is denser and darker than the shadow of the top of the tree – this rule applies to any cast shadow from an object.

• Ned Mueller passed on this next tip at one of his workshops. When painting a building with an open door, use red in your shadow mix – the warm shadow color inside the open door, will “invite” the viewer to mentally step into that space.

By this time next month the birds will be in full nesting activity and more and more of us will also be out and about enjoying the green of fresh grass and longer days. Until then, keep the brush wet doing small paintings of anything that excites your interest.

Suzanne Elliott Publisher/Editor of

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