"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson

"Sour Milk Gill" Oil Painting by James Swanson
"Sour Milk Gill" From the award winning painting series.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Little Plein air time.

"Three Apple Trees" By James Swanson
8"x 10" oil on Panel

Even the Artist needs a vacation,
here are 11 Plein Air paintings I did on my time off.

And what does this Artist do on his vacation? Yep, I went to our summer cottage and paint in the early morning light and play in the water with the kids the rest of the day.

The Artist with his painting buddy Amber.

The Cottage, not too far from South Haven, MI.

I was on vacation for 11 days and got in 11 paintings and a lot of fun with the family. Plein air painting is a great way to paint because it’s so spontaneous and fast.

Finding the right spot to paint is usually the hardest decision to make while you are out there.

Vacation Day 2 Painting “Boats on Rack” 8”x 10”

The thing about painting is, it's addictive- sort of like hitting a golf ball to a golfer. You know, you go out and hit the little ball around for 17 holes and totally suck, but then you hit one great shot and you are a golfing god and ready to turn pro. Well painting is like that, one perfect brush stroke can make a painting and then you think it's easy. And just like golf, you find if you don't keep working at it often enough you go backwards real quick.

Vacation Day 4 Painting “Blueberry Fields Forever” 8”x 10”

So while I'm here near South Haven MI, I'll be doing some plein air painting, hopefully every day. I'll take my paints and brushes and paint out side. The one thing about painting outside is you find out the sun moves real quick. Shadows change so fast, you have to get a move on.

Vacation Day 6 Painting “Pink Flowers next to Shore” 8”x 10”

Vacation Day 9 Painting“Tree Farm” 8”x 10”

Plein air painting is very rewarding for something that is done so fast. The paintings always seem fresh like the paint is still wet. They might not be perfect but they usually have a lot of expression. And even if a painting does not turn out, you can get some nice color notes to help other paintings in the studio later on.

Vacation Day 11 Painting“Tree Farm Barn” 8”x 10”

Artist’s Tip: When you go out to plein air paint check Twice that you have everything that you are going to need- Paper towels, oil medium, canvases, brushes & knifes, paints, trash bag, and your easel set up. You start to take these simple things for granted in the studio, because they are always there. In the field if you’re missing one of these items you’re in for a long day.

Vacation Day 7 Painting “Rainy Day at the Lake” 9”x 12”

I kid you not. Try painting with out your oil medium and see how far you get, or how frustrating it is to paint after you forgot your easel. That happened to a buddy of mine I was painting with, so packing for the field is really important for a good plein air day. It’s like the old carpenters saying, “ Measure twice and cut once.” well check and make sure you have everything twice and pack once.

Vacation Day 1 Painting

“Yellow Paddle Boat on the Lake” 8”x 10”

Plein air painting is a great way to loosen up your paintings. You can learn so much from painting from life, I highly recommend it. Now I will put these vacation paintings to good use as field studies that will help me paint the Travelers pictures better and faster. Thanks for checking in I’m going back on the road now to meet up with my next Traveler. Check out the new web site www.theartistandthetraveler.org

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Have a good travel story and some fun and interesting pictures and we can get started on a painting journey.E mail me here with
name, place, and a few pics of the spot,and I'll get back to you.