En plein air 

En plein air – in open air.

Artists have been working outside for as long as humanity has existed. But as society moved in doors so did art. Until the impressionists brought back the outdoors and “created” the concept of en plein air painting. To paint outside means that you are a part of the scenery you are capturing. This changes the experience of creating art dramatically. It changes how one feels when creating as well as how one works. Although it is a wonderful experience to be at one with nature and take in the beauty of creation. En plein air brings on its own set of challenges. As the lighting (thank you setting sun) will always be changing you must work quickly to capture the light as our forefathers the impressionists did so well. Weather conditions and geographical conditions must be taken into account. Not to mention wildlife as this artist was so fortunate to experience first hand with a father goose protecting his growing family. But despite its challenges, creating art whilst you are at one with the physical art of nature itself is a rewarding and energizing experience.

I quite like the idea of doing art therapy out of doors. I feel as though the experience of spring would add tremendously to the therapeutic experience.

Emerson is quoted to have said the following in his work Nature, “In the presence of nature, a wild delight runs through man, in spite of real sorrows. Nature says, — he is my creature, and maugre all his impertinent griefs, he shall be glad with me.”


A quick sketch of the scene. Graphite pencils.


Oil pastels.

I used pastels to draw the woods across the pond from where I sat.

Art Therapy Connection 

The Plein-Air Art Academy’s instruction practices are fine-tuned with the help of art therapists and child development psychologists.

“Examining our surroundings in detail, seeing beauty not only in the spectacular but also in the smallest growing things” (Lowenfeld) – this is the main idea behind Boston Art classes developed by Diana Stelin. In addition to work in our cozy Brighton studio, small plein-air outings are held at every opportunity in our stunning New England climate.

The art academy’s main focus is the training of Boston students of all ages to connect with their surroundings. Returning to some of the same environments during different times of day, through different seasons, students would develop their observation skills and increase their knowledge about the world around them. They would not only learn to focus on the outside world, but also become attuned to their inner landscapes and have the forum to express their emotions.

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