Plein air painting at the beach
Shown here warm and (mostly) dry shortly before the incident, André Lucero lives and maintains a studio in Richmond, Virginia.

One of the things that makes plein air painting so enjoyable is that it’s full of adventure. In March, I went to Florida for the Plein Air Festival at the Lighthouse ArtCenter in Tequesta. A nor’easter had just come through so the surf was up, making a beautiful backdrop for the model I’d hired and positioned at the water’s edge.

I was midway into the painting when a rogue wave came out of nowhere and knocked me over. The blast of water held me down, destroying the phone in my pocket before moving up the shore to fill the painting box I custom-built for myself 15 years ago. On its way back down the beach, the rushing water threatened to take my box with it out to sea. Fortunately, some nice ladies grabbed it before it was gone.

Once I got my bearings, I gathered up my painting gear, emptied the ocean water from my painting box, and continued working. The weather, the light, and the model were so fantastic, I even set up for another painting after I’d finished the first one.

When plein air painting, I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. I have to be ready to roll with the punches — or waves, as the case may be.
— André Lucero (

André Lucero, "Morning Stroll," 2018, oil, 20 x 16 in., Collection the artist, Plein air
André Lucero, “Morning Stroll,” 2018, oil, 20 x 16 in., Collection the artist, Plein air

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