I haven’t had an art studio until recently because I was moving, then working a day job to pay for the extra expenses of moving for the past 6 months. To say that I have an art studio may imply a larger, more formal space than my easel in the corner of the room setup. My space maybe small, but it’s a dedicated place for my art, so I’m calling it a studio. During time I was between art studios, I had to improvise a painting setup. I found myself painting outdoors and, eventually, painting on my lap quite a bit. Now that I have an art studio and don’t have to paint in my lap, I found that I prefer painting watercolors in my lap.
On the morning after the July 4th holiday here in the United States, I decided to visit Mount Trashmore for a session of plein air painting or painting outside on location directly from life. I have fond memories of going there with my father as a child with him and my cousins and as an adult to reminisce during his final years with us. The park was packed the day before with families out to celebrate the holiday and see the fireworks. The City of Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation staff was out en masse before my arrival and did a great job of cleaning up after yesterday's fireworks, and they loved having me there.
July is World Watercolor Month, an art challenge started by Doodlewash to raise awareness of watercolor as an art medium. Unlike most art challenges, this one is a bit more realistic in that all you need to do is something. You don't have to complete a finished piece of art to post. Works in progress and even showing up to paint counts. Just make an effort to create art with watercolor and post with #worldwatercolormonth to participate. With that in mind, I started July with the goal of plein air painting on the beach at sunrise at least once a week in July.
I'm caring for a long haired dachshund who is 15 going on 16 with lots of grey hair and very little energy. She loves being outside and wants to be next to me, but can't tolerate winds above 8mph, too much sun, cloudy days with no sun at all, temps above 60 degrees without shade or below 55 degrees without sun.
But with spring comes the hope that this year will be the year that I go out and plein air paint. So I try out the gear and equipment on my deck while the dog sits under the chair hoping that the sun doesn't move any further up on her body because then she will have to move.
We were enjoying daytime temperatures in the upper 70's to low 80's here in Virginia last February. I took advantage of the opportunity to visit Virginia Beach to paint outside. Over time, the following tips have proven themselves to be valuable when painting outside: