I wish you all a wonderful year with all the low points of last year turned into highlights this year!

Happy 2011

I wanted to start this new year off with a plein air painting, no matter what the weather circumstances were. And I did. I took off this morning with my painting stuff and a new pochade I haven’t used before, to the Loire. The temperature read 2 degrees C. I only had running shoes to wear, because my daughter has my hiking boots in the mountains.

It was very difficult…it took me ages to set up my things, I kept on slipping in the mud, my fingers were numb before I even started painting and I struggled to open the caps and squeeze out the oils. I found the little pochade extremely uncomfortable and clumsy and missed my French easel all the time. I couldn’t open the Liquin bottle and had to run back home to fetch another. I found it comlicated to paint with the muffins and the scarf was choking me and I felt thick and uncomfortable  with my sleeves in the way of the paint, constantly knocking over the mediums. I chose a difficult scene and had an uncomfortable spot in the mud and slighty up a hill. My eyes and nose were constant watery  from the cold and I had to fiddle with tissues all the time, resulting in me arriving home with a face looking like my painting. After 2 hours I couldn’t stand on my numb feet any more and I started doing nonsense on the canvas,  getting so frustrated that I slung my brush way into the distance, in the mud! And then I  decided that I should pack it in.

BUT!! I completed the study. Although I don’t like the painting/study, and although it was an enormous struggle, I am very satisfied that I did it. It is one of my plans for the new year – to get out and paint even if the circumstances are challenging – and I WANTED to start today, on January 1st. Now I only need to get out there often to get used to these difficult winter plein air painting. In the end it is really gratifying and I now know I can do it. I can probably save this study in my atelier if I want to but it serves no purpose. I didn’t get out there today to produce a masterpiece, although I would’ve liked it to be a bit better than it turned out…

..winter loire corner study  1..

..oil on linen, 34x23cm..

**Next time I’ll give my opinion about this easel, because I think it is unfair to give it now after only one time of use. I am too used to my old french easel. This smaller one is a lovely hand made pochade from Ben Haggett.

**I will also say more about my art plans for this year.

Until next time… paint away!


17 thoughts on “January plein air by the Loire

  1. I think it’s exceptionally good considering what you went through to do it! You obviously have great patience, and/or determination Ronelle, I think I would have gone home after ‘trying’ to set up in the slippery mud! (lol!) But bravo that you did complete it, well done!

  2. Hold up on judging this piece, Ronell. I have a feeling that about a week from now you’ll come upon this study and see its beauty. I think it’s very good but then I didn’t go through the experience of painting in such lousy weather which is coloring your view of the quality of the work. Maybe Van Gogh had the same sort of experience when he painted The Ox Cart pieces which look like they might have been done in similar conditions.
    Yep, I AM comparing you to Vincent, so Happy New Year.

  3. Your artwork has always been an inspiration to me and now YOU are an inspiration too, because of this persistence. I think the sketch really captures the essence of a grey, cold winter day by the river, so I think you did great. I love plein air painting too, but on days like these, I usually choose a spot I can easily see and paint from… my car – oh yes, there’s nothing like being comfortable sitting inside a warm car, looking and painting the harsh weather outside. You can’t reach all the spots you’d probably want to, you miss the waking part and the results are not as good, but I think it’s a good compromise, at least when the temperature is below 5ºC…

  4. Ah, Ronell, it’s all that Maree, Jo and Ana say….You may change your mind when you look at it, later. It beautifully reflects the icy, cold day by the water–your persistence has really paid off. Congratulations and Happy New Year!

  5. I also think it’s great, considering the conditions! Wow! it must have been freezing! Happy new year to you! I can see you’ve started in the best way!

  6. You are made of sterner stuff than I, Ronell! Today I dispensed with the gloves, but still too stiff-fingered to sketch in snowy Brooklyn!
    But I will!
    Happy New Year!

  7. Well good for you, Ronell, and I agree that the painting is great! It has a watery coldness about it that very much evokes muddy walks around ponds in winter, with the blue tits doing that squeaky cuckoo impression that they do in the winter. I think you’ve painted in some of the feeling of being there. Keep going!
    oh, and Happy New Year!

  8. Ronell, I agree with all that has already been said. Your painting absolutely captures a cold gray winter day. Congratulate yourself for going out to paint despite the obstacles. I’m looking forward to seeing the results of your future plein air sessions. Happy New Year!

  9. I must agree with the others. I too think the painting will grow on you. Maybe the new easel will grow on you also.
    Congratulations on following through with your plans to paint even if the weather is less than perfect.

  10. Love the painting, and loved reading your account of how it came to be! Seems to me the dictionary definition of perseverance — something we can all learn from! Happy New Year!

  11. Wow wee Ronell– I’m so impressed with your fortitude–YOU are an amazing woman!! Keep em coming — I’m excited to see your next paintings! You are off to a great start — Happy New Year!

  12. You captured that uncomfortable day so well!!! I’m sorry, but I was laughing through your description of the plein air ordeal. Some days are just like that. I also went out plein air painting on Jan. 1. I did 2 small watercolors, but my feet were dry in my sneakers and it was warm enough that day to paint without wearing gloves. I went to the beach and had a dry boardwalk to stand on and look at the snow around me. Hopefully the second use of your pochade box will be better! I’ll be back to find out.

  13. Happy New Year, Ronell!!**

    You are brave to even get out there in the cold, damp weather – and I think your painting is wonderful. I agree with the others, you are most inspiring.

    Looking forward to your art plans for the years.


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