Saturday, February 16, 2019


"Ringling Museum View"     11" x 15" image
watercolor and marker
Painting Plein Air is not an easy task.  But now that we winter in Florida, I have embraced it and absolutely LOVE painting on location.  I didn't say that my painting were successful, but I really enjoy everything about this.  The sounds, the smells, really "seeing" the scene, and growing as an artist in the process.  I'm still trying to find "me" in this process.  By that, I consider myself a semi-abstract artist, and I like that people can recognize that it is mine without looking at the signature.  I painted this alongside longtime friend, Pat Undis and her friends, Susan McLean and Michele Combs, all of which are very experienced Plein air painters.  It was a really fun day, but when Michele said to me, "I can't wait to see what you come up with looking at this view," I thought to myself, "She's right.  I should be painting just like I do in the studio, putting my abstract spin on these Plein air paintings."  So, I immediately stroked a bright red in the tree area, just to make it a little out of my comfort zone.  Then I drew a fast contour drawing of the scene and started layering to build up my values.  I'm pretty pleased that it looks like the scene, but I'm NOT pleased that it still doesn't have my "Knutson flare" on it.  So, I will keep going out, about 2 times per week, painting on location and trying to find the real "ME" of Plein aire painting.  I'd love to hear discussion of your early ventures with Plein air painting in the comments below.  Happy Painting!


  1. Your blog on Plein air painting was very timely. I spent the day Plein air painting. I’m not comfortable with “pap”, which is why I did it, as well as trying to make some art friends here in Florida. When my drawing attempt at Meyers Lemons, some of which looked more like oranges, was not going well, I decided to try my watercolor pencils, which I have also had little success with. When they didn’t help the orange- lemons, I decided to go abstract. Two meditative hours passed by, and I had an abstract painting which was somewhat pleasing, my first success with watercolor pencils, a desire to do it all again, as well as some lovely photos for studio paintings. I met some nice artists and had a great afternoon. Your hints will make my next venture even more challenging!

  2. How timely is this article! I spent the day Plein air painting, which is usually unsatisfying for me. I did it for that very reason, as well as to try to make some new artist friends here in Florida. My pencil drawing of two Meyers lemons was unsuccessful, partially because my models looked like a lemon and an orange! I took out my watercolor pencils, which I also have had little success with, to see if they could help. Me painting now looked like a yellow lemon and a yellow orange! Decided to go abstract. Two meditative hours later, I had a passable, much improved painting, and my first success with wc pencils and some lovely photos for future paintings. And an eagerness to try again. Now some KK tips to add to my tool box!



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