How I deal with the frustrations of Plein Air Painting

Announcing my NEW plein air work this fall!

Nature is a great healer and I’ve been spending a lot of time in it this month. Partly because I sense the impending doom of winter coming on soon here in Denver (why I moved to Colorado when I hate cold weather I’ll never know). And partly because fall is one of my most favorite times of year.

There’s something about foraging in the fall. I’ve been finding all kinds of wild berries, beautiful leaves that have all the gradations of a sunrise, and even some dried moonwort.

Something about collecting these found treasures takes me back to simpler times of childhood.

Times when running through an empty field, blowing a dandelion, or laying in the cold grass under the warm sunshine for just a few minutes felt like the most amazing thing ever.

The thing is, it’s still THE MOST AMAZING thing ever. We lose too much of this in adulthood.

That’s what I love most about painting is that I never lose touch with that childlike feeling of wonder and exploration. When I’m outside painting I feel so alive. So connected to everything. So abundant.

And I AM all of those things. So are you. Sometimes we just forget.

Our egos get in the way.

Our fears, frustrations, and neediness often blind us from life’s best gifts right in front of our eyes.

An oil painting of a winding path among trees

But when I’m painting outside my eyes are open.

I don’t even care about how my painting turns out.

I’m so in the moment relishing every flicker of light,

Every brushstroke, every soft breeze, every butterfly

That time passes so slowly and so beautifully that when

I come out of the experience I feel so satisfied.

Nothing can be wrong now.

All needs are met.

People ask me how I deal with the frustrations of Plein air painting.

This is how.

Deep gratitude.

It’s an experience like no other.

My performance, success, or bug in my paint matter so little.

My hope of course is that some small amount of the sublimity I felt somehow got into the painting to be passed on to the viewer.

This is what I’ve been “hard” (easy) at work doing this month and I hope you can feel some of the gratitude and sublimity when you view these works. The photos never quite do them justice, but it’s the best we can do for now.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on nature as well! Please let me know which painting is your favourite and why.

For those of you who are on my Collector’s Circle newsletter list I’ve sent you a separate email giving you 25% OFF any of my new plein air works. Be sure to check your email for your coupon code. If you’re not on the list yet please JOIN HERE to get your 25% discount code:

Love in Light, Kelli

5 thoughts on “How I deal with the frustrations of Plein Air Painting

  1. That’s a very unique perspective on painting en plein air. Gratitude. Who would have guessed?
    I’ve been trying to paint outdoors on/off for many years, but frustration just kills any enjoyment. I have yet to even finish one painting! Some I’ve just thrown away, rather than drag another failure home.
    Thank you!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing Celeste! What beautiful Texas scenery you described, I can imagine it’s quite the daily inspiration! You always know it was a fun painting adventure when you take a bit of mother nature with you home in your painting 🙂

  3. Thank you for such sweet words Yvonne! I totally agree, we have to let our inner child explore and play as adults to fully enjoy. I’m so excited to get to know you better in Vital! <3

  4. I love nature as well! My central Texas garden is full of wonders–stately live oaks, sturdy Texas persimmons, agaves, cacti, mountain laurels, deer, foxes, all kinds of birds. It is a daily inspiration! Last week we took a trip to Ruidoso, New Mexico and I set up my easel on Sudderth, the main street in the village. I was so excited to paint an ice cream/chocolate shop, at the edge of little square with multiple shops and wrought iron tables, chairs and umbrellas! When I packed up my easel after a couple of wonderful hours, a tiny gnat stuck to my thick paint on the canvas! Ha! Mother Nature at her best!

  5. Love your thoughts on nature and childhood. We would be happier adults if we let ourselves enjoy life as we did as children. I love your plein air paintings…loose and juicy. I just signed up for Vital Art Sessions and I am looking forward to learning from you.

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