The Intriguing Adventures of a Plein Air Painting at Art in the Open

The Intriguing adventures of a Plein Air Painting –  Art In the Open Wexford 2014


The sun blistered the landscape and diamonds of light rebounded along the River Slaney, Co. Wexford.   I  took in the wonderful vista of Wexford town from across the river and decided, today was the day that I would produce a masterpiece at this international painting festival, the biggest in Europe – Plein Air Painting at Art in the Open!

I set up my easel and attached a large rectangular canvas to take full advantage of the scene, laid out my table with all the necessary tools of the trade, all in anticipation of this great work of art.

The Makings of a Masterpiece in Wexford
The Makings of a Masterpiece in Wexford

I set to work and savoured the warm summer breeze on my face as I squinted against the rays of the hot sun.  The soft breeze began to assert itself a little more and I struggled to hold  the easel steady.  It was one of those tripod field easels that balanced on spindley legs.  I made note to self:  – “must get weights to help keep easel steady in windy conditions”.    

Just then, a big gust of wind stole my painting and sent it  on a gravel hunt and the easel fell to the ground.  Alas, easel now abandoned, I settle for propping the canvas precariously on the table.  Feeling a touch challenged  by the growing force of the prevailing winds, I decide that I will sit on my stool  in the hopes of out-smarting and ducking the wind.  I make another note to self:“replace missing screw on stool” !!

Along comes another burst of wind and takes the canvas soaring.  I have an instant reflex response and reach for the flying canvas.  The stool buckles …… ooops!

I find myself sitting on the canvas with my legs askew and  pointed in a skyward direction. >:(       :'(

Unfurling myself from this mess, I quickly scan  my surrounds to see if there are any hidden cameras about,  none, phew!

Such is the intriguing life of a plein air painter (and you thought it was easy?!)

Boats at Ballyhack
Boats at Ballyhack
The Bridge at Clonegal
Huntington Castle Paint Out
Huntington Castle Paint Out
Nice day for painting in Clonegal
Nice day for painting in Clonegal
Painting the Rapeseed Harvest
Painting the Rapeseed Harvest
Vinegar Hill Wexford
Vinegar Hill Wexford

Other fine days passed with much less drama – painting Vinegar Hill in Enniscorthy, Huntington Castle in Clonegal to boat watching in Ballyhack

Here are some of my paintings produced along the way:

Hidden Gems in Clonegal
Hidden Gems in Clonegal


Playtime on Rosslare Strand 10 x 12" Oil on block canvas
Playtime on Rosslare Strand 10 x 12″ Oil on block canvas
High up at Ballyhack 8 x 10" Oil on board
High up at Ballyhack 8 x 10″ Oil on board

The days rolled out with an 8.00am start and a breakfast that would set me up for the day.  Evenings spent with friends, lots of laughter as the events  of the day were discussed over dinner.  An exhibition of magnificent works of art was hosted in Whites Hotel and a hushed excitement swept the room as prizes were awarded in recognition of great talent.  Finally, a barbecue  would wrap up this great event for another year.  Plein Air artists would return from whence they came, bringing with them a slice of Ireland, new friends and a lot of great memories.

Meanwhile, I am still creating my masterpiece!  😉



About Plein Air

Plein Air  painting or,  painting outdoors was first introduced by the French Impressionists, including Monet and Renoir.  The Wexford based annual festival is the largest in Europe and is open to everyone from budding to established artists.  The event attracted 169 artists from 11 countries including UK, Italy, US, Germany and of course Ireland

Six spectacular paint outs  were central to Art in the Open 2014  featuring some of the most stunning scenery, charming villages and historic towns South-East Ireland has to offer. The list includes Courtown, Graignamanagh, Enniscorthy, Ballyhack, Clonegal, and Wexford Town.

If you are interested in participating next year, check out Art in The Open

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Author: Donna McGee

Landscape & Abstract Artist inspired by the timeless beauty of the Irish landscape

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