Not So Plein

Plein air art is all the rage these days, with major events taking place locally each year in Cedarburg, Door County, and Shorewood alone! What makes this art form so special? What even is it? And how do you start? We’ve got the answers! Riveredge is very excited to be offering an intro course on August 24th with a full day of instruction, experimentation, and creation from talented artist and educator, Colleen Koziara. To give you a sneak peek of what to expect, Colleen was kind enough to answer some of our questions on plein air.

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What exactly is plein air art?

Plein aire means “open air”. Simply put, plein air is painting outdoors, live from nature.

What makes it unique?

Most people paint from picture references, in studios. Plein air painting allows you to experience the changing light in a scene and really see how it moves and changes, and in doing so, how it changes the shadows and colors of your subject.

What do you enjoy most about this type of art?

The surprises! Would you use purple while painting a wheat field? Nope. Not until you have sat and watched the sun go down and realized that the shadows become purple, or blue! The color knowledge gained by sitting and watching the sunlight move across the land is unequaled by any formal studio training, anywhere.

Is this something only experienced artists will be able to do well? What if I’m new and don’t have a big art background?

NO previous experience is necessary!! Beginners will have a wonderful time, and not only learn about color and technique, but they will also have a chance to let go and learn about just having fun with a new form of art. ALL Materials and equipment are provided. You will go home with a finished piece of art you created yourself!

What can participants expect to do/learn at the class on Riveredge?

We will learn to choose our view and setup our painting layout for interest and depth. We will identify our own artistic preference for vista, tableau or closeup and how to adjust our painting to support that. Color identification, mixing and brush technique. Information on their medium of choice that day and the proper equipment, usage and cleanup. They will learn how to make and use a perspective frame, and how to take beneficial photos for future use as picture/color references. We will discuss how to equip for a plein air session anywhere. And, based upon conversations that just come up during class, probably a whole lot more!!

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