The American artist Brian Stewart said that painting plein air is about going out and painting directly from nature first. The goal is to paint a picture that feels like nature rather than looks like nature. I like this very much and this is one of the reasons why I like to paint out there. Painting plein air with pastels in this stormy weather is a real challenge. The moisture affects the pastels and paper, the scenery is changing ever so quickly and the wind will blow the sand right in your face or spread it all over your stuff. Probably it doesn’t matter which painting medium you choose, every technique has it’s advantages and disadvantages. For me it’s not so much about going home with a successful painting. In the end it is about observation, of feeling the wind, sand, the spray, of being there, surrounded by this light. Who cares if the sketch isn’t perfect, I certainly do not.
Sketch (pastel) 23×6 cm, 2012,© Astrid Volquardsen
This is a sketch from a small part of a sand dune. Sky and sea weren’t of importance, I just concentrated on the shapes and shadows of the dunes. While painting I didn’t get the hue and value of the grass right, because I was missing a colour. It probably would have been better to pick another color and stick to the correct value.In the end it is not so important, because when I will transfer this to a larger scale in my studio I know where I need to be careful.
In my next post I will tell you abput my plein air set up.