Why Paint Outdoors?

Christopher Best

Why Paint outdoors? I get this question a fair amount. Artist, painters specifically have two means to draw inspiration from. Observation and imagination. The imagination is fed by observation. If I asked you to make up an animal from your imagination, you would take a few traits from different animals and smash them together to make a new animal. Everything imagined is a re-ordering of known forms. When I paint outside I go directly to the source. There is so much information to select from and restate as I choose. Photographs, while an art form in and of them selves, are not ideal to work from. So much information has already been selected and so much discarded that the end result is much more of a copy than an interpretation. And if it is an interpretation it is rarely a convincing one. When the artist has very limited information to draw from, one is forced to make things up, which more often than not fails to be convincing. Any outdoor scene has almost limitless information to draw upon and select from. A photo has already smashed the colors into a limited range, cropped the scene as well as chosen a range of values for you. In short, nature has far more information to choose and select from. And therefore more room for imagination to have its place. When you paint outdoors, you learn its language. And then can use that for creative interpretation. Painting outdoors also forces the artist to work more closely with the 4th dimension: Time. But that will be addressed in my next blog post. 4 Dimensional Painting.

Leave a Comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published