A Plein Air Painter's "Driving Meditation" While Seeking Locations to Paint
by David W. Mayer Sr.
To my fellow landscape artists,
As plein air painters, we too often drive and chat -- about paints and brushes or collectors and galleries -- and forget to really pay attention to the surrounding nature as the landscape unfolds.
Its an old joke, but it actually happens, that plein air painters will spend the entire day driving around looking for the "perfect" place to paint yet end up coming home without ever wetting a brush.
However, I have come across the perfect solution, and that is listening to observations of nature around us on the captivating audio CD “Wildlives” by Susan J Tweit, a friend and field-scientist-turned-nature writer from Salida, Colorado. Susan is every bit as much a painter as the rest of us, however she "paints with words" and not tube colors and a brush.
"Wildlives" is not about moose and deer, but is a selection of audio segments about truly cultivating awareness of the "Community of Land" as Susan expresses it.
Here's an example of the colorful narrative script from "Inland Ocean", a segment about the vast sagebrush lands in the American West:
"...and in its tapestry of muted, sun-faded colors: silver-green sagebrush against rusty soil, blue-green rabbitbrush over dust tan, gray shadscale dotting ochre badlands, olive-green bitterbrush on gray-purple basalt.
Bunchgrasses cured to straw by summer’s heat; splotches of wildflowers in sulfur yellow, scarlet, violet-blue, ivory, orange, and rose pink.
Beauty comes as well in the shifts of wind and weather that send a cloud shadow skimming over the surface in a cool racing blur, or the foliage of the sagebrush dancing like sun-spangled ripples."
Just as Clyde Aspevig uses the term "land snorkeling" to express the concept of really paying very close attention to the landscape and not just letting it "whiz by" in a blur, these easy listening short audio segments will help you to train your mind and eye to see much more of nature ... as an active participant and not just a passive observer ... and come to be a better painter.
You can read more about Susan and the "Wildlives" audio CD at:
There are also links there to order the CD such as:
I know these CD selections will inspire you in the same way that they have inspired my recent plein air work.
David W. Mayer
West Creek Studio
PS - Susan's website link is listed on Favorite Links Section of pleinairmuse.com