Friday, April 15, 2011

Writing "en plein air"

Recently I attended an event called "A 'Plein Air' Painting Event," in which close to forty painters were scattered throughout the many acres of the Jacksonville Arboretum & Gardens painting en plein air. I had never seen painters working in the open air before, and was eager to see how they do it. I've always been a lover of art, but not a collector, as I could never afford to buy the art pieces that I liked. I've been interested in the craft of painting, although I've never painted. I've attempted drawing, decided I have no real skill at it, and quit without getting into actually painting with oil or acrylic. So, my understanding of the craft is very poor. But I definitely love a beautiful painting.

My closest foray into art is photography, which I consider myself an amateur, maybe an advanced amateur, because I've never mastered the more advanced techniques of photography. But I take a fair picture. I in no way think photography is a more difficult art to master than painting. But the results of photography can be no less artistic in its own way than a painting.

What has all of this to do with writing. Over the years I have written en plein air. In fact, it's my preferred way of writing. Sitting outside under the open sky and writing is more satisfying than sitting inside and writing. There's something special about writing en plein air. It brings writing to a whole new level. Writing becomes a multi-dimensional experience: the activity of writing combined with the enjoyment of your surroundings.

I have enjoyed writing in many different locations. When I was working, I used to sit outside my office, which had a deck running along a lake. On my lunch hour, I would sit under the sun and write, either in my journal, in which the environment becomes, sometimes, the subject of my entry, or on a novel or short story or poem. It was the best part of my day.

At home, my favorite place to write is on the patio, sitting next to my swimming pool. There's something about water that inspires me. I feel as if I'm accomplishing more than just writing. I'm living at a higher level. The sun rising in front of me, the birds chirping, the squirrels running through the trees, the cooler morning air, all play on my senses. Writing is living. Writing en plein air is living beautifully.


Jolene Perry said...

I LOVE to be outside. The only thing that keeps me in is wind. I can do rain, snow, hail, hot sun. Just the wind...

Tanya Reimer said...

Like you, I too sit by my pool (inflatable, about an inch deep) with a beer at hand (rootbeer) and the sound of nature all around (kids screaming), notebook open (laptop) and enjoy writing outdoors. (while swatting sqeeters) Ah... can't wait for spring to arrive.

Yup, my blog is back up!

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

Great post. By the way, stop by my blog, I gave you an award.

Welcome to My Blog said...

I would LOVE to be near water, to write or do anything.

I saw your comment on Jody Hedlund's recent post. She is both a superb writer AND blogger. I've learned much from her, too, and kept going back to her blog yesterday while I was re-designing mine.

Re your comment: I, too, believe one should focus both on the reader and on writing. I put reader first on the list, because without him/her we have no one to read what we write.

I like to support fellow bloggers, and saw you have published some short stories, my favorite medium. I'm heading over to Amazon to take a look.

And I'm now a follower.
Ann Best, Memoir Author

Ann Best said...

p.s. I just bought your stories and have printed them out. I'm excited to read them. Glancing through the first pages, I can already see that the writing is the lean, compelling writing that I look for. Wonderful!