Plein Air Video Competition

A month or so ago James Gurney, best known as the author and illustrator of the Dinotopia series and his incredibly informative artist blog Gurney Journey, announced a plein air video competition.

The rules were simple: Compose a video one minute or less describing the challenges of painting outdoors. The top five entries would be chosen and I made the cut!

Here’s my entry:


The winner will be chosen by popular vote. To vote, visit the page here. All of the entries are fabulous and are both inspiring and comical. When painting en plein air an artist is leaving the safety of a light and temperature controlled studio to venture into the wild unknown. Light and shadows change rapidly and an artist must be quick and instinctive, relying on past study of how light works (it’s not always about what you see in front of you. Our eyes can trick us!). And then there’s the danger of the elements. I have painted in all sorts of weather from the bitter cold to torrential downpours to the unrelenting heat. I’ve been frostbit, stung and bitten, severely sunburned, and chastised for trespassing.

Sometimes the most difficult part is interacting with curious onlookers. For one, I’m already a very quiet, slightly awkward person. Being an artist makes me even more odd as I certainly don’t follow the expected norms for someone my age (settling down, having kids, getting a normal job…). For the most part people I have met along my outdoor painting adventures have been lovely…But then I’m asked to explain why I’m painting stuff. It’s hard to put into words…

Describing the adventures of painting en plein air though, that’s easy! If you want to get your vote in, be quick as voting concludes this Sunday at midnight.

A special thanks to my amazing and incredibly talented brother over at Rise Up Productions for filming and editing my entry!