Extreme Painting

Extreme Painting


Searching for Brook

Do you paint outdoors at all? It was something that I would not even consider before 2010. Why would I even give it a second thought? Things are just the way I like them here inside this nice comfy studio. And you, do you have nice lighting, with digital stereo, all your paints where you can get to them without even looking, plus the dial on the thermometer set on a comfortable 76 degrees?  I do! But that’s not extreme painting, that’s like Clark Kent and being a mild mannered reporter.


Now look at me, outdoor painting is all I do, grab my gear and go. It’s like I can’t stop doing it now. Sometimes I have a destination, other times I’m just heading out waiting for something to catch my eye. I don’t think that’s extreme at all… just driven.


I’ve always enjoyed the outdoors, the season changes, weather of all conditions. I find it exhilarating. So to be out in it is great, then to be out in it creating art is like a dream come true. AND, I’m learning how to do it is the amazing thing. Any time, anywhere, when the mood strikes… GO!


Extreme Painting? It’s painting outdoors when the drama is there. If you only go outdoors to paint on clear blue days, its clear blue days you are going to get. I love drama in a painting, and there is no better drama outdoors than what old Mother Nature throws at you.


In recent months there have been articles with photos in “Outdoor Painter,” Plein Air magazine’s online affiliate written of me. Then November’s issue of Plein Air Magazine has me in their “Extreme Painting” section. Of course I love the press, who wouldn’t, but I am not one to put myself at great risk like a snowboarder going blindly off a mountain side, or you won’t see me “base jumping” from your local water tower. Now those are extremes. I’m a mild mannered artist, who just loves to paint outdoors.


Plus you get better results this way.


Painting in conditions that are less than perfect takes much of the control “that I pretend to have”,  right out of my hands, and I must rely more on instinct. When you are holding things down because the winds are picking up, and the rain is beginning to come horizontally, you tend to speed up your strokes. It gives that “loose” feel that I spend so much time trying to achieve, when all I really needed was a bull barreling down on me from across the pasture.


I love the look, the feel, that added sense when looking at some of the work from the masters of Plein Air painting. They do in just a few strokes what I work forever on, and still don’t come close. But I will, or I may die trying.


I have tried the setting a timer on me to try to paint faster, which in turn should bring about what I am trying to accomplish. But knowing that when that buzzer sounds, you can say, “okay, just 1 more minute” Then paint for 2 more minutes… or even 3 when I’m feeling really bold. For some reason, I don’t quite get the same results as when I’m out in subfreezing weather, bundled in layers with mittens to keep my hands warm and my strokes loose. Or, give me an 18×24” canvas, and a number 8 bright brush, then crank the heat up to 105 in the shade and let’s get painting. It’s all good!


So is it extreme painting that I love, or painting in the extremes? Hmmm



Co-founder Missouri Valley Impressionist Society