Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Painting Outdoors

Our theme for the Living History Day was the Early 1900s. At that time, plein air, or outdoor painting was very important. Why did this kind of painting become more prominent from 1800 on? The invention of something very important to artist -- the paint tube. What did artists use before that? The University of Houston website tell us,

By the 1700s the demand for oil paints had led to new subspecialties among
painters. The colourman now mixed paint and sold it to artists. He radically
changed the business of oil painting. Colourmen sold the first premixed paints in pig's bladders. Then they sold paint in syringes -- rather like grease-guns. By 1800 you could buy oil paint in tin tubes.

As cameras appeared, painters had to redefine their own purpose. Equipped with really portable oils, they changed the game. Instead of reporting the world objectively, they gave us their self-expressive response to a far more fluid world.

To experience plein art painting, we set up to paint outdoors. Students made watercolor sketches outdoors. We'll be finishing those paintings this week in art class.

Below is the scene we were looking at as we painted.

Below is my own color sketch of the scene. As kids finish theirs up, I'll post some of theirs too.

1 comment:

Paul Bozzo said...

Nice lesson! I am anxious to see what your kids come up with. (Looks like you had a beautiful day in northern PA.)