Painting En Plein Air: Slowing Down In Nature

I tried painting en Plein Air with oil paints for the FIRST TIME ever… and I liked it!

In this episode, I was in Tyler, TX, visiting my grandparents for the holidays. I was excited to paint in my grandparent’s garden! My setup has grown since last week, which is super fun. My grandpa made me a wooden Plein Air palette box that is BEAUTIFUL!!! He used the design from my favorite Plein air painter Chamberlain Paintings.

First Time Oil Painting en Plein Air!

So in this episode, I tried oil painting en Plein Air for the first time. Very scary, but very fun! I wrestled through making myself try to paint darks to lights; I completely ran out of daylight because I took so long and was highly satisfied by all the paint! Hahaha! Several of my family members decided to come outside and paint or read! It was so fun to be all together. 

My grandparents started developing their garden a few years back, on the half-acre of land they own neighboring their house. They have tediously cleared out weeds and intentionally planted around the meticulous paths of gravel and stone they laid out. But I think the thing I love most about their garden is that they put an entrance to their garden on the street, with a sign welcoming any who pass to enter and walk the garden. 

My dad made my grandparents this beautiful fruit of the spirit wooden art for them to add to their garden.

While one could walk through their garden quickly, I love the incentive to stop, slow down, and appreciate nature. God designed us to move at about three miles per hour as humans. Slow observation of nature is what I love about painting en Plein air. I have seen firsthand how it’s easy just to blast through in our lives, glazing by everything you pass.

Building Community

So why does the practice of opening their garden matter? It invites people to slow down and it builds community. While not everyone can open a garden in their backyard, and not everyone should, I think it’s essential to ask how we, in our lives and our callings, can be inviting people around us into uplifting nurturing situations. How can we be building community as Christ did?

Slowing down and being mindful is healthy for us in our fast world. Jesus called his disciples to this and even did this himself. If you think about it, God’s perfect place for Adam and Eve to live was a garden.

I’m very new to this Plein air painting method. BUT! My motto is to focus on the journey and not the destination. Sooooo, maybe you could join me! Get out there and be creative! Try the new scary thing. Trust me; it’s not as scary as it seems. Plus, you might even find yourself enjoying it. 😉


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