Plein Aire Painting - making time for pleasure

by Lydia Makepeace

I live just around the corner from the beach but don’t visit as often as you might think - something I feel very guilty about. It’s just so easy to get cozy on the couch and watch a marathon of my favourite shows on Netflix. While I may find it relaxing, there’s a difference between being passively entertained and making time to take pleasure in an activity.

An activity done for pleasure, even a simple one, requires a little planning and effort, and I’ve gotten lazy, to the detriment of my health and creative work. Actively experiencing pleasure is what truly rejuvenates my spirit - it’s what fills the creative well.

With this in mind, I made time to visit the beach this week, to listen to the ocean waves and paint under blue skies. The French expression for this kind of painting experience is known as en plein aire, meaning “in the open air.” The air has a way of breathing life into a painting and allows the painter to capture not only the scenery but the feeling of that moment as well. Plein aire painting was made famous by Impressionist painters such as Monet, van Gogh, and Renoir.

I was only at the beach for an hour but I left feeling refreshed and proud to have made time for pleasure.

My moleskin journal, a little box of paints and a self moistening brush (LOVE) are all I need for painting on the beach.

My moleskin journal, a little box of paints and a self moistening brush (LOVE) are all I need for painting on the beach.

I love me some blue skies :D

I love me some blue skies :D

How about you, what brings you pleasure? Post a comment below.