“En plein air” = “in the open air”.
I once came across “plein air” eggs for sale at a farmers’ market on a trip to the French countryside. Thus, it follows that a “plein air” artist might also be called “free-range”, or even “cage-free”!
Plein air painting is painting outdoors — in the open air! Landscapes, seascapes, sky-scapes, figures in the landscape, outdoor gardens, urban scenes — the act of painting any subject outdoors, in any medium, from life, qualifies as plein air painting.
Each artist has their own motivations for painting this way, as well as their own methods, ideas and goals. I love to be outdoors, in nature, in whatever kind of weather nature sees fit to provide. Painting outdoors makes the experience even better! My aim is to become immersed in the setting, to find beauty, to capture the magic of a special moment and place and to share that feeling with the viewer.
Plein air painting is freedom, challenge, adventure, meditation, a refuge, a connection with nature. It is an education, and it is a beautiful way to experience life .
For more information on the history and other aspects of plein air painting, check out the following resources to start: