Thursday, March 15, 2012

Painting Plein Air in Pakistan

(click on image to enlarge)

Mountain Farms
©1994 Charlene Brown
I painted over a dozen postcards of the awesome surroundings of our hotel about three hours (straight up) from Islamabad – even improving upon the location by spreading out on a table in the outdoor dining area. Here are a couple of things I’ve learned about The Drama of Painting Plein Air in Pakistan:
Almost everyone who sees you painting will want to watch, and if they speak English they will want to discuss what you're doing. (They know just by looking at you that you understand English, so I no longer even consider the rude notion of pretending I don’t) and most will have questions. Here is the only safe answer to the first one…
Roving Art Critic: How much do you get for these?
Artist: I can’t sell them.  I’ve promised to mail them to my friends.
And here's how I handle the inevitable questions about my ‘inaccurate’ compositions...
Critic 2: Why is this so big?
Critic 3: Shouldn’t this be in front of this?
Critic 4: Why have you left out those terraces over there?
I try dazzling them with paperwork by working on more than one painting at a time.  This actually works fairly well -- and is a good idea for lots of other reasons as well.
A very accomplished artist friend, Vivien Blackburn, would have less need to worry about questions like these… Posts like Working plein air – the hazards strengthen my belief that any roving critics examining Vivien’s plein air work are more likely to be hoping to pick up a free art lesson than to offer helpful suggestions!