Plein air is a French term for painting outdoors. Literally “in the open air”. Some of the first artists to adopt this approach were the French Impressionist painters of the late 19th Century. Another term synonymous withplein air is “painting from life”, although this term can apply to painting still life’s or painting the human figure. All of these terms stand in contrast to painting from photographs.
Painting from life, or painting outdoors is, quite simply, the best way to SEE THE SUBJECT your painting. So what’s my method? I use anything I can. When I can go outdoors and see the landscape in natural light, I will. But to meet the demands of my market and do larger paintings, I spend more time in the studio. When I am in the studio, I am referring to PHOTOGRAPHS, SKETCHES, and smaller studies, all taken from the outdoors and then translated indoors, to create larger studio paintings. So, while I do occasionally sell field studies (smaller works done on location), they mainly serve as the inspiration and guide for larger studio works.