–I RECENTLY received an advanced copy of Daily Painting by Carol Marine. As I opened the packaging I read the title on the back page–Do you want to bring the joy back to your art? I answered inwardly with a resounding YES!
Since taking a plein air trip two weeks ago, I'd been ruminating on how to get my plein air mojo back. I lost aforementioned mojo in the summer of 2014 at a prestigious plein air event where due to a variety of factors like large prizes and famous participants I performed far beneath my ability. Since then, try as I might, I couldn’t return to the previous joy I experienced painting out-of-doors.
I experimented with James Gurney’s methods outlined in Gouache in the Wild. If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. If you are experiencing a plein air funk there is surely something in Gurney’s video to help you evolve your own plein air process. From the novel ideas I learned about gouache I began experimenting with acrylic markers in plein air. I had some success on my last trip and ordered 12 more empty acrylic markers to expand my previous collection of 6 pigments.
Although Daily Painting is not specifically about plein air painting it provided me with the last component to what I hope will be new found joy of painting in the field. Not only was the book good inspiration–I found Marine’s paintings fresh and energetic–but she also included some great tips (like using Murphy Oil Soap to clean brushes). There are also a variety of paintings by other artists along with their experiences with daily painting (which appears to have evolved into a cottage industry for many artists).
My interest in daily painting is to find an entry point where my plein air work is authentic and easy–that is, to use daily painting as a way to improve faster. With my full schedule of gallery shows and projects I need something to carry me forward with as little friction as possible–and something that will lead me to a more successful plein air experience. I feel at some point I will transition back to oils but will lean on acrylic markers and my drawing ability to get to a more confident state.
At this stage I’m still formulating my theory and assembling a plein air kit but here are my specific needs:
Keep the equipment light and easy to transport (my former approach with oils was too complex).
Keep the process easy (focus on my strengths like basic drawing skills).
Make the process challenging enough that I routinely employ essential plein air skills.
Keep the process less time consuming than previous plein air sessions (the entire experience, finding a motif and painting, should take less than two hours).
Get the joy factor up so you want to paint every day.
The last item is the most important for me and I think I can do it by changing mediums and painting small–two factors that will help keep my ego out of the way and allow me to relax and enjoy the process.
If you’ve had success with daily painting I hope you will share your experience below.
Brad Teare –June 2016