“I’ll be at the office.”, the artist says with a twinkle in the eye. It’s a wry bit of humor that points out how fortunate the plein air artist is to have a workplace that has nice lighting, a beautiful view, and peaceful quiet. The desk is the easel, the carpet is dirt, weeds, or sand, and your co-workers, if any, are fellow painters. Corporate headquarters is on a hill, in a meadow, on a bluff overlooking the ocean, or in a quiet glen near a lake. The office has this amazing ability to move from location to location. The decor is different every day. Though the work is similar and the tools are the same, the focus of the work is always different. One day an old barn, the next day a field of wildflowers.
The work is never boring.(See Photos) But there can be a downside. Weather can make things pretty exciting. What plein air artist hasn’t run for cover from an approaching rain? Wind can treat a canvas like a sail and lifting an easel up then, realizing its mistake, dashing it to the ground, always wet canvas side down and onto something with lots of texture like gravel, sand, or weeds. Why doesn’t it ever land face up, one wonders? [Trick: eye-hooks at the base of your easel legs through which you can put wire-type tent stakes into the ground] A painting umbrella, if attached to your easel, can lift the entire easel in to the air and you with it. Or the umbrella can break off and bounce away down the hill like a tumbleweed with the wind at its back, you not knowing whether to leave your painting and chase it or just say #@&^$! and let it go. One wonders where all the umbrellas go when they get away. Do they all collect somewhere, piling up against a fence?