Tuesday, August 24, 2010

En plein air.....

I have always wished I could speak French...it's such a romantic language I feel.....but alas it was not meant to be....after failing the subject twice in high school, they finally kicked me out....and so...I only know a few words. Ce n'est pas vrai?

En plein air is a phrase most artists are aware of....I don't know how to say it but I know what it means!! En plein air is a French expression meaning in the open air and is used to describe painting outdoors. Claude Monet and Renoir painted outdoors.

So today was the day for painting outdoors.....or should that read...today was the day for en plein air....or do I say, today was the day for en plein??? I donno but the point is I did it!! I painted outdoors....no wait....I attempted to paint outdoors!

This was my bag of tricks that I brought along. My watercolour crayons, brushes, watercolours and paper. Oh and yeah some water!

We drove about 10 mins from home to Bate Island and plopped ourselves down in front of this view of the Ottawa River. It looked like a good place for a landscape painting. Now look closely....you'll see a little sculpture in the middle ground....I've marked it with the word "Inukshuk". Do you know what a Inukshuk is? I had never seen one prior to moving to Ottawa and there are lots of them around here. The word itself means "in the likeness of a human". The Inuit (our northern Canadians, some may know of them as Canada's Eskimos) use them to mark trails in the snow, to show directions to travelers and show locations of good places to hunt and fish. You can learn more about them here or here.

Anyway....getting back to the point. We're all set up to paint en plein. Notice closely the thermoses. The all important cup of tea must be present if we're going to get serious about this expedition!

This is Alison my painting bud! We laugh and joke and make fun of ourselves more than we actually paint anything. But does it matter? No.....we're en pleining....or we're en plein...oh heck...we're outdoors painting! Don't ask to see one of my paintings...don't even think about it....I was busy....

drinking tea with my little pinky pointing to the sky!


  1. LOL! I still need to do my nature walk for the Drawing Lab book ... I just don't find it easy to do outside ... with no desk, comfy chair, drinks, phone ringing, kids screaming. ...??? LOL! Looks like you had fun!

  2. If I saw a picture of my sister with a thermos I would expect to find wine in it instead of tea and it would be coffee for me. You look like you were having a good time and I do see some paint on that picture on the easel! Isn't the experience so much more important than the product?