Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Get Out There

"Finally Spring"
Oil on Panel

I've been feeling rather suffocated in the studio lately - it’s a feeling I get every Spring. I’m a bit of a fair weather painter, so I often spend most of the winter in the warm confines of my studio, sipping hot tea and working on larger paintings while the snow falls outside. Come Spring, I’m stir-crazy and ready to get outside so I can infuse my work with a breath of much-needed fresh air.

As the years go by, I’m realizing that I need to get out more. That I need to brave the elements in the winter, and get outside on grey days that might not excite me. That the comfort of my studio isn't always the best choice for my development as an artist. There’s something about getting out in the world that gives my work more life, and a winter spent in the studio makes things stagnate. My paintings become a chore, and it shows.

I've been heading outside to paint at least once a week this spring, rain or shine, and painting scenes close to home that I would probably otherwise overlook. I've painted on dull days with flat light, and learned more than I expected about the beauty of grey in the landscape. I've painted scenes that didn't excite me, only to find myself experimenting with new compositions and formats. I've painted with friends, and spent far too much time talking about art and too little time painting. It’s been great, but my studio has still been feeling like a dungeon.


It’s taken me a while, but I've finally realized that sometimes, in addition to just getting out the door, I need an escape. I need to see a new landscape, go somewhere new, and get excited about the world that’s out there. Put the car in drive and get a few hours from home, where the air is thinner and the landscape less familiar. I need to go somewhere beautiful and wake up at dawn to watch the sun bathe the mountains with orange light. I need to get my feet wet walking through a marsh at sunset. I need to see the afternoon sun light up my kids' hair like a halo as they play on the beach. 

Whether I’m painting or not, getting out there is what gets me excited about the landscape. It makes me enthusiastic to get back to the studio and work out new ideas. It's the core of what I do as a landscape painter, and without it my work falls flat.


  1. You've been away for too long. Love your work and look forward to future posts.

  2. Thanks Rusty! It's so easy to keep connected and share work on Facebook that I neglect my poor little blog, but I miss putting bigger ideas about art into writing, so I'm going to get back to it.

  3. Stacey Peterson,
    Eu gosto muito de seu trabalho e também dos seus textos. Para entender melhor preciso passar pelo tradutor.
    Sua expressões aqui, são lindas e compartilho também dessa necessidade de ver paisagens bonitas, sentir o ar e o cheiro.
    Meus trabalhos são na maioria de Studio, mas preciso buscar a inspiração na natureza, fotografar e registrar bem na mente.
    Obrigado por compartilhar.

  4. Stacey,
    I know exactly how you feel about studio fatique
    I'm a plein air nut, and a fair weather painter at best which means I am in the studio in the winter months. However, this past winter, I tried getting out in the rain ( I live in Oregon), be it under an underpass, under a tree or and awning of sorts or bundling up in 28 degree sunshine. It was fun, crazy fun, and I learn so much from working from life. This year I will be out in the extreme heat but bringing loads of water to protect from dehydration...only a car distance away. Hoping you will join in the wild weather fun, if even by a shiver or sweat.

  5. Well put...and a beautiful painting too :-)

  6. Thank you Rosemarie!

    Yes Brenda - there's something that's fun about the adventure! Good for you getting out in the rain - sometimes those are the days where you find the most unexpected beauty.

    Thank you Nancy!!