Plein Air with a Little Flair

Last month I joined the California Art Club and attended a group paint-out at El Matador State Beach. It was an exhilarating experience to paint on the beach with other artists. Did I feel a little like one of the French Impressionists? Yes I did and I have to admit I was smiling all day. I made some new friends and broke in my new French easel in the sand.

I took out my 12″ x 24″ canvas and got a few comments on how large it was…this made me chuckle because I already knew that it might seem like a bit much to tackle for a 5 hour painting. As a teacher I would have discouraged using it but what the heck…I was there to make a painting and I was going to have fun! Of course I didn’t finish my painting but I took a few photos and brought it back to complete in my studio.

In the photo you’ll see that there is a very large white house that does not appear in the finished painting. The biggest challenge for me is remembering that I don’t have to paint things exactly as they are. The artists had the option of  receiving a critique from Sharon Burkett Kaiser the Chairman of the Malibu/Ventura Chapter of the CAC and I wanted to know what she had to say about my painting. She had mostly complimentary things to say about my painting but commented about the white house that I had put in the painting. She said to me, “You don’t like that house, do you?” I had to laugh because I kept thinking it reminded me of a hotel and how it ruined the view of the beach. She said, “Leave it out.” I let that sink in a bit…I didn’t have to put in everything I saw?

Wow….what a revelation! Taking out that monstrosity made a world of difference in my painting and I’ve been reminding myself ever since that I have that thing called an “Artistic License”. My challenge is using it  every day in every painting!

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