Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kayak En Plein Air Painting

Painting from a Kayak with a Cigar Box – Pochade Box

 “Life is a journey, not a destination.”
                                                                               ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

No saying could be any truer when it comes to painting on location in a kayak.
For several years, a favorite weekly escape for Linda and I has been exploring the lakes, streams and water ways of Southern Illinois by kayak. This has been the inspiration of many of my works. 

I have always been drawn to nature; I could never describe in words the peace and calm I gain when hiking or kayaking and just the sheer amazement I find in a natural wild place. There is something about being in nature that makes one live in the present.

And for that reason, I feel when painting plein air landscapes you have to try and capture that sense of place. You may just be painting light, color and shape, but what you are really painting is an experience. That is the language of art.

Our equipment for this outing is pretty simple, a couple of kayaks, a cooler with drinks and food, swim suits and a Cigar Box Pochade with a hand held umbrella for painting in the shade. 

Linda’s boat is a 14 foot Perception Spectrum, a great kayak with a foot controlled surf rudder which is both nimble and stable in the choppiest waters. She’s been paddling this boat for nearly fifteen years, just shows the quality of this vintage girl. (Girls?)  My kayak is a 15 foot Dagger Charleston, on flat water lakes this boat is a rocket. Both boats are touring kayaks with plenty of storage in compartment bulkheads and hatches for long day expeditions or weekend paddling and camping.

I use the umbrella so I can create shade and have equal light on my palette and canvas. Judging colors in direct sunlight is next to impossible; your colors will be overly saturated and you will constantly be compensating for the sun glaring on your painting and into your eyes. I call this retina melt down.

But somewhere during our adventure Linda decided to turn my painting session into a sailing session. It was pretty impressive that even in a light wind she was able to get a lot of speed by catching the current of air at different angles. I think we are going to have to keep one of these in both boats.

"Do not go where the path may lead, 
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
                                                                                              --- Ralph Waldo Emerson

All three works are oil on panel, 5x7" and available in my Etsy Store. 
The little Cigar Box Pochade is after the design I featured here in an earlier article.

Explore - Question - Learn - Enjoy, Jim