Official Naming and Plein Air Painting

April 28-May 3

This post is not about any exotic trips but is all about painting and the naming of the trailer. 

Ross and I have been trying to figure out a good name for the Airstream and his new truck for the past few months.  We wanted names that are inspirational, loving, adventurous, and strong.  We have searched through lots of options including famous married couples, and artists etc.. After much consideration we decided the truck should be named Bob and the Airstream should be Josette (Jo for short).  Bob and Jo are my “French Parents” that I spent some time with when I lived in Italy, and they were good friends of my parents.  Ross was able to meet them on one of our trips to Europe and of course they loved each other.

Bob was a strong man who loved to travel, loved maps, and was extremely bright.  Josette (Jo)  is a beautiful painter who loves to travel, enthusiastic about learning and always growing intellectually and is a go getter.  According to the web Josette means: inspirational, and a powerful force to all whose lives they touch.  Bob and Josette also had a strong, beautiful loving relationship that could be a role model for all of us.  It is a perfect fit.

Springtime at the Golf Course (Painted in a sheltered area in high winds)
Wonderland Lake – Painted on a cold day and completed at home after the snow started to fall

After our quick trip to Australia I returned home just in time for the Boulder Plein Air Festival.  Although I was  painting in Boulder County and not traveling, this experience is going to be pivotal in my painting while traveling. From April 28-May 3, I was one of the 26 Juried Artist for this festival and needed to paint outside over the four days and complete 7 paintings, one of which was timed and needed to be completed in 2 hours. 

Playful Pearl St – painting completed in 2 hours…I’d love to add some people and trees.

This was a first for me in many ways.  I have never painted that many paintings in that short of a duration, and the weather that week in Boulder was crazy.  The first day was hot and windy. The next two days were literally freezing cold and went between rain and snow.  The last day was perfect 😊. That is spring time in the Rockies.

After a Spring Snow at Boulder Valley Ranch
Early Spring at Boulder Valley Ranch

What did I learn from this experience?  A lot!  First of all, I learned that I need to keep things simpler especially in the 2 hour painting (called a quick draw).  In the future I would also like to loosen up my style and become a bit more stylized.  I felt as if my paintings leaned more towards the “realistic” side and those who won the competition had a definitive style.  I don’t want my painting to be all about trying to win a competition, however I do want to continue growing and have felt for awhile that I could improve in that realm. 

Stormy Skies over Coot Lake

Next I learned a few things about setting up my easel in various conditions. In one instance I had my easel facing right into the sun.  I had a really hard time seeing the various paint colors and lost the contrast in colors.  I also learned that on windy days I should hang a weight from a bungy cord from the center of my easel to prevent it from blowing over.

Tranquility at Coot Lake (we finally had some sunshine)

Lastly, I learned that I should try a few different kinds of Plein Air Frames.  I forgot to mention that on top of having the 7 paintings completed, they also had to be framed for the exhibition.  I have been using a frame that I like but I learned of many others that I am going to look into. 

I have been leaning towards painting in Acrylics for the outdoors because I thought it would be easier to deal with in regards to framing since they do not need glass.  But what I learned from a few other water colorists is that there are options. Additionally I learned about a new watercolor board that I can paint on while outside (in lieu of having to tape my paper to a board.  So although I did not win any awards (however Ross thinks I was the best), I feel like I learned a lot and on the next go around will be much better prepared.  This experience reinforced why Plein Air Painting is so difficult but I am anxious to get back out there and experiment a bit more with some of my new thoughts.

3 Comments on “Official Naming and Plein Air Painting

  1. Great update and paintings. Clearly you and Jeff got all the creativity in our family. Love the inspiration behind the naming of the truck and Airstream. Nice job Sue.


  2. I enjoy seeing your photos of the paintings in progress and can’t believe that you can paint such beauty while being in such elements and under such pressure, they are all beautiful, each in a different way.
    Welcome to the family Bob & Jo, love the sentiment behind the name.


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