O N S A H L I
en plein air
body of work represented here was created during Artist-in-Residence
events, February and March 2003, in the Colorado mountain towns
near my home in Evergreen.
day, I painted on location around and near the galleries that represent
my work. With each painting there was a story to tell, and I was
there to capture that story. Each evening, the gallery had a viewing
hour presenting the days work to its collectors. Art
enthusiasts shadowed my own path as an artist — painting and
exhibiting. Few realized the immediacy of my work, and both the
gallery and the collector were offered the opportunity
to witness that aspect in person.
to this, I envisioned paintings filled with snow, sunlight, and
beautiful blue shadows — Colorado
does have 300 days of sun a year. As you view the paintings and
read my commentary of the events, you will see that that was not
what happened. Instead of sunny days with beautiful, painterly shadows,
I found myself in the snow, lots of snow on many grey days.
always tell my students that painting en plein air presents
additional challenges; that bringing the studio outdoors, experiencing
the elements as one works, adds new dimensions of complexity to
painting. During the month of painting in the mountains, I had the
chance to experience that philosophy first hand, up close and in
hindsight, it was a great experience, but at the time, the repetition
of grey skies, blustery winds, and falling snow, was wearisome and
exasperating. It was not just a painting opportunity — it
was also a character-building experience. I had to paint everyday
regardless of the weather, and I did.
I am home, relishing the sunshine of spring. As I look at my work,
not only am I happy with it, I am moved by some of the very works
created on the days of the most frustration. These works are so
poetic and beautiful — in the soft grey tones of winter. I
dont know if those paintings would have happened.
I dont know if I would have ventured out on that many cold,
grey days. I am glad I did.
So, come rain, snow, or shine, I look forward to the next opportunity
to work out-of-doors, en plein air.
on the image to the left to begin the tour in Aspen, clicking
your way with the forward arrows through a day-by-day chronology
from February 13, 2003, and ending in Breckenridge on March
15, 2003. Or you can go straight to the individual galleries
images and text ©2003 Don Sahli