Thursday, September 3, 2015

PleinAir Painting

Every day while staying in Lake Placid I walked around the lake on this...
beautiful brick sidewalk. A three mile walk around Mirror Lake. Smelling the fresh pine, hearing wind through the trees, seeing many people and dogs,  and taking a lot of pictures of flowers and rock walls.
I did this walk in the morning, and again at night.

One evening near sunset I met this man, Patrick,
Plein Air painting. He was painting this view...
with these oil paints...
Isn't it a bit of fun to see an artist palette? I think so.

The artist looks at the object to paint, chooses or mixes colors to use, has all the tools to use, and the magic happens.

I spent about 10 to 15 minutes talking to Patrick about his art, choices, capturing light, realism vs abstract, and other aspects of art. So fun!

He said the other plein air artists think one must paint quickly and sort of sketchy if it's outside.

He does not roll that way. He is painstakingly careful about each stroke of color, and I watched him dab a tiny amount of light onto a branch then dab away extra color to blend the teensy dab further. He regarded the painting and did it again on another branch.
We also spoke about the current painting's size. I asked if he always painted this size and he said, "oh no, usually much smaller. This one is huge" then he pulled out detailed replica's of the mountains in sizes of about 3 to 4 inches.

When I told him I am most comfortable working at 40 X 50 he was astounded!
Having seen him at work, I can understand his reaction. He is incredibly focused on each tiny detail.
He said his family will say, the art is done.
He knows it isn't because there is a bit more light needed, one more tiny dab of paint here...

He is not into portraits like his girlfriend, he paints landscapes. He's done it all his life and makes his living at it. They are incredible in person.

I learn so much by talking to artists working in different mediums than I do, and although I paint, I like watercolors. I like how they behave, how I apply the paint, how they smear and blend and show the paper, or fabric, under them.  Patrick  takes time and care with details. I already do that with my quilts but it was good to see another artist ignoring the people who tell him just do it fast, or that it's done. Know what I mean??

There is a fab book store in town that also sells artist supplies. I visit several times during our stay and this time I left with these supplies...
I have been writing a lot. Words are my passion along with color.
DH found this spiral bound, hard cover, lined book for me to pour out my stories. He bought this and a wonderful pen that lets ink flow out smoothly, as I prefer to write in longhand. Then, I found these pens and books ...
The pens are like old fashioned fountain pens, but easy because they are self filling. Oh it's so satisfying to write with them. And the colors!!

Reminds me of my teen years, and I was the only one writing with fountain pens, with the cartridge that you pierce with the nib. Scritch, scritch.

These are fabulous, and I've written many essays already in my book. I don't share them here but am considering starting a blog just for them.

I met an editor for the NYTimes on this trip and he asked what my genre is. Well, that's a hard question, as my writing style like my personality defies definition. Essays, characterizations, reflections, humor, fable, details noted about a moment in time or a person in particular that caught my imagination.
My engineer husband loves them, which is a rave review.
Writing is another art form and I'm all about the details.


  1. I went to Patrick's website and is work is amazing. They are so realistic that they look like photos. And to think that they are so small!

  2. I know! In person they are so real. The lesson was really bright lights, and really mixed black darks to make the color pop. LeeAnna

  3. met an editor professionally, or as a fellow tourist? Is there a book coming I will have to read? Oh! A Poodle Book? Maybe with some Bad Basset Boyz for friends?

  4. Don't you just love a new coloring book! I have started creating coloring pages and posting them on my blog.

  5. My husband used ink cartridge pens when I met him! What a wonderful vacation you have had. Patrick's art is beautiful, then I love the Hudson Valley school and landscapes.

  6. Ah the Adirondack High Peaks region - one of my very favorite places on earth!
    Patricks work is very beautiful, Thank yo for sharing this LeeAnna! It is harder to work on such tiny canvases I think. It says a lot about him as an artist that he is so painstaking. We have the slow sewing movement and he has the slow painting movement.

  7. Beautiful paintings, all that detail on such a small space. Amazing.. Back home and diving in to the studio.. have to get ready for Sierra Art Trails, first week-end in Oct. I show at a local Historical School House.. Camp was so much fun will be posting periodically about it...

  8. LeeAnna, I love your passion and how curious you are about other art forms. I don't often have conversations with other artist, because I haven't felt that many I meet are very sharing. I think they are afraid that someone is going to steal their ideas. Maggie Winfield

  9. I was just listening to a friend speak about her plein air painting and then you posted, too. What a wonderful vacation. It really makes you stop and look at things. Sometimes with a camera we don't see scenes until we return home. I used to use ink cartridges in high school - so sophisticated! What a delightful vacation you are sharing with us. Thanks!

  10. I remember trying plein air painting when I was young - I gave it up when bugs kept getting stuck in my paint. And sometimes tracking it on my painting. Or on me.
    My fountain pen days go back pre-cartridge - mine refilled from a jar of ink by repeatedly pushing a lever on the pen's barrel. I always ended up with more ink on me than in the pen.

    Perhaps it's best if I stick to fabric. I'm starting to notice a theme here...

  11. Nothing beats a good fountain pen. It sounds like you are having a wonderful holiday - and so many adventures. In your art, and the way you write here, it really is all about the detail!

  12. How terrific you were able to observe the creative process. Plein air art is so inspiring, I'm pretty jealous you got o view it in such a wonderful location. Happy Labor Day.