Plein Air Hiking is about helping to make the outdoors more accessible, inclusive, and safer for both artists and nature.
Artists of all levels and abilities, should be able to get outdoors, in whatever manner they can, and be inspired by nature.
We become more inclusive when we broaden our definitions and become safer by using principles from organizations like, Leave No Trace and Recreate Responsibly to develop educational and inspirational resources to help us create our own safe, accessible painting adventures
Who is an Artist?
I always hear some version of the phrase I’m not an artist. That’s because artists are typically defined as a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby.
While that’s one definition it’s not the only one. In her book “Make Your Art No Matter What“, Beth Pickins uses artist as the word for people who have creative practices throughout and beyond every nameable discipline. I like this definition, but let’s shorten it just a bit to help us.
Who is a Hiker?
Like the term artist, the definition of a hiker is very narrow and antiquated. A hiker is usually defined as a person who goes for a longwalk in the countryside. Once again it is A definition but not a very inclusive one.
En Plein Air is a French term meaning in open air. This is in reference to artists that painted their subjects outdoors in full view. This allowed them to capture the spirit and essence of a subject by using natural light, color, and movement in their work.
Catherine Gill, in her book ‘Powerful Watercolor Landscapes‘, describes the job of a landscape painter as thoughtfully capturing the response we feel to the landscape, not accurately painting the things we see in the landscape.
I like this definition but not everyone paints, remember our definition of artists above. So let’s change painting to creating and let’s change landscape to subject.
What is Leave No Trace?
Leave No Trace is an organization that has developed a framework of 7 Principles to help minimize our impact when visiting the outdoors.
These principles can be used in any location from the remote wilderness, to local parks and even our backyards. This site will be using Leave No Trace principles in the development of information to help artists keep themselves and nature safe.
Who am I?
I’m a plein air watercolor artist, illustrator, and retired veteran living on the traditional lands of the Kalapuya, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and the Atfalati.