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Pastellus: Just Start

About a year ago, while talking with Susan Nicholas-Gephart she mentioned that she paints plein air in the winter. So in awe of this woman! She is the boss - painting plein air in the winter. As I questioned her further she revealed that she paints in her car. Pure genius I say! It is important to paint from life and on location, this is how we learn to see. The practice of seeing makes us better artists. Wether we create masterpieces on location or just initial sketches to be used in the studio, from life is so much better than a reference photo when possible. So Susan’s tid bit of information has been on my mind, stirring often, while I explore plein air painting. Each time I attempt to paint plein Air - taking too many supplies or not enough - I wondered how can she possibly paint in her car? I envision pastels rolling down the dashboard being forever lost in that crevasse just before the windshield. Or Susan, board in lap, covered in eggplant pastel dust reaching, flailing, towards the box of pastels just out of reach at her feet. Due to my feeble attempts at plein air painting I have spent hours researching, reading artists blogs and compiling a wish list of items that would be very helpful to have, but none of them useful in a car - the woman is impressive! Bottom line is I have been painting seriously for almost 2 years now and the only thing I am sure of is, my artistic abilities do not warrant that kind of financial investment, and such an investment will not help me paint in my car, or on a boat, or on a hill or; you get the point. As I packed for Thanksgiving with the family, looking longingly at my pastels it dawned on me that I don’t need anything special or extra to paint from life. I too can paint in a car! The ability to paint in a car, or on a boat, or on a hill requires three things. An artist, a set of pastels, pastel paper (ok, maybe a board and some wet wipes). I just need to start. Since my realization I have run across some blogs on this very subject, the links are below. I am very curious to hear all the places that you paint from life and how you do it, do you have a complete plein air set up that you take out or do you have a backpack ready to go. There is so much to learn and try, I am excited to start today! Excited to hear from you at During January’s challenge I will definitely be challenging myself to paint from my car, in my office, at my mom’s and anyplace else I can paint from life. Take a few minutes to get to know Susan at Plein Air in Stealth Mode A small box of pastels - perfect for traveling with carry on only!

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