Plein air painting is not for sissies! You’ll find members of the plein air group out and about whatever the weather. They’ll bundle up warmly, or put on a hat, finding shelter from the weather where they can and producing some amazing work.
This past week there were two outings – one to the harbour at Kalk Bay on Monday 17 May and one to the beach at St James on Wed 19 May, both firm favourites, with lots of choice of subject matter.
The sunny skies disguise the chill in the wind and clear blue can turn to cloudy grey in a matter of minutes, but overcast skies can produce some lovely atmospheric effects, which out artists are adept at capturing on canvas.
Every outing is enjoyable and invigorating in it’s own way. Thanks to all who take the trouble to organise the venues and to those who participate.
If you’d like to be part of the group, please email Sonja Frenz – email@example.com – and she’ll add you to her list.
Beth Lowe, plein air artist extraordinaire, held a workshop on St James Beach on Wednesday the second of March. There were nine participants gathered near the tidal pool, as Beth took us through her process.
Her equipment – obviously simple as it needs to be carried with her – consists of a French easel, a golf umbrella, which she ties down with guy ropes and tent pegs and of course, her paint-box of carefully chosen colours for outdoor painting.
Beth illustrated the importance of good drawing skills, composition and choice of focal point, as she worked on her demonstration piece.
After observing her painting for a while, we set up our easels and got going on our own canvases, while Beth walked between us, assisting where necessary and solving any problems that might have arisen.
By midday it had become rather hot and a little windy, so after watching Beth complete her painting, some of us jumped into the tidal pool to cool off. A refreshing end to a marvelous morning. Thank you Beth.
Our group met at “Ons Huisie” – a nice little family restaurant on the Blouberg beachfront – on Wednesday morning, the 24th of February.
It was a beautifully sunny day, with amazing colours all around, a sparkling blue sea and a light breeze to keep us cool. We had the choice of views across the bay to Table Mountain with it’s cloth of cloud and Robben Island, or the wonderfully rocky coastline and it’s scraggy plant life.
Many lovely paintings and sketches were produced, some finished and some not quite, but a great source of inspiration and perhaps reference for the next week’s studio work.
Finished or not, all our artists had a most enjoyable morning and we’ll definitely keep this venue in mind for future outings.
Thanks Sonja for organising it all – you pick great spots! – and if anyone else would like to join us, please email Sonja at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll add you to the whatsapp group.
The most recent plein air outing organised for us by Sonja Frenz, took place on Saturday 19 September. There were eight of us all together, who met up at Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay, on the most beautiful Spring morning.
It was sunny and windless, though not too hot – a perfect day for sitting around and sketching the magnificent vistas surrounding us. From our hillside viewpoint, we looked over the bay, with the Twelve Apostles dominating the view on one side and the ocean, the other.
The rock formations gave interesting close-up details to paint in their craggy shadows, as did the lone little windswept tree. We sat under our colourful umbrellas, with the sun at our backs and enjoyed a few hours of peaceful sketching.
Thank you Sonja, for arranging it for us. If anyone else would like to join one of our plein air outings, please email Sonja – email@example.com – and she’ll add you to our whatsapp group.
On Friday 27 September five of our artists had a fabulously creative morning at Fishoek Beach. We all spread out along the stretch of sand and had a wonderful time painting amidst the local dog walkers and holiday makers, who carefully stepped around us.
The weather was warm and perfect with just a bit of cloud in the sky, adding interest and texture – great for painting – while the sea showed off for us, displaying an amazing assortment of peacock colours, ranging from Indigo to turquoise.
We rounded off the session with Ice cream from the famous beach coffee shop. A very satisfying outing, inspiring some beautiful work and most enjoyed by all who were there.
Thanks to Johan Pieterse, for organising it for us.
On Friday 18 January, we had a very different Kommetjie plein air encounter! The long – usually white, sunlit – beach was shrouded in cloud and the iconic lighthouse was very well camouflaged in that cloudy background.
The day started off overcast, with sunny patches and was surprisingly chilly for this time of year, yet still a few brave souls came out to do some painting.
It turned into quite an adventure, ending with the intrepid few painting in the rain. Far from feeling disheartened, our artists found the experience quite invigorating and some exciting works were produced.
Thank you, Johan Pieterse, for organising it for us and thanks Kommetjie – we’ll be back!
On Saturday 21 July we had a full studio at the Peter Clarke Art Centre, when Tony Durrheim shared his secrets with us in a one day workshop.
Mainly self-taught, Tony discovered a passion for painting in 2000, when he attended a painting demo, after leaving the police force. We were regaled with tales of his life in and leaving of “the force”, keeping us well entertained throughout the day.
Tony’s love of the sea grew from his experiences as a young surfer in the 70s and shows in the mood and movement of his many seascapes, for which he is most well known.
The workshop was very fast paced – we completed a seascape in oil and acrylic in just over three hours – exhilarating for some, nerve-wracking for others – as Tony gave us all sorts of tips and “cheats” that he uses to enhance the watery effects in his work.
Tony’s advice to would-be artists “….you’ve got to have your own studio and you’ve got to paint every day…..the more you paint, the easier it becomes.”
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