A guest post by Judith Balance:
There has been a great deal of controversy about painting en plein air (outside, on site) or in the studio. Studio painters prefer working in their studios, using photographs they took themselves as their reference. Plein air painters say studio painting isn’t really working and can’t result in good art. There are pros and cons for both, let’s take a look at them:
PLEIN AIR VS. STUDIO
Plein air painters – love being outdoors, whether gardening, walking or painting.
Studio painters – prefer being inside, where the weather and bugs are familiar.
Plein air painters – want to be in the landscape, where they can experience the sounds, and smells as they become one with nature.
Studio painters – because they have taken the picture themselves, they can use their imaginations, emotionally returning to the scene when they see their photo. In that way putting themselves into the subject, becoming one with it.
Plein air – can see the light, shadows, and colors when outside on the scene better than in a photograph.
Studio painters – say light is constant in a studio, giving a longer working time. And are aware of the inconsistencies in photographs and prefer being imaginative, inventing light, colors, and shadows that depict their emotions,
Plein air – can see all the way around and even touch the subject. All of your senses experience the scene.
Studio – have more opportunity to decide on a design of your own. The work is slower and more interpretive.
Plein air – encounter bugs, snakes, wind, cold, or hot sun. You need a wide brimmed hat, walking shoes or boots, bug spray, and fingerless gloves (depending on the weather). You also need the energy to drag around heavy art supplies.
Studio painters – no bugs, dirt or itches. No travel time, no carrying of supplies and everything you need where you can easily reach it.
Plein air – sense of freedom, not just physical to move a tree or boulder, but anything you want.
Studio painters – create their shapes and values first without depending on what is in front of them. They move or leave out anything that will improve the composition.
Does it really matter whether you paint en plein air or in the studio? Not really, each of us must have enough experience and find our own way. Some prefer plein air painting and others prefer studio. The two methods work together, backing each other. What really matters is the quality of your work and the feeling it shows.
How do you like to paint? Please comment below. Later, Judy