Plein air painting is a great way of painting. You’re in the great outdoors, breathing in the fresh air, admiring the beautiful view and capturing it in your painting. But, the great outdoors isn’t like your studio at home, where you’re safe from the elements. There’s nothing you can do to stop the heavens opening up, but there are a few preventative measures you can take to ensure your painting sessions doesn’t go awry.
Umbrellas should be on every plein air painter’s checklist of essential supplies. Add to that list things like a waterproof overcoat and a rubbish bag, or some sort of covering, which you can use to cover your painting if you get caught in the rain. If it’s lightly raining, use the umbrella to shield your painting from the rain. If it gets too much, put your painting away in a rubbish bag until the rain clears. If you get wet, you can always dry off, but if your painting gets wet, there’s a good chance it’s going to get ruined, especially if you’ve already made a good start on it.
Paint from a sheltered place
You could always avoid the rain by painting from a sheltered place, such as under a bridge or a tunnel. Of course, you might prefer the view from somewhere that isn’t sheltered, so don’t feel you have to paint from a sheltered spot whenever you paint en plein air. If it does start raining, it might be a good idea to head to a sheltered place and resume your painting there until the rain clears. Or if you don’t actually paint, you can at least appreciate the scene you’re painting from a different angle. Better yet, you could just paint from your car, but then you’re not getting out in the great outdoors, which is part of the fun of plein air painting.
Defying the rain
Some painters will prepare for every eventuality and will paint no matter what. If you have your essentials with you, you can effectively complete your painting in the rain, though there’s a chance it will be a lot different from what you originally thought it would be. Some people like this – they love being able to paint a scene in the rain because it adds a whole new perspective to the scene. Painting in the rain is definitely worth trying – just make sure you cover up and are able to make the most of the bad weather. If you’re put off by it, think of how interesting it would be to do a painting in a different way like this.