Plein Air or Studio Painting? Think Outside the Box (Online art lesson # 58)

Wonderful  opportunities await the plein air painter.  Studio painting provides different advantages.   But sometimes, it’s a combination of the two that suits the situation.  You may have a lot of paint boxes, but you don’t have to think inside them.

Lillian Kennedy painting plein air and in the studio simulaneously

Lillian Kennedy painting plein air and in the studio simulaneously - click this and all photos to enlarge.

Standing in the house, but painting out of doors?  Take a screen out and put your easel on the ground out the window.

The iris looked perfect from inside le petit atelier (aka laundry room), but they looked even better when I leaned out just a tad.  so I painted them plein air while enjoying the shady comfort of home and keeping an eye on the spin cycle.

Earlier this spring, I took out an upstairs screen, opened the window, and  painted  apple blossoms  at eye level.

.Lillian Kennedy acrylic plein air iris painting        You can put a bouquet on a table  in front of an open window.  No spotlight can replace the beauty of real sunlight and direct seeing, and the convenience of working in the shade on a flat floor can extend concentration. There you are – comfy as anything and within reach of the coffee pot.  You do need to open the window – not just to use the term plein air, but because a pane of glass makes a BIG difference in the quality and intimacy of the experience.

Ann Hayes plein air painting in the rain and staying dry

Ann Hayes painting on her veranda

How about painting plein air in the pouring rain while staying dry and content?  Take a look at Ann Hayes doing just that.  She would have missed the beautiful soft light if she hadn’t had it both ways by standing on her veranda.

Do you have a special view from your home? Are there times when you physically aren’t up to being out in the hot sun or pouring rain, but would like to go painting?  Mix it up a bit for more opportunities.  Tell us about it in the comments.


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9 Responses to Plein Air or Studio Painting? Think Outside the Box (Online art lesson # 58)

  1. While in your studio last week, I noticed your new iris painting. The picture here doesn’t do it justice. I wish everyone could see it in person–they would really be able to see that quality of light you are talking about here… I had no idea you painted it “outside.” You are so clever! …and oh! –I’m jealous that you got to paint with Ann on her verandah while it was raining. What a joyous experience that must have been! You Go, Girl!!!!!

  2. Lillian Kennedy says:

    Hi Margaret, Glad you liked the painting – I put that in the past tense because I intended to work on it some more from photos, and have begun that process. Hope you’ll still like the finished piece just as much!
    I didn’t paint with Ann in the rain. Because the Club Tuesday class painted at her home the day before (but I didn’t take any photos), I went back out yesterday as I was making the post, and it happened to fit in even more perfectly because of the rain. Tuesday it was a great set up because of the sun and heat. Her wrap around porch as SO many views, she will be able to use it a lot!

    • I do so hope I get to see the finished Iris piece! …and she DOES have a lovely verandah. When I was much younger, I used to dream of having a verandah that wrapped around my whole house… a beautiful yellow house trimmed in white. It was a nice dream. BTW, when I was in the house at the end of our Tuesday event, a bug DID get trapped in my painting, and not only that, it looks like another either peed or pooped on my painting…I like that painting, and I would love to work on it some more. I think that bug will become entombed in oil–LOL!

      • OH! …and I never really thought about it before, but I do have a SMALL front porch that I could use to set up my easel and hope for a great sunset! 🙂

      • Lillian Kennedy says:

        When I was a child, I dreamed of having a house with no roof! I thought about how wonderful that would be a lot, but it never included all the variations in weather.

  3. Jean in NH says:

    Great post. The iris painting is wonderful as is.

  4. Janette Rozene says:

    Lillian, Another great post! Since I live on the third floor of a 3 family house right now, I can’t try the inside/outside easel concept, but I love the idea. I could paint looking out the window or on the porch!

    If anyone is in the NY neighborhood this summer, there is a NY Botanical Garden exhibit on Monet’s garden in Giverny and a phone app.


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