This will be about my views on what it takes to put a three dimensional world onto a two dimensional surface. With a lot of digressing.
Don't forget to leave a comment, or a question if you have one, below the post. Thanks.


Jul 30, 2009


I knew he'd come in handy some day.

I won't even need to give this photo a title, because I know you can think of a good one, even though it's a cliche'.
This En Plein Aire thing is beginning to annoy me.
Time was, you painted outside. You could do it like Monet, with a canvas for every hour so that the light would be consistant with each painting. Like him, you could sit in a boat and paint, even. With mosquito netting as well. Truly, a happy camper. If I could paint like that I would sit in a boat , even if there was no water under it.
Monet Painting on His Boat, by Manet

John Singer Sargent, not to be outdone, painting on a gondola in Venice

Or you could schlep all that equipment into the countryside every day, and stand in the sun with crows pooping on your paintings, maybe sell one or two out of a thousand, and end up shooting yourself. The choices are endless, when painting outdoors.
Time was, if you put each paint laden brushstroke down on the canvas without playing with it by underpainting, glazing, scumbling, and worst of all, overpainting, you painted Alla Prima, which is Italian for "at once". Not a la prima, which is a spinoff of a la carte and a la mode. So to my way of thinking, En Plein Aire is to painting outdoors as Boeuf a la Mode is to potroast.
I'm getting lost here. Louis Prima?


  1. Wait...I am wiping the tears of laughter away!...ok....yeah, of course the phrase seems pretentious...but that is because it is French!!! Sorry if anyone takes offense but I am parlty French so I am allowed the irreverence, too!
    Like any good thing, it has been overdone in terms of usage and by many who dub it Better than studio painting, just to elevate themselves, so I hear you. But we live in a time of labels and branding, so we will wear it to death eventually.
    I think you ought to run a contest to name the image above which I will refrain entering, lest I appear too gauche. OOps...crass.
    Good post, and food for thought, Margery.

  2. Correction needed to the post above.
    That is... partly French. (maybe I should have left that alone...looks French, doesn't it?)

  3. No it doesn't look French-it's that southern accent.
    If I had a contest, it would be to find the first Plein Aire painter. Caves don't count, they're not outdoors.
    As far as a title, thought up by a (French)man of course, how about "les bijoux de famile" ?
    In small print.