April 21, 2014


Springtime Aspens 8X10 oil, plein air study

I am excited to announce a new project that I am calling ' 91 DAYS OF SUMMER"  It is my goal to produce a plein air painting for each day of the Summer Equinox (91 days from June 21 to September 21) .


Glad you asked.  Recently, when talking to my good friend and painting buddy Liz Wiltzen, I had commented to her that in preparation for a May show that I am participating in at Hampton Gallery in Kamloops, I had resurrected a few paintings that I had set aside in my studio because I felt they were unresolved.  Much to my surprise, after the paintings sitting in a corner of my studio for over a year, I placed them one at a time on my easel, and resolved them fairly easily and quickly. I found my missteps easier to identify than I had expected - and once knew what wasn't working, making the necessary changes went quite smoothly.

Liz, who has a talent for asking the right questions, asked me if I thought it had gone more easily than expected because I had improved.  After a little consideration I responded that perhaps I had.  "What do you think you have done that has created the improvement? was her next question.  After a bit of pondering, I have to say that I am quite sure it has been my many hours spent working plein air over the last couple of years.

10,000 HOURS

In Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers" the author postulates that to achieve mastery at a particular skill, 10,000 hours need to be invested in doing that particular skill.  That is why Bob Genn's advice to novice painters  seeking to improve their skill set is "go to your room".  We learn to do by doing.


-working from life ALWAYS improves your powers of observation
-the activity of painting on location demands your best attention and so improves your levels of concentration
-working 3D to 2D is tougher than the process of working 2D to 2D (as in painting with photo references)
-on location generally you are doing smaller paintings, which makes for more paintings, which in turn makes for more design decisions and problem sets to solve.


So, in that vein, I will be working a lot this summer towards my 10,000 hours of painting from life.  Between now and the Autumn Equinox (September 22)  I plan to do 91 plein air paintings.  I will begin posting this next week so that you can witness the process.    Stay tuned.

I would also like to extend a challenge - join me!  See what happens for you and write in and tell me all about your experience.  I am sure it will make a fascinating read for all those who are following along.

Until next week, happy painting!

UPCOMING WORKSHOPS:  May 22-24, Plein Air Painting in Smithers, BC

                                                     June 13-18 Plein Air Painting, Great Bear Rainforest aboard the Columbia III
                                                     June 28,29 30th, Plein Air Painting in Tofino BC   
                                                     for details on these workshops,  CLICK HERE 


  1. Fabulous idea Gaye, and I will try and join you!

  2. oh, the challenge...... i think, YES! I will do this and five days later I have lost my path. I will amend the challenge slightly because I really want to give it a go, but, i don't want to be bitterly disappointed in myself if I loose days which I inevitably will. So, fresh with some plein air steps in mind, I think I will start today! and see where it goes beyond that. I will shoot for three a week for now, that could go up or down. maybe commitment is my primary issue. mmmm. will follow your progress and write you on the slackers version of mine. ;)