In today’s world, more than ever, the need for beauty is an essential element for plein air painters (and everyone); and time away from the chaos through the arts, is time well spent.
From my earliest days as a young child growing up in the Bronx, and then in Westchester County, New York, I somehow recognized the need for solace and respite from life’s pressures, even back then.
I remember my parents buying me a winter coat one year, when I was around 8 years old, and I insisted that it had to have a hood. To my young mind at the time, a hood would be the perfect place to hide, even if only for a few seconds, to get away from an unusually cruel elementary school teacher!
As I think back, some things never change; they just get different in many ways. Long gone are the days of needing a hood to hide behind, like a turtle retreating into its shell. These days I am not at all concerned about venturing out into the world, but there is still that need at times for finding the kind of peace that only solitude can provide.
As a landscape artist, that place for me and many others, is out in nature. Working alone in a field, in a canyon, or perched on the side of a mountain practicing my chosen craft is where I find some of life’s most satisfying moments.
For those of you who are practitioners of painting the landscape, I have no doubt that you can relate. Nature provides the perfect respite for the weary soul and a welcoming place where time seems to stand still as we take in the light, the smells, and sounds of a pristine setting.
Truthfully though, I have also sought out and found this same kind of solace in the canyons of large cities, painting the hustle and bustle of urban life while tucked away in some corner of a sidewalk, just far enough so as to not be noticeable.
City dwellers are an interesting group. They will pass you by without even a nod, as though you were just another pigeon or fixture on a light pole. It’s just the kind of anonymity that I crave to be able to get some work done in such a busy environment.
Wherever you may find it, don’t forget to make time for yourself to enjoy something you love, like painting a joyous landscape.
How do you find solace as a plein air painter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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