Why I love painting en plein air

Carol Neiger

En plein air (French pronunciation: ​[ɑ̃ plɛn ɛːʁ], French for outdoors, or plein air painting) is the act of painting outdoors. Artists have always painted outdoors, but in the mid-19th century, working in natural light became particularly important to the Barbizon school, Hudson River School, and Impressionists. Painting en plein air became very popular in the 1840s with the introduction of paints in tubes. Previously, painters made their own paints by grinding and mixing dry pigment powders with linseed oil. I love being outdoors, so for me it is natural. I have painted in a canoe, on the top of mountains, on sand dunes, from balconies of castles, in forests, in deserts, on beaches and in gardens. I am almost always happy when I'm painting outdoors. I have learned what to bring–the minimum so I'm not carrying a heavy pack–but am always prepared for black flies, intense sun, rain, mosquitoes, ants and everything else that goes hand in hand with being away from civilization! This painting is titled "Wellfleet Secret Meditation Garden" Watercolor, 2017