PAINTINGS - en plein air

What is 'en plein air' ?
'En plein air' is a French term, meaning in the open air.
Often used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Have recently taken up and enjoying this way of painting. To be able to get away from the stress of everyday life, enjoying the wonderful world we live in and at the same time doing what I enjoy, what more could one ask for? Visiting places never been before, travelling to another country and painting and meeting 'new' friends - what life could be better?

Am told if one produces 1-2 'happy with' paintings out of ten undertaken plein air, then this is the norm, and I can certainly agree with that.

Many times, artists take their paintings home to complete or perhaps, undertake a larger studio painting from their original small plein air study.

Yes, there are failures and ones not happy with - quite a few in fact. When this happens, all is not lost as those not able to be 'saved' can be wiped off and when paint is dry, another over top. Wiping a painting off at first was quite disheartening. However, after becoming used to painting outside on location, understood this is sometimes part of the process.


 Please note -

  To view my paintings in both oils and resin, please select 'Paintings' link at top of page. Thank you.


Painting on location photograph with umbrella and pochade

Thoroughly enjoying this way of painting, although the only thing not so enjoyable is our New Zealand weather where we may have five climates in one day. This is something all plein air artists around the world put up with - possibly making painting on location all the more challenging.

As mentioned in Wikipedia, French impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir advocated plein air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors in the diffuse light under a large white umbrella.

A plein air group has been set up in Auckland. If you would like to paint out and about with others, more information may be found at PAPNZ  

'Chasing the light" is a well known expression in the world of plein air painting. Sometimes it's a momentary mixture of light, blending clouds with sky reflecting on the land. Of course one should feel an affinity with the scene to be painted and when this does happen, a painting normally emerges which is pleasing and am happy with.

Other times this may not happen, (believe me, these are many). Some try this way of painting but, sadly, do not persevere after finding it is more difficult than they thought and remain in their homes painting from photographs. If only they persevered, would find their own studio art would improve dramatically, at the same time enjoying the wonderful scenery around us.

'en plein air' - painted on location

When one has a love/affinity with the scene, a painting normally emerges which is pleasing and happy with. These have been undertaken 'en plein air' - some totally completed at the location, others adjusted in studio.

Little Shoal Bay
Oil on loose canvas
Oil on board
Oil on board 12x12inches
Oil on canvas 30x30cm (12x12inches)
Shelley Bay
Oil on board. 19x30cm (7½"x12")
Karaka reflections
Oil on board 28cmx23cm (11"x9")
St Heliers Bay
Oil on board
Arkles Bay 1
Oil on loose canvas
Arkles Bay 2
Oil on loose canvas
Oil on board
Little Shoal Bay
Oil on board
Hunua Road creek
Oil on board 28cmx23cm (11"x9")
Artwork may have been completed on location or in the studio.
The Tor
Oil on board



Do you, or have you - painted on location in New Zealand?

Whether a resident or visitor, then share your paintings for others to see to a page specifically set up for New Zealand en plein air paintings (opens in a new tab).
Plein Air Paintings of NZ


Would you like to join others to paint - in Auckland or elsewhere ?

Experience how 'plein air' painting will improve your studio work. From those starting out through to professional painters (opens in a new tab).