Plein air painting of a beach scene
"Paddling" (2019, oil, 9 3/5 x 11 4/5 in., Private collection, plein air) by Roos Schuring, featured in the PleinAir Magazine article "Plein Air The World Over" (June/July 2021 issue).

From the Editor’s Note in Plein Air Magazine, June/July 2021:

One of the side effects of the pandemic has been the realization that we truly are in this together. Precautions and restrictions impacted people the world over, forcing all of us to find creative ways to stay connected. In cities like London, New York, and Atlanta, people clapped and rang bells in the evening to show their appreciation for hospital workers at shift change. And people everywhere were cheered by the videos of Italians singing with one another from their balconies in the earliest stages of lockdown.

Plein Air Magazine Cover
The cover of our June/July 2021 issue of Plein Air Magazine; art by Lori Putnam (Click here to buy the digital version now) 

We’ve reported extensively on how plein air artists and events have learned to cope in these strange times. But there’s another interesting development that I think could have implications far into the future. If you’ve been tuning in to the daily Facebook Live presentations by PleinAir Magazine publisher Eric Rhoads, you know that people from around the world have joined the conversation.

With so many more people at home looking for inspiration, artists and organizers are finding that by getting creative online, they’ve attracted audiences who otherwise would never have known about them or participated in their offerings.

We’ve been surprised — and delighted — that artists from many different countries have been signing up for our Live events (you can read about our latest Plein Air Live in this issue). It’s been encouraging and inspiring to hear how artists from all over have been faring and how they approach plein air painting where they live. Excited by this exchange, I talked to 10 top artists from around the world to find out how plein air is practiced in their countries — for example, if there are events and festivals like in the U.S., or whether it is a group or solitary activity — and how it fits into their overall process.

For me, one of the most compelling aspects of the story is the range of styles celebrated in various parts of the world. And although some of what the artists had to say will surprise you, much will sound familiar. After all, when it comes down to it, the impetus to paint plein air often comes down to a few simple things. As Roos Schuring of the Netherlands put it, “As outdoor painters, I think it’s as important to be immersed in our subject as the process of painting itself. That’s a cool way of looking at plein air painting, right? It’s an expression of the awe we feel for the beauty, light, and colors of nature.”

Now that we’ve made these connections with artists around the world who share our passion for plein air painting, is there any going back? I hope not. I think we have a lot to share and a lot to learn from one another. It’s a small world (after all).

Plein Air Magazine, June/July 2021 Table of Contents:

Plein Air Magazine contents

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Related: Browse articles about plein air painting for beginners here.