Plein Air

I spent last Sunday in Chestnut Hill, a Philadelphia neighborhood near my house, participating in a plein air event. Now, the timing of this event was not the greatest for me, being as it was a few days before my second cataract surgery. My eyesight was quite confused – when you see 20/20 in one eye and 20/800 in the other, and your close-up vision is also a bit shaky, well, maybe painting is not what you ought to be doing.

But, I went ahead anyway. I want to try this type of event whenever I can. I haven’t been able to do much plein air as I had wanted to so far this summer, once again due to my sight.

Forty artists or so were participating. We were assigned a block along the main street in this section of town, Germantown Avenue. I was in the 8300 block on the east side. I chose a view looking south – an intersection a little bit down the hill. I set up my table and got to work. Once I had the painting pretty well set up, I moved into the shade (it was a very hot day and as the sun moved, I did too).

I enjoyed the experience. I think I’m gradually getting an idea of how plein air and I can work together. I did feel restricted by adhering to the elements of the scene and not adding or amending as I would if I were just painting along free to go anyway I wanted. What this told me is that for me, plein air makes a great starting point, and then I want to embellish. Good. I learned something valuable.

So here are some stages of my painting. I plan to do some changes to it back here at home as soon as my eyes heal a bit more (I had the second surgery yesterday and so far, things have gone well with both eyes). I want to simplify some sections and make some additions to turn it into a landscape that’s partly real and partly straight from my own head. I’ll have to see where it goes.

And here are some photos from the reception – they displayed all the paintings done that day.

23 thoughts on “Plein Air

  1. Claudia McGill Post author

    Yes, me too. The cataract actually came about, or rather, stepped up its progression, because of the retina surgery, and then the other eye had to be done too, because otherwise my eyes would be too mismatched to get glasses to correct. So. I’m hoping to recover well, so far so good

    I don’t really like taking classes anymore because there is always a lot of talking even when we are working on something, and it bothers me. Though I’m friendly enough usually, I think, but in my artwork, well, I just want to be alone with it!

  2. Pingback: More Remodelings | Claudia McGill and Her Art World

  3. Pingback: Plein Air Painting – Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia, PA, June 5 – Claudia McGill, Artist

Comments are closed.