Plein Air Painting
Plein Air or on-site painting is really what painting is all about. Faced with the full vista of mother nature before him, the artist must seek out the subject that inspires him and then simplify to eliminate the extraneous, compose and juxtapose to create a good design, then put his vision onto the paper or canvas as quickly as possible to capture the the fleeting moment of light. When an artist is able to do this, a work of art is created that is spontaneous, honest, exciting, and magical, because the artist has created something not only using the logic of his brain, but the passion in his heart and soul. When an artist can paint in this manner, then a true work of art is produced. This is not to put down studio painting, but I feel that in order to create a real work of art in the studio, an artist must master on-site painting.
It may be true that a studio painting, painted from reference material, painted in a very considered manner, may appear as a more complete representation of a scene, but it will lack the passion and excitement of the plein air sketch. I highly recommend painting outside as much as possible. Nature is the best studio an artist can utilize and the lessons learned there will help immensely when you return to the studio.

Here are a few of my recent plein air paintings. They are quick studies which try to capture the essence of a scene without getting bogged down in detail. Not all attempts will be successful, and rarely is a great work of art produced in this manner, but what is produced is an honest attempt at capturing what the artist feels.