Les Dents du Midi {A painting from our summer hike}

As a plein air painter I am invigorated by the immediacy of painting on location, constrained by the weather, the sun, and the fleeting moment. However, that limits me to small canvases and about 2 hours of painting time. I am trying to figure out how to take those outdoor experiences and translate them to studio work where I can be more thoughtful and take more time in the creation of the painting.

This is a large painting (24×30) I created in the studio using photo reference from our hike in the alps last summer. It is a view of the Dents du Midi from the GR5 trail on the border between Switzerland and France.


It was a glorious day.

Ultra-Light Plein Air Painting {A hike in the Alps}

Last month my husband and I (and a few friends) hiked for ten days in the French Alps. In preparation, I researched how to pare down my painting gear as much as possible, anticipating the long hours of hauling our packs up and down the mountains. This is the kit I hiked with:

Moving clockwise from the top left–
my Strada Mini easel,
small turpentine container,
gloves, tripod, mini-binder clips, brushes, paper towels, canvas boards, [in the center] paint (including Gamblin’s FastMatte white),
and [not pictured] an 11×16
Raymar wet panel carrier.




   {Painting Lake Geneva in Evian}

I made ultra-light canvas boards by gluing oil primed linen to multimedia art board, a super-thin, durable substrate that has the rigidity of a thick card stock. This allowed me to fit more in my wet panel carrier and made the painted canvases easier to store for drying than loose linen would have been. I clipped these canvas/multimedia boards to an 11×16 piece of foam core when I was painting and while they were drying.

{Capturing the effect of mist and light at Trebantaz}

We climbed up and down mountains for 3 to 5 hours each day, often arriving at our destinations in time for me to pull out my stuff and paint a quick sketch before dinner. We enjoyed incredible views, dramatic weather, lush, vibrant colors, and encouraging fellow hikers. I was even fortunate enough to sell one painting right off the easel (thanks, Sten!).  I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity! (And thankful to my husband for helping me schlep my gear!)

{Painting the stormy sunset from the col du Bassachaux)

{The GR5 leaving Moede Anterne Refuge)