Plein Air Painting Adventures - Amy Buchanan Arts
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Plein Air Painting Adventures

Plein Air Painting Adventures


I decided to take on plein air painting and if you’re not familiar with the term it literally means in plain air in french or in other words painting outside. I was aware of the challenges before I set out on this adventure. I would be out in the elements with a limited time frame and working on much smaller canvases than I would prefer to while the light, shadows and colors change rapidly. I think when you do anything creative it’s important to challenge yourself and go outside of your comfort zone. I think I usually feel comfortable in a studio, but when I was able to study art abroad in Paris I went to visit Claude Monet’s home in Giverny. I sat on one of the bridges in his garden and did a watercolor painting of the same beautiful ponds he himself painted so long ago. There is so much beauty in nature and being outdoors inspires me to no end.

Gazing Ball

I signed up for the Plein Air painting class Light and Shadow in Art through SBCC Center for Lifelong Learning. I am also taking sewing there right now which is something I have been wanting to learn how to do for a long time. The plein air class meets at a different location each week and it’s been a fun experience and a challenge at the same time!

The first location I went to was the Carpenteria Bluffs. I had joined the class late so I didn’t go to the right location and ended up being an hour late. With only a short time frame I started painting in a frenzy hoping to get a somewhat finished painting in a few hours. I found an interesting tree on the bluff and decided to work on that. To be honest it was an uncomfortable experience I was so stressed about making a decent painting and it was hot so I kept moving from the sun to the shade back and forth. I actually like how the painting came out, but I might do a few touch ups.



The next week we met at Adabeth’s house on the mesa in Santa Barbara. She has a beautiful home overlooking the ocean and as we were demoing grey color mixings a whale started spouting right in front of us. She had this really pretty blue gazing ball in her yard so I decided to make that part of my painting. Again I need to go back and layer some of the other colors into the panting. One of the challenges for me with plein air is that with oil paint being such a slow drying media it can sometimes make it difficult to layer vibrant colors over ones you have already painted.


I will probably break this up into another post so it isn’t too long. Next post will be about painting in the cemetery in Carpenteria and at the SBCC campus. Thanks for checking out my blog!!

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