Thursday, June 23, 2011

Pushing My Envelope—En Plein Air

I haven’t painted anything in so long that I think I may have forgotten how! However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about it. In fact, I’ve been doing better than just thinking—I’ve been planning…

Here’s the thing—As you know, I work almost exclusively in my studio, from photographs. It’s a safe and comfortable place, and I’ve done some of my best work in my cloistered environment. The problem is, I feel as if I’m beginning to stagnate. I’ve been following Bruce Sherman’s blog, Journaling With Paint, for some time. Get this—he actually goes outside and paints! That’s right—Plein Air Painting! In fact, artists have been doing it for centuries! Believe it or not, I also have done it—years ago.
Look! I even made a field kit! (Okay, notice the EKC latch that I ripped off an old camera case—I do so love old latches.) 
I even covered it in a nice soft leather and purchased a Windsor Newton field kit to go inside. I did use it on several occasions, but found that my discomforts outweighed the pleasure.

The problem is, I am overcome with self-consciousness if I think anyone might come along and look over my shoulder. I’m certain it has a lot to do with Dumbbell Syndrome.

Anyway, the point of this post is along the same vein of why I started this blog in the first place. I won’t use the derogatory term ‘guilt me into it’ but I know that if I post this, I am far more likely to follow through. As an incentive, I am also posting these samples of what I accomplished—or tried to—back in the mid ‘90’s.

I really muddied up the shodow on this one...

Some big old house in New Harbor or Pemaquid Maine

I like architecture

Not sure why I didn't finish this cemetary 

This one I'm actually proud of. There had been a lot of tourist traffic, but I stuck it out. Eventually, I ran out of light, but fortunately, I snapped a photo of it before I left so I could finish it up at home.  

To ease myself into it, I think I'll start with something from my own back yard... 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. "re-newed" of something old,,,a beginning perhaps.

    (wrong wording in first comment)

  3. I sure hope so Glenn--I really need to do a little growth as an artist, don't you reckon?

  4. Oh, you haven't forgotten. Painting is just like riding a bicycle: It'll all come back to you once you're outside, with the wind in your hair and pedaling furiously. Or something like that.

    Excellent samples, by the way. I hope they provide the incentive you need to launch yourself back into it.

  5. Hello there Bridget!... I've so missed our conversations and sharings!

    I'm excited to see "You" ...."pushing the envelope"... as you've so so aptly described the adventure you are about to embark upon!!!!

    You will never lose as a result of this experience Bridget. You will find energy and come to realize that you've been avoiding and worrying... for no good reason.

    I need not see examples of your work... to absolutely KNOW... that "You" will find success and will be "snake-bitten" for life by the plein air asp! HAHA!! I still enjoy studio painting... but my senses and my soul absolutely revel in the outdoors experience!

    Looking forward to more... back n' forth Bridget!

    Good Painting!....Lurking... and Adventuring!!

    Warmest regards,

  6. Nate, Thanks for your vote of confidence! What's the worst thing that could happen in my back yard, anyway? Wait--don't answer that! ;)

    Bruce, Every time I look at your blog, I get excited at the thought--perhaps it's called inspiration! I'm not going to worry about wasting paper or messing up--I'm just going to do it...Well, I have to wait for it to stop raining first, but then I'm going out there. Your series on barns made me realize I have potential right in my own back yard--and no onlookers.
    ...and thanks so much for your continuing support :)

  7. I hope you show us the results! I am so not an artist, but the things you paint touch me deep.

  8. Liza, You bet I'm going to post them--Just to save face! Hopefully it won't be too humiliating, lol...

  9. Oh, that is LOVELY! I hope you share with us what you end up doing. :)

  10. Michelle, I will share! Right now I'm writing up a storm, so it may take a little while! :)

  11. This just seems a natural fit for you, Bridget. In fact it was only your words that reminded me that you do paint indoors. I think that the barriers that you envision will in fact not be barriers at all. In a few months I can imagine you saying, "Paint outdoors? Of course."

    Brava! (Or do they say that for painters?) In other words, "Go gettum!"

  12. Hey Jerry! I've missed you (--my own fault--)!

    Perhaps you're right about painting outdoors. Now that the rain seems to have tapered, I need a little cooler weather... Actually, I think those are just excuses. Here's the real reason I haven't gotten out there yet: I have been compulsively writing for the past few weeks, and I just can't seem to switch gears!

    Just the same, every morning I look at my big old barn when the early morning light is hitting it just right and I get the urge, so that's a good sign, I think...

  13. Your personality really comes through in your paintings. These are lovely.

  14. Yeah, Errika, especially in my perfectionism, which hasn't allowed me to go paint in an uncomfortable setting this whole summer (okay, there is that writing thing that has been sidetracking me!).

    ...just the same, thanks--you are so sweet for saying such nice things, and you (one of the few) who really do know my personality! Thanks...:)

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  16. Your plein air paintings are simply lovely! No reason to be self conscious!

  17. I know I should be braver, and I likely will at some point...just haven't gotten around to it this summer...

  18. Just a note to tell you that this blog spot is getting lonely, as in artless. This note also serves to tell you that I miss you here.

    Now I need to go over to your wordy blog. I always forget about that because this is the one I have listed on my favored blogs...not that your other blog wouldn't be a favored blog too if I can just remember, you know what I mean.

  19. Oh, are so sweet. Honestly, just knowing you pop in here fully expecting to be disappointed by my lack of painting/posting, yet you stop in and actually leave a comment just the same--well, it makes me want to pull out my paints!

    In fact, I did attempt to paint--that is, I started a sketch to be painted--outdoors, but I made the mistake of doing it while on an outing with friends, and so I felt rushed and didn't finish it :(
    I could post that, but I fear you would be wholly disappointed in such a pathetic line drawing, and not a good one at that...

    Just to string you along, though, I want to let you know that I am going to NH soon, and taking my paints with me. I shall force myself to can quote me and come back to haunt me with that pledge...


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