Artist Linda MacAulay painting plein air at Squeaky Beach

Painting Plein Air – March 2010 Watercolour artists Blog
There is something spontaneous and magical about painting from life. Recently I have been inspired by some of my artist friends to paint more on site and less in the studio. These paintings have a freshness and simplicity that I just don’t get in the studio. Maybe its the flies…or the blistering sun that dries everything unevenly….whatever it is I am liking the results and find myself taking my plien air paintings into the studio along with my photographs as reference material. I find I gain a greater understanding of my subject when I have painted on site.

Sunbury Views watercolour painting

I managed to buy a beautiful handmade book ideal for panoramic watercolours as pictured above. Using my aqua brush, a few tissues and a small half pan palette of limited colours I can paint anywhere. These little watercolour sketches take me about 10 to 20 minutes each and most of that is time spent waiting for something to dry before moving onto the next step.

The books come in a variety of sizes and papers and can be purchased from the Alcove Art Shop in Box Hill Melbourne.

Warrandyte River watercolour painting

I write the location and date each picture when I am finished. This is my own special keepsake. I don’t plan to sell these little sketches.

Walkerville watercolour painting

I also have been painting larger paintings on site. I paint these on a Daler Watercolour board which I cut to size. This is a quality watercolour paper bonded to a cardboard backing. The advantages of using this board when painting is that it does not need stretching, it does not buckle and it eliminates the need to use a backing board. I simply hold the board in my hand while I paint. Mostly I sit on the ground with my painting kit pictured below. Everything pictured fits into the plastic cosmetic zipper bag which I can easily fit into my backpack that I take everywhere.

Plien air painting kit – Linda Mac Aulay

My kit contains a palette which I refill with artist quality Windsor and Newton tube paints, a tube of white gouache, a small spray bottle, some tissues, a mechanical pencil (no need to sharpen ever) , a rubber, my aqua brush, a paintbrush, my handmade panoramic watercolour book, schmincke masking fluid and my moleskin watercolour book. Left in the zipper bag are my waterproof artist pens and a small book I use for sketching.

Aqua brush used for watercolor painting on site

This little aqua brush is a wonder. No need to take water with you. Just fill the handle with water a squeeze it out as you need it. I am surprised by how little water I use with this brush and it has transformed my ability to paint in the field.

Here are some links to my wonderful and inspiring artist friends websites.

Painting plien air

Above. Way too much gear………Now I just take the small kit


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