Monday, July 18, 2011

Boulder Bay & About "Plein Air"

oil on canvas panel 9x12 inches

For this, the last of my studies at Big Bear, I started at 4:30 pm. Boulder Bay is probably one of the most beautiful scenes at the lake. The conditions were changing very quickly. For the last forty-five minutes I was literally blinded by the light off the water, and had to try to remember what it looked like when I started. The wind increased too, which set my teeth to chattering and the rest of me shivering uncontrollably. I should have known. The lake is around 7000 ft. elevation, so I learned to bring warm gear next time, even in July.

The current issue of PleinAir Magazine contains a thought provoking article by executive director of the Irvine Museum, Jean Stern. Titled "Plein Air Painting: A Vehicle, Not a Destination, the article contains some history of outdoor painting, but more importantly the argument that these little studies should be just that, studies for larger studio works which properly portray nature's majesty and grandeur. Makes a lot of sense to me. If you're an outdoor painter, you should read this article. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts if you do.


  1. Beautiful job Karen! I've only tackled plein air painting once and it was on a beach in Greece so I can't complain. Your painting turned out great despite your battle with the elements:)

  2. Karen, when I saw this little painting, I felt a little relief from our Kansas heat. There is something so cool and refreshing about this picture. According to your story of the painting, maybe you could have used some of our 100 to 105 degree heat. I would love to trade some. Only 1 more month of heat to go! Thanks for sharing.


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