What is 'en plein air' ? ... 'En plein air' is a French term, meaning in the open air. Often used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Getting away from the stress of everyday life, enjoying the wonderful world we live in, and at the same time doing what I enjoy - painting, who could ask for more?

Visiting new places, travelling overseas, painting, making new friends - what life could be better than that? This is the joy of painting len plein airl. Many times, artists will take their paintings done on location home to complete, or perhaps, undertake a larger studio painting from an original small plein air study.

Painting en plein air does present its own unique challenges, and yes, there are sometimes failures, or paintings that aren’t all you pictured them to be. However, all is not lost, and quite often these ‘failures’ can be saved, or reworked on another visit. Sometimes, just wiped off and painted over may be disheartening at times, but all part and parcel of painting out on location.

View my other paintings:





Painting on location photograph with umbrella and pochade

Thoroughly enjoying this way of painting, although the only thing slightly against is our weather where we may have five climates in one day. This is something all plein air artists around the world cope with - possibly making painting on location all the more challenging.

As mentioned in Wikipedia, French impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir advocated plein air painting, and much of their work was done outdoors in the diffuse light under a large white umbrella.

A plein air group has been set up in Auckland. View details bottom of page.

First day - one painting

oil painting en plein air Red Hill

Next day - same scene, another painting

oil painting en plein air Red Hill

'Chasing the light" is a well known expression in the world of plein air painting. Sometimes it's a momentary mixture of light, blending clouds with sky reflecting on the land. Of course one should feel an affinity with the scene to be painted and when this does happen, a painting normally emerges which is pleasing and am happy with.

Not for the faint hearted. plein air painting certainly challenges the painter, not only with the type of paint used to paint out in the open, but also having to cope with the environment, including flies, mosquitoes, bugs, cold, wind, rain, heat, onlookers and lack of facilities. Not to mention the equipment to be transported. Once tried though, one does become 'hooked'.

'en plein air' - painted on location

When one has a love/affinity with the scene, a painting normally emerges which is pleasing and happy with. These have been undertaken 'en plein air' - some totally completed at the location, others adjusted in studio.

Little Shoal Bay
Oil on loose canvas
Oil on board
Oil on board 12x12inches
Oil on canvas 30x30cm (12x12inches)
Shelley Bay
Oil on board. 19x30cm (7½"x12")
Karaka reflections
Oil on board 28cmx23cm (11"x9")
St Heliers Bay
Oil on board
Arkles Bay 1
Oil on loose canvas
Arkles Bay 2
Oil on loose canvas
Oil on board
Little Shoal Bay
Oil on board
Hunua Road creek
Oil on board 28cmx23cm (11"x9")
Artwork may have been completed on location or in the studio.
The Tor
Oil on board

Visit me on Facebook and Instagram.
Instagram - one for studio/plein air - another for resin.
Links may be found via my Contact page.

Share your New Zealand plein air paintings

Whether a resident of New Zealand, or a visitor, share your plein air artwork to a page specifically set up for this (opens in a new tab). Plein Air Painters - of New Zealand
If you would like to go out painting with others in Auckland, visit PAPNZ  (opens in a new tab) all will be welcomed.