The View from Here

Show Ends, Plein Aire Goes On
November 4, 2009, 8:48 am
Filed under: Art News

My exhibit of plein aire paintings of Hamilton County parks is over, although some of them are still on display in a case outside the gift shop of the Sharon Centre.  Many were sold at the show, but some of my favorites are still available.

I had first experienced experienced the pleasures of  painting en plein aire a few years ago, although over the course of my life I’ve done the odd watercolor during my travels. Six years ago I participated in a painting workshop in Wyoming with the Susan K. Black Foundation, and  bought a French easel and found that I really enjoyed  painting en plein aire. I haven’t taken it seriously until my project with the County Parks.  That project got me outside with my easel at least once a week over the course of about 10 months. My term as Artist In Residence at Pictured Rocks in September sealed the deal. Spending an idyllic 3 weeks painting in beautiful places made me think a lot about doing it a lot more.  Since my return, I turned out two more paintings for the Hamilton County exhibit, and a couple more at the large cemetery & arboretum, Spring Grove Cemetery, just a stone’s throw from my house.


Spring Grove plein aire 2

A plein aire painting done at Spring Grove Cemetery

Spring Grove plein aire 1

Nearly the same scene, different day at Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati



Being able to sell my paintings done en plein aire definitely affects my desire to do them. I do, after all, make my living with my art, so it isn’t just about what I enjoy doing the most.  At first I wondered if there could be a market for these paintings done in an afternoon. After all, my signature style has always been a very tight, highly detailed photo realism. These paintings could take several weeks to complete, and cost thousands. Especially in this economy, it is hard to sell big expensive paintings, so the 9×12 and 11×14 paintings selling for a few hundred have gone pretty well.  The fact that they are fun to do, and are usually done in a beautiful spot (as opposed to my cramped studio) also fans my desire to do them.

Our local landscape just doesn’t excite me as much as the shore of Lake Superior. I suppose anything new is always more interesting, but it really is more scenic up there. Of course, if you really look, there are paintings almost anywhere you go, but the fact remains that some landscapes are just more interesting than others. So, I hope to travel more with my easel. My stint as Artist In Residence at Pictured Rocks has inspired me to look for more national parks with A.I.R. programs.  I will look west and south of Ohio. Everglades National Park is another spot with which I have been familiar a long time. The parks of southern Utah’s canyon country are also high on my list.

Since I am not a winter-tolerant person, I’ll be spending more time in the studio as our weather deteriorates. My scratchboard drawings are calling me…


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John, I met you at the tang gallery opening, I am the lady from cincinnati! Looked up your website and blog today, very inspiring! I especially love your plein air painting of the cincy parks! and the ones that look like the everglades, and the salamanders! Am forwarding your info to my sis and friends in cincy! will have them look for you at the miller gallery ! I hope you enjoyed your visit to Bisbee! it is a great place to live! Again, wonderful paintings! judy

Comment by judyperry

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