Monday, March 26, 2012

Artist at Work on Picnic Island

Visual artists who work in outdoor public spots, and plein air painters, often face challenges:

-  weather (for me it's the beach) can be too wet, too humid, or too windy
-  wildlife when in the natural habitat inland or on the shore can be territorial
visitors can be either a distraction or a welcome diversion
safety can be a concern in isolated locations
medium can be problematic - acrylics dry quickly even with gel medium mixtures
electronics don't perform well if you continually drop them in water or hard surfaces! 

Low tide & gentle sailing breeze today
Having worked outdoors a little over six months, (eager to get into my new space indoors), I've enjoyed many hours on our white sand beaches at Picnic Island watching sail boats, kayakers, commercial ships in the channel and an endless stream of  locals and visitors who stop to look at my art. I've even gotten to know a few of the regulars who hike or walk daily.

Parking Lot Picnic Island Style
Mornings are often quiet when I arrive at deserted scenes like this area near the island entrance. Park staff stop by sometimes to be sure everything is okay when I'm painting alone on the shoreline. Owners of vehicles in the parking lots have usually already gone out in kayaks or small fishing boats.

Umm, umm good crabs- only shells left
I walk on the beach with my camera before painting to get lots of reference images for future use. Unfortunately, I drop my camera all too often, and now can't upload to my Fine Art America print site until I get a new one. Present Kodak lasted only three months. A great article link from another artist about getting a new camera  Need a New Camera  I'll review her results and reader input before making my own choice.

Outdoor painting challenges aren't insurmountable.
I've adapted very well by changing my medium, changing from finished works to small studies, and learning to deal with distractions. The bugs: can't say I've adapted to no-see-ums! I'll continue to visit this beautiful estuary from time to time after moving into new space and again painting larger oil works.

My outdoor visitors seldom see my finished works, but I give them my card to look at the "good stuff" online. I stop painting to chat, unless I'm at a critical focus and don't want my paint to dry. In which case I explain that the paint is drying quickly, but to please stay and chat. Got to get that good stuff online for them. Blog and Facebook uploads are often incomplete or cropped differently than works offered as prints, so the camera is now critical--don't want people to only see snapshot uploads.

Comments are always encouraged.
If you're following interesting blogs, feel free to comment or post those links here, too. 

All the best,

Gail Kent
Gail Kent Studio

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