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Plein Air Musings, Issue #001 -- Fall in Love Again!
January 15, 2014
Hi Fabulous Painters!

It's 2014 - Time to Fall in Love with Plein Air Again!

Welcome to our very first edition of Plein Air Musings. It is so exciting to start the New Year off with something fresh. After 3 years of publishing and editing our Plein Air Muse website we now have sufficient regular visitors from all over the world to warrant this extra content. After all the distractions and seasonal pleasures/obligations it can be hard to get started on our painting and art again. We get out of the habit so easily, even though we know it is the best thing we can do for our souls and happiness. So many other things can take the place of our art time it seems. Knowing that all of us face this same challenge makes it easier to resolve to get back to our art time as soon as we can.

Start out for a small panel or maybe even a daily 10 minute sketch of some kind. Let us know how it's going on FaceBook - I find that reporting that I am going to do something makes it more likely that it will happen. Claude Monet - Plein Air Artist

Claude Monet - Plein Air Painter

Winston Munn found this quote from Claude Monet:

“When you go out to paint, try to forget what objects you have before you, a tree, a house, a field or whatever. Merely think here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow, and paint it just as it looks to you, the exact color and shape, until it gives your own naïve impression of the scene before you.” Thanks Winston for recommending this quote. It is exactly the right way to go about by-passing our brain's need to label everything and thereby causes problems for us when we are trying to draw and get things to "look like they should". Removing the label is very freeing and helpful. Thanks Claude.

Here is a historic piece of video (1914) that we found that shows the Impressionist painter Claude Monet painting at his beloved Lily Pond in Giverney, France. Monet was one of the original plein air painters of course. It is fun to see the costume of the time - all so elegant! I don't know about you but there is no way I could paint in a beautiful white linen suite.

Marketing Your Art - Do you Need a Website?

Yes, yes, and yes! This is no longer an option, with so many artists now taking to the internet with websites, if you are just starting to market and sell your work you will certainly need to get your own art website up and running this year.

We recommend creating your own website rather than paying big $$$ to have someone else do it for you. There are now many ways to easily get a simple website for very little cost to you other than your time and a short learning curve on how to be your own "web guru". Your art website will allow you to expand your reach and your on-line gallery across the globe. Art buyers and collectors now expect to be able to see your work on-line - it has become an extension of your art business card.

Oil Painting Techniques

"Paint fat over lean" - No doubt most of you have heard this at one time or another. It is surprising how many oil painters forget this basic rule, especially in the heat of the moment when we are out plein air painting. Paint brushes get flying and dipping into who knows what solvent or medium - with no attention paid to what we are doing. I've done this myself before discovering the right way to do it. So here is the recommended way to apply oil paint.

First layer - block in your composition using paint mixed with Mineral Spirits or Turp. This is the "lean" part of the painting. This thinner mixture that will be the foundation of your paint layers.

Second Layer - Thicker paint goes over the first layer with the paint straight from the tube or mixed with a little bit of a painting Medium such as Liquin or Galkyd Lite. Third Layer - if there is one - should be straight up paint - typically this may be some highlights or detail that will go over the previous 2 layers of paint after they are dry. As with everything to do with art, we break the rules all the time. It's just helpful to know why there are rules like this. Mixing thinner paint to go over thicker paint can cause problems with cracking and peeling as the painting ages.

That's it for this month. Happy Painting!

Suzanne Elliott

Editor/Publisher of

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