I discovered plein air painting in 1987, from a book by Trevor Chamberlain on the subject.
At that time I was knee-deep in advertising art, storyboards and deadlines, and this delightful vision of juicy oil paintings being done on location in the bucolic english countryside, just struck a chord with me. It looked so easy, so idyllic, and so much fun. I suppose as a younger man, I entertained romantic notions of myself sitting on some far-off quay one day, painting beautiful scenes of sailing boats and crumbling medieval vistas ala Edward Seago, another of my heroes. I tried my hand at it, and although the results were decidedly forgettable, I was hooked on the experience. And so it came to pass....all these years later, I find myself in sunny Malta doing
what I always dreamed of.
Although I have tried all the genres, from figures, still lives and portraits, the experience of escaping the studio, and heading outdoors has always been the most fun I've had with art. At the same time, I can honestly say that plein air painting is probably the most difficult of all the genres. Firstly, you have to take your entire studio with you, then have to find a location, and while you attempt to distill an entire scene in front of you onto canvas at speed, you have to contend with the elements - the sun, the wind, the uneven ground beneath your easel, and last but definitely not least, interested passers-by who expect you to drop your brushes and chat at length.
But there is nothing quite like the exhilaration one feels, painting under pressure, to capture a moment in time and space. Impressionism is all about a sense of place, a fleeting light effect.
My plein air work always exhibits a freshness and a spontaneity that studio work lacks. These days, I am so used to working outdoors, that painting indoors feels like a chore. I always said of plein air painting...it's like you're going fishing, and you always come home with a catch!!
I hope you enjoy looking at these images as much as I enjoyed making them!
All paintings displayed here are for sale, unless otherwise noted.
Cell phone contact, Malta: 00356 9943 2962
All images ©Anthony Weitz.