Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Plein Air Group

I was once asked by an elderly painter I had just met if I "painted in a herd."  I knew what she meant, but nevertheless, I was somewhat offended by the superior attitude.  Painters paint together for all sorts of reasons.  Life drawing/painting classes are certainly more affordable if everyone chips in for the model's fee.
Instructors teach classes in which there are always some people at the beginning of their painting journey.  And sometimes it's just fun to paint with a group of teacher, no critique....just everyone doing their own thing.  While waiting for my watercolor washes to dry, I get a chance to walk around and see what other painters have chosen to paint and how they choose to paint it.  And often in that setting, we get to talking about technique or composition or current shows.  The conversations develop naturally, and usually laughter is involved.

Back to my painter friend.  I answered that sometimes I valued the comraderie of painting with my peers.  And a good teacher can inform or remind you of the basics of painting.  I understood that she meant that sometimes painting in proximity to other artists can influence the direction of the group.  I countered that if you have a solid background and have already begun to develop your own style, you can still take clues from the work of others.  If we didn't, we might never go to a gallery or a museum to study what others have done.

So, yes, today I painted in a small herd of talented and dedicated plein air painters.  And I totally enjoyed it!

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