White Barn Tree Study, May 2011
With much trepidation, I began painting in plein air last month. I've always admired artists who can take their studio on the go and complete a painting in an afternoon or as little as an hour. While I don't have ambitions to be a landscape painter, I have always enjoyed painting and want to improve my skills so I can incorporate it into my encaustic work. Plus, it's such a wonderful way to spend time outdoors.
Joy McManaman shows me how its done
To get started, I decided to take a couple lessons from a seasoned plein air artist here in town named Joy McManaman. I needed someone to walk me through the steps of how it works, what paints you need, what supplies, how you start, how you mix colors quickly. It was the best thing I could have done. Not only is Joy a delight to be with, but she's a talented painter and a great teacher.

First plein air lesson out off Old Ranch Road
She taught me how to work from diffuse colors in the background to brighter colors in the foreground, we covered thick and thin paints and even how to make trees - and yes they were happy trees. Mostly it was just nice to have someone show me how to do it. For some reason, moving to the outdoors with all my stuff just seemed so daunting.

Out on my own with my new pochade box
Nonetheless, I feel confident now to do it on my own. I even bought my own packable pochade box and today I am headed out into the field to practice. For those of you in Park City and attending Savor the Summit tomorrow night, be sure to stop by Chimayo and say hi. I'll be painting the beautiful you as you enjoy your amazing dinner on Main Street.