For several years, Alexandre Reider and his wife have organized plein air painting trips around their home in Brazil with their students. Every once in a while, however, they aim for something much larger. This year, they landed in Austria.
Alexandre Reider and his wife live and work together in São Paulo, Brazil, having recently opened their Plein Air Studio school. On August 25, the two traveled with a group of students to the town of Lech Am Arlberg in the Austrian Alps, where they taught plein air courses for five days. The following is Alexandre’s day-to-day account of their incredible experience:
In this high alpine region, western Austria, is located the municipality Lech-Zürs Am Arberg.
Lech am Arlberg is a mountain village and an exclusive ski resort and in the summer, a place with magnificent hiking trails and idyllic views. The most wonderful place for plein air painting with so many breathtaking mountain landscapes.
Hiking and plein air painting at Formarinsee & Rote Wand
After a one-hour walk up the hills, passing along the gorgeous Formarin Lake, we reached the Freiburger Hut. We had a privileged view of the impotent Rote Wand (the second higher mountain in the region, with 2704m AA) and we found the perfect place to set our painting gear. Since it’s an adventure to paint outdoors when there’s rain on the way, we stayed next to the lodge/restaurant to take shelter and lunch while the rain was falling. When the paintings were done, we all went walking down the mountain, carrying our painting gear, to take the bus back to town.
We felt the Alps’ presence this day, but managed to execute the first plein air study. Back in our cozy Hotel Pension Alt Hubertus, it was time to relax and enjoy the pampering.
Plein air painting at Rüfikopf
We went up Mount Rüfikopf on board the Rüficopf cable car (not so much sweat today), to discover a stunning panoramic view of the mountain scenery at an altitude of 2.350M. The sunny day made the color palette brighter and the students made beautiful oil sketches, always with a demo and the orientation from Professor Reider.
Sightseeing in the nearby historic town of Innsbruck
It was a day of many photographs in the city and on the beautiful train ride.
(Panoramic view from the top of the Bergisel Stadium, visit to the circular mural at the Tyrol Panorama Museum, promenade through old downtown and by the lake.)
Hiking and plein air painting: Oberlech & Kriegeralpe
A brief walk to get to the most beautiful spot in the mountain for outdoor painting, next to the koi pond. We painted to the sound of the bells of the cows grazing quietly around us. We watched the homemade cheese production of alpenkäse (alpine cheese), and, for lunch, we had a delicious käsespatzle accompanied by beer in the cozy Kriegeralpe.
At the end of the day, some of us still had the strength for a free painting session right next to the Hotel Alt Hubertus.
Outdoors alpine barbecue
There are barbecue facilities around Lech-Zuers, equipped with grills, table, seats, and dry wood. It is only necessary to have something to start the fire with, the food to cook, and something to drink.
We settled near Älpele, turning left at the first bridge. We had such an amazing time with the beer crate cooling inside the river run, Austrian sausages on the grill, schnapps, and drinking water directly from the river — so clean, descending straight from the top of the icy mountain. Some brave ones even risked a swim in the waterfall! And yes, some of us painted scenes on the site! The teacher gave a demonstration using the crystal-clear water.
During the last dinner at the hotel we held an exhibition with all the work done during the week of workshops #PleinAirAustria. And to top the experience, the teacher raffled one of his canvases to the students.
Farewell and return to Brazil
We said our goodbyes with desire to stay in that lovely place that received us with grace and courtesy.
Like one of our students said: “Once you paint a scene, especially en plein air when you are part of it, it gets so indelibly marked in your mind that you’ll never forget it.”
To learn more, visit Plein Air Art Studio.
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