“Plein air” – French for “in the open air” – describes artists who paint on location and out of the studio, usually outdoors.
The method is not for the faint of heart. The plein air artist battles the extremes of weather and often the tediousness of carrying around heavy easels and paint supplies.
But for Brooke Borcherding, who paints en plein air almost exclusively, this keeps her work fresh, vibrant and gives her an edge.
“I find that painting on site yields a more interesting feel to a composition because it’s not always perfect,” Borcherding said in a press release. “The perspective won’t be mathematically correct like a camera would make it, but the color is always more vibrant in life than on the computer or in the studio. This upcoming show at Cole Gallery will be about finding the picturesque within the urban.”
Borcherding, a recent University of Oregon graduate, recently moved to Seattle from Eugene to pursue painting urban landscapes and take advantage of Washington’s progressive and inventive art scene. Originally from Santa Monica, Calif., she found the ocean and lakes calling her name, like sirens, to paint.
“I think the first painting I did of Seattle will always stick with me (‘Skyline Over Lake Union’),” Borcherding said. “I painted it before I knew I was going to move here. I just drove around until I had to pull over to paint the view of the water from a neighborhood street.
“I was sort of lost, but it didn’t matter because I liked the scene so much. It was a new experience because I have never really painted a city skyline before. It opened up the gates to the beginning of an urban type of landscape painting for me.”
WHAT: Plein air paintings of Edmonds and Seattle
WHEN: July 7-31
WHERE: Cole Gallery, 107 Fifth Ave. S, Edmonds
MEET THE ARTIST: 5-8 p.m. July 19 at Cole Gallery