How to be a Plein Air Artist, and my take away.





Last night I was at my first, yes very first gallery event as an artist. I loved every moment of it. To be a Plein Air artist really means to just show up, paint, and then produce a painting that you enjoyed painting. Really that's it.

Plein Air is an art movement that impressionist painters, like Monet did... paint outside, paint fast and paint the light. Now 200 years later there is a bunch of artists that want to bring the joy of painting outside to this fast-paced modern world. We are called Plein Air Artists. I am so glad to be part of this movement!

Birdland park at 6am on what seemed like the hottest day of the year!
 I chose Birdland Park on the river in Des Moines Bird Land Park, it's small and beautiful, lots of green and lots of prairie grass. I chose that park because I was nieve enough to think that I would let my kids play while I painted... That didn't happen, they wanted to paint, and so I became the "art teacher" and got nothing done, then when it was time to clean up, then they played in the park. it was a fun experience, I hope to do more Plein air studies with them. Not so much a work of art, but a fun study to get your creative juices flowing is always a good thing. Which those studies in my sketchbook really helped me to plan for the morning painting session I was going to do.

Prairie Grass That was so high you couldn't even see the river.

After doing some really simple and bit sketches with them and taking some pictures of the park we drove home, I went to be early to wake up at 5 am to paint outside. I had 4 magical hours to paint in the morning before it got too hot. I came away with 4 paintings and loved 3 out of the 4. 


The best advice I got about preparing for this Plein Air event was from Angela Fehr, she said just have fun, if you have fun, the painting will reflect that. So I did, I had a plan in mind, I had colors and composition in mind, but truly I painted from the heart and used what I learned about my countless hours in my studio to produce 4 paintings. It was in my mind, almost like a test to see how beautiful I can paint with all I have learned in a short time (4 hours, one hour per painting.)  Let me just say I learned so much from the other artists that participated in this event. Sometimes throwing yourself out there and just doing the work is much better than reading and learning from instructional videos.  It's true, just show up to the page, to the canvas and learn all you can from it.  That is why Plein Air is so much fun to be a part of! 


Golden Rod (weeds) that inspired my paintings where is the river? hah, a foot from where this picture was taken!


Talking to the sponsor of the show last night he mentioned that he wishes everyone could have the opportunity to see what amazing talent we have in the local art scene. To see something and then to put it onto canvas is an amazing thing to see, and to do that in 48 hours!. As a creative, I thought to myself, as an artist, you have to know your strength, and your style to pull off being a Plein Air artist. Art is for everyone. I explained to my husband, why we didn't see any oils, most of the art was done in Acrylics, there was one other watercolor piece in the show.

A dear friend came to see me! at the artist's reception 

All the Plein Air Artists that painted, lots talent, I learned so much from them!


My river study/painting. The river was out of its banks, which made it really fun to paint!

My favorite! Oops!  it's really cool to see up close, I may have kept it for my self, so I didn't have sell it, isn't that a horrible thing to do?  I am sorta having regretful feelings not putting this piece in the show, but I will be smiling every day while I see it!


Here is a close up of the texture, I can't get over the granulation of the trees! It's just so beautiful to me as a Watercolor artist. I love drama in my work, and this shows!


Drop off day, one of those best feelings you get, sorta like when you have been teaching your child something for a long time and then finally they got it! 
I had other artists say that my painting was refreshing, unique, I never saw prairie grass in that way, you make it look so beautiful. What an amazing compliment for an intuitive, expressionist painter like myself! That is what I want to hear from the viewers!

So my take away from this weekend is simple: Be vulnerable, put yourself out there, Show the world how you like to paint, how you see the world, Share that with the public but have fun doing it! paint for yourself from your heart and it will teach you.

By the way, this is the first piece I am "selling" So if you want my first piece of artwork that had been a gallery here's your chance! It's a Silent Auction! I don't actually keep the painting... good thing I made 3 other paintings to remind me to get outside to paint! You can contact the Des Moines Social Club Silent bidding ends this Saturday night June 23, 2018. This event kicked off Art week in Des Moines!


Keep Painting, Creating, Composing, Art is a journey, enjoy the ride!
an underpainting that didn't get too far...It's going to be fun to turn this into something beautiful! like a negative painting?




5 minute Cards Part 1: Playing with color


 oh, no.... My kids are out of school!, Around this time of year, I am hit with, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY TIME??? Right? I stay at home all year long... I know I am lucky and incredibly blessed. Thank God for stay at home moms! right? But what do I do when I need my creative time and my angel kids that are in school are home ALL DAY LONG? I turn to my time-saving creative freeing exercises.
Omaha Zoo first week of summer break with my oldest daughter

Becuase I am pressed for time, or more like, I take my creative free time when I can get it during the summer I thought I would continue to share some of my insights as how I "save" time during the summer to get some  cards made in the short "bits" of time I have, so I am able to do more with my kids.

Let me say this first so you don't get the wrong idea: YOU CANT RUSH ART. You just can't. so although it may seem like 5-minute cards are out, I think with the right planning you can create cards in 5 minutes. It's all in the planning. ( thoughts of how to make your time worthwhile, or writing in your morning pages how to go about making cards.)

Here are some of my design tips for 5-minute cards:

Have a plan: If you are not in a "let's make something mood" That's all right, the best way Artist's and creatives find more creativity, and why Pinterest is so popular is because you need time to see what you can do. I find if I have a deadline for a card to be in the mail for a birthday and I don't have that perfect card, I will take a little extra time before I start a project and look through what I have, or if I know what I want to use, but don't know how to implement it, I will "play" play with my stamps, my inks, watercolors, then I feel ready to actually make a card. Playing makes all the difference in my projects.

Playing means to enjoy the process! I have looked at playing or dinking around in two different ways: wasting a lot of time and resources, or the other: learning and playing to make something amazing.  I save my playing and dinking around panels, they can usually inspire me to make something else, or they go into my Art Journals, that eventually I use to express myself as a story of a season.


On to some of my playing around that turned into cards, that took me less than 5 minutes to put together:

This is a really nice warm up I wanted to see what purple dioxide and Antwerp blue would do with greens and yellows, along with some expressive brush strokes. I also had just bought this Blessed stamp from Taylored Expressions, that I had to play with. It came together seamlessly, then because I wanted the purple to pop, I matted the panel with purple cardstock
This next card was the same way, I wanted to use this card to play with my new Windsor and Newton Crimson red watercolor, I had a panel of these two Poppies stamped ready for me to do something with, so I thought I will play with my new Crimson red watercolor with this poppy panel. adding some black pattern paper and some ribbon made this card look perfect for a 5 min. card. 
I know that that summer goes by really fast when you have kids at home with you, usually a wedding weekend, and visits with friends and family is mixed into the summer along with vacations, getting caught up on cards and creating things is always tricky when you have kiddos at home, It is my hope to inspire you to start playing around, and enjoy the time that you do have into making a card. 

What stamps or mediums do you like to play around with?


If you are looking for some great ways to take your cards to the next level you may want to try these classes, I have personally taken these classes and love them, I refer back to them often!


Watercolor Cards Made simple
Radiant Stamping Techniques
Wild cards: 21 Techniques with favorite supplies with Cathrine Pooler
Inventive ink Colorful Mixed-Media Effects
Fresh Eyes on Your Cardmaking Supplies

My favorite watercolor card class that has helped me the most:
 Angela's Fehr's class Creative Watercolor

I hope that you have some time to spend on your creativity, and if needed learn a new trick or two!

Happy Creating!














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