Did I tell you that I love painting on Saturday mornings? The treasured weekly ritual had several added bonuses that I did not anticipate this past weekend, when I joined two women I recently met, to paint “en plein air”.
Soon into our first conversation, one of the women suggested that we paint together “en plein air”, a French expression which means “in the open air” and it is often used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Pioneered in the early 1800’s by British painter John Constable, the outdoors painting style soon spread to France and Italy, and eventually centered on a bucolic hamlet within the forest of Fontainebleau called Barbizon, where the now famous Barbizon School of landscape artists took its name.
Just like the Barbizon artists, the three of us gathered in my garden this past Saturday, and enthusiastically embraced the outdoor’s experience. Just like the 19th Century artists, we vary in age, use very different techniques and mediums, and have diverse training and experience in practicing art. We set up a large picnic table and chairs, secured fresh water, and each of us set out to create something meaningful, relishing the warm and sunny day, and appreciating a soft breeze whenever it touched our skins.
While Juliette used the outdoor setting much as she would have used an indoor studio, she felt energized by the morning, the breeze, the birds and the company. She had a photograph she wanted to render, using watercolors, whereas she normally uses oil paints. Holly used watercolors and fancy brushwork to create lyrical vignettes of my garden. I decided to use a floor easel and brought out my acrylics, alcohol, rags and large brushes. We began by meditating amidst the flowers, the trees, the sounds, the mulched path and the peaceful Buddha.
Brush in hand, I faced the riot of colors and textures, the strong scent of the greenery and the concert of chirping birds and allowed the paint to touch the prepared stretched fabric. Indigo blue acrylic paint, directly from the tube and titanium white got on first. I used a wide brush laden with pure water to move the colors and loosely blend them across the canvas. Then, I followed by spraying and splashing alcohol to help the diluted paint expand and to create the glistening expansiveness of the sky I was seeing and feeling. Even though my eyes saw the distinct flower mounds, the trees, the path, the seating arrangement, and the cars parked against the fence, it was once again my heart that determined how it is all depicted on the final painting.
The heart-mind is the window to our higher selves, and the house of our souls. When we look at the world with the eyes of the soul, we see our inner light reflected in the objects, in the experiences and in the people we encounter. When we see our light reflected in nature, we see beauty; when we see our light reflected in people, we feel love, when we see the world thus, we experience grace. On Saturday morning, each of us experienced grace painting together “en plein air”.
The magic continued when we decided to have a picnic on the beach the next afternoon. Walking together we experienced our beauty reflected on the sand and in the water. As we traded stories of our journey, we saw our light reflected in the amazing cloudless sky. Witnessing a glorious sunset we felt the sparkle of grace, inside and out, etched on the face of the rising moon.
I invite you to share my “bonuses” by purchasing the original painting for a bonus price. The 24” x 18” canvas-wrapped painting needs no framing. I am offering it at $180.00 for 3 days only. Offer ends on 8/6/2015 ( regular price is $333.00). Click on Morning in the Garden to get it now!
Have a blissful week!