After I was first introduced to plein air (open air) painting in college I made a habit of going out and finding new subjects to paint outdoors. This was in Indiana in my hometown and in the summer mostly. I, also, started out with oil painting and not watercolor.
I realized that doing painting in parks and other public settings draws attention.
Later, I realized that this attention could be a mix bag of frustration and gratification.
Last year I did a painting at Westerflora: Westerville, OH’s garden tour…and I received much gratification. Here is a link to the event: Westerflora 2014.
So, you want to start painting live or at least plein air? What do you need to be prepared?
One distinction I want to make between what I call live painting and plein air painting.
Live painting is anywhere in view of other people. You can paint live from a photograph, an image on your phone, from an image in someone else’s art, etc…It could be indoors or outdoors. It doesn’t matter.
Plein air is distinctly outdoors and on-site.
What you need to be prepared for Live Painting:
- Take photos of the location before starting.
- Do preparatory drawing.
- Include a standing easel.
- Pack your paints, paper (prepared), brushes, towels, sponge, sketch paper, pencils, water bowls, digital camera, and pack it in a carrying bag (a backpack is my preference).
- Business cards and/or flyers on display.
- A folding chair for resting.
- A bottle of water and some snacks will be good to keep you going.
- A plan of what you will do (and when you will break).
- Knowledge of the location, especially restrooms and water fountains.
- Openness to conversation benefits you greatly when you want to meet people.
If preparation is too overwhelming consider a folding chair and a watercolor block at your favorite location and with your favorite colors.