In Plein Sight

Scott Holstein

Artist Joan Vienot paints her view of the Oaks Marina in Niceville.


The term, en plein air, is a French phrase that simply translated means “in the open air” and has come to define the art of painting outdoors. The roots of plein air painting are found in 19th-century Europe when paints became available in tubes and allowed artists to leave the studio and carry equipment to the location of their choice. English artist John Constable believed that artists should forget “formulas” and trust their own vision in finding truth in nature. Over the past 15 years, plein air painting has experienced resurgence in popularity due to the great connection made between the artist and his subject and potential patron.

Most often plein air painting is done on location, capturing the atmosphere of the moment. The majority of the painting must be completed on site with little to no work to be done in the studio. Most artists agree this is the true test of one’s skill as a painter as it requires complete confidence in placement of color and brushwork in a short amount of time. For example, a sunset may only last 30 to 40 minutes. That would be all the time the artist has to capture the scene.

It’s plain to see the Emerald Coast Plein Air Painters are one of the many things that make this area even more beautiful to behold.

*happiness is …

Categories: Art, Nature