If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about dedicated plein air painters, it’s their love of light and the great lengths they’ll go to behold and/or paint the perfect light condition. I myself have been known to run off a road or two as I turn my head in amazement at a striking sunset or to run out of the room mid-conversation to go gawk at a particularly beautiful Golden Hour moment, and I know there are countless others who have done similar—usually much to the chagrin and confusion of the nonartists among them.
by Edgar Payne, ca. 1918, oil, 12 x 16.
Image courtesy Edenhurst Gallery, Palm Desert, California.
Perhaps the best historical case of Plein Air-itis (the uncontrollable urge to get outside and paint on a beautiful day) is the story of Edgar Payne, who, on the morning of his wedding to Elsie Palmer on November 9, 1912 asked his fiancee if she would mind calling the guests and rescheduling the wedding until later that day because “the light was perfect.” (Now that’s some serious dedication.)
I’d like to hear your stories of a particular instance where you abruptly ended a conversation, rescheduled an engagement (hopefully not your wedding), or maybe even risked your life to get a glance of, or paint, one of nature’s not-to-be-missed moments of beauty.