Plein-Air Painting - In or Out?: Demonstration: "From My Window"

I recently had the pleasure of instructing a workshop in Monet's garden for the second time. There is nothing quite like painting en plein air in the master's garden, birds singing, breezes carrying the scent of oceans of flowers, while furiously trying to capture the light and joyous colors.

Painting in the garden was limited to Mondays and a few designated hours. We were free to paint in and around the village of Giverny at any time rich with subject material including hills, pastures, charming cottages, and delightful rooftops. Even while in my tiny hotel room, I was itching to paint. I had the perfect view of a lovely private garden just below my window. I'd sneak a peak when dashing back and forth between sessions. At any time of day the changing light was interesting, sometimes dramatic. The days were very long, the light lasted till nearly 10 pm. Dare I paint an outdoor scene from my window? Would this still be considered a plein air painting?

Pictured above is the view from my window. Sun coming from the West. Even with the parking lot, it was appealing!

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Johnson is an award-winning artist and instructor with over 30 years experience and was Founding Editor of Plein Air Magazine (now Fine Art Connisseur. See all her current and archived sold works at
©1995-2009 L. Diane Johnson