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In Or Out, What's it to be?

Updated: Aug 4, 2018

What inspires you to paint? Are you a landscape or cityscape artist? Perhaps you

are a bit of both. Amongst landscape painters there is always a hot debate raging

about whether one needs to get down and dirty with the art materials in-situ, or if

taking photos and painting in the studio is a better option. Of course the plein air

painters will often argue that you get a more emotionally connected painting

when it is done out in the open.

On a recent trip to New Zealand, I discovered that I am a bit of both really. I love

to ‘be’ in the landscape, take lots of photos and then work up those images once

I'm back at base/home.

I now have several images waiting patiently for me to get back to them. I am

building up quite a collection of very small watercolour and ink sketches. Many of

these may never end up as larger works. What they do allow me is the joy of

returning to that time and place and distilling the essence of what I felt there.

I have painted outside in the past, however, for me, I find too many distractions

while painting in the landscape…. People, flies, the annoying wind that suddenly

comes up and blows your easel over - landing your painting face down in the

sand, the sun getting too hot, it starts raining - the list is endless really.

Some artists I know, like Debbie MacKinnon absolutely thrive drawing and

painting in-situ. If you take a look at her instagram feed

she’s always out there in the world somewhere doing drawing and painting

studies and smaller works, which she often will later render into a larger version

in the studio.

In September 2018, Debbie is conducting a travel journal workshop retreat at Currowong on the shores of Pittwater. If you are interested - here is the link.

There is no right or wrong way of doing this. You must, as always, at the end of

the day, do what works for you.

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