En Plein Air Sketch of Bodega Head Beach
(a French expression which means “in the open air”)
My husband has family we love to visit in northern California. That part of the state is breathtakingly beautiful! On a recent trip we stayed with his cousin, who turned their home into a temporary Bed & Breakfast (well…lunch & dinner too!). Early one morning she packed us a gourmet picnic and sent us out the door to relax and unwind. We drove to Bodega Head Beach where my husband walked on the rocks and breathed in the fresh ocean air. The day was windy and cold so I stayed in the car with my ink pen and sketch pad. When he returned to the car I finished the sketch as he took a much needed nap. We enjoyed her delicious picnic goodies and came back feeling so refreshed. What a wonderful day that was!
“Plein Air” painters work on location to capture the quickly changing light effects that occur outdoors. The artist typically completes the painting on location in two to three hours before the quality of the light and shadows change. Many times the artist may return to the same location on another day at the same time of day to complete the work, or may take the painting back to the studio to make adjustments.
Painting and sketching this way, rather than from photographs, gives the artwork a quality, and feeling of a scene that is not achievable otherwise. When viewing a Plein Air painting, you can almost feel yourself there. An artist learns so much when painting this way.
And you feel the sand, wind, bugs, rain, sun…and you hear the noises of nature. It’s fun to do this with other artists. Most art associations have Plein Air painting outings, or you can talk a friend into going with you. Or go alone. When you finish your painting day, you feel like you have participated in a wonderful event that clears your head. It gives you a great appetite for life and it makes me ravenously hungry for a good meal!