Paintings by Ruth



Urban Scenes

Click on picture to view the gallery.


Plein air is a term derived from the French phrase en plein air, which literally means ‘in the open air’. It’s a familiar concept today, but in the late 1800s when the Impressionists ventured out of their studios into nature to investigate and capture the effects of sunlight and different times of days on a subject, it was quite revolutionary. Plein air painting used to be just a means to an end, with the artist painting small studies on location, to use the information gathered about color, shadow effects, etc. for a larger, elaborate painting that was going to be executed in the studio. Nowadays, however, it is a stand-alone art form and is used to produce finished paintings.
It is quite an experience to be outside in nature, feeling the heat, the wind, hearing the birds and encountering wildlife, while trying to capture a scene on canvas. With the sun shifting - and thus changing the shadows and light effects - you only have a window of about 2-3 hours at most before the scene changes completely due to the natural course of the sun. So in addition to enduring heat or cold, wind, bugs, curious wildlife and/or tourists, you have a limited time frame to put down your artistic statement.

There are lots of events nowadays surrounding plein air, with quick draws and weeklong events in any major city. The locals and tourists get to see a whole bunch of artists in action, painting and drawing THEIR city and surrounding area, with the option of purchasing the art at the end of the festivals. Please support the arts and check out if there's an event in your area!