August 9, 2021

En Plein Air? Och Claude! Could We Nae Jist Mak Like the American President and Biden?

Donna Irvine

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Acrylics, Inks, Collage on CanvasHer Heart, 2021100cm x 75cm

Work ‘en plein air’ Monet said to sixteen year old me from the pages of my books. No photographs for me! Mon dieu! Non non! I believed in being soaked or scorched whilst perched on uneven terrain and locked in a paintbrush race with the fading light of the landscape. ‘Colour is my daylong obsession, joy, and torment’ said Claude, and I agreed. An artist should suffer to prove their worth. Fast forward twenty years and I have children who teach me daily about what really constitutes obsession, joy and torment. I’m less impressed by the majesty of an art book, or a movement, or a talented man from a very different time making choices about how he paints. I choose photographs because I’ve found they free me to imagine instead of see. A photograph holds the hidden story of the person who loves that landscape. Painting from one can be like seeing through someone else’s eyes and interpreting their memories. Travelling without leaving home. Magical. Working ‘en plein air’ also makes powerful work. The process can be an obsession, a torment, or a joy – but it’s also not for me. I’m biding in.