A friend once said to me, about Life, that "Everything Changes". A simple observation, but very true. After a year or so, of concentrating on my drawing skills, I eagerly attended our Plein Air Festival Art In The Open, here in Wexford, not expecting too much from myself, as I hadn't painted outdoors for a long while.
Art In The Open, for me, has always been less about competition, and more about meeting our friends , Artists who live parallel lives , at home and all around the world. They come to Wexford speaking the common language of Art.
I have never witnessed any large ego's that are sometimes attached to people, and only a lot of respect, love and support towards each other, and for what we do.
Perhaps it's the common experience of battling with the elements,and the persistence needed to continuously raise our level in this type of art. Contrary to the comments I hear while out painting..It's not an easy skill to develop, and sometimes I would go so far as to say it's Like an Adrenalin Sport. ( I can imagine the screwed up faces reacting to those words)...
Sure, there are days, when it can be relaxing, your in a zone, and the elements are just right. Weather is constant, not too many distractions, your interested in the subject you are painting, and your head is in the right place.
A Majority of the time however, particularly here in Ireland, when the light changes rapidly, there is an element of "racing". My heart beats faster, senses are heightened, aware of my surroundings, but still focused on the job to hand. It's getting myself into that zone, that is part of the training for Plein Air, and why it doesn't work for some.
There is an element of "being grounded" to a Plein air artist. The connection with Nature, thinking from the feet up, instead of shoulders up. Feeling your subject, not just theorizing about it. Experiencing and witnessing first hand, and uniquely expressing that through all your senses. Though it has a long history, it remains contemporary, as artists strive to make sense of their world, making art in the present and responding to their now...
So saying, I was delighted to receive a bronze award for my Painting "The Banks of the Nore" -Innistioge ". A wonderful thing happens when I paint, I feel a connection, to all that have given me advice, and insights into their experiences. It must be the same for all skills, in that we never truly achieve on our own, but are a culmination of our own experiences, and that of others, who so generously help in our own journey. Our duty is to be the same for others, and that is where Art In The Open is uniquely positioned. It creates that atmosphere of support, and joy in each others discoveries, which enriches our lives, and encourages us to keep moving forward in learning on our journey.
Everything changes in life, (we lost a dear friend in the past year), but one constant and a means of making sense in our world is art, and for us "plein air", which connects us with the past, while continuously striving for a better future.
Today I'm feeling all philosophical, it may not happen again for some time :)
+Antti Rautiola for the photo