En Plein Air

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One of my very favorite 'lights' ever - the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. You can get one here: http://www.redriderleglamps.com

One of my very favorite ‘lights’ ever – the leg lamp from A Christmas Story. You can get one here: http://www.redriderleglamps.com

Light is today’s topic for Blog Every Day in November (#BEDN) in recognition of Diwali, the five-day Hindu festival of lights.  I’m only slightly familiar with this festival through a few of my friends who hail from India. I wish I had an assortment of the beautiful Diwali paper lanterns to show you, but thankfully we can interpret the content of these post topics as we see fit.

When I think about ‘light’ the first thing that comes to mind is ‘en plein air,’ which refers to a style of painting typically used by the Impressionists and literally means ‘in open air.’  Most of the Impressionists worked in oil and created landscapes, schlepping their wet canvases around the French countryside.  During the course of my studies I only did artwork outdoors once and it was in a graduate-level drawing class.  We used chalk pastels, which actually lend themselves quite nicely to the plein air style.  Like watercolor, pastel requires you to use the white of your paper for the highlights and then you build on the darker and more colorful parts to create the shadows. Degas is probably the best known pastel Impressionist, although most of his pastels were figurative versus landscape. Here are a few I created in grad school:

This would be the East Avenue entrance to the Nazareth College campus in 1999.

This would be the East Avenue entrance to the Nazareth College campus in 1999.

"Into the Woods," which was basically wandering behind the Nazareth College Arts Center in search of interesting trees.

“Into the Woods,” which was basically wandering behind the Nazareth College Arts Center in search of interesting trees.

Light also makes me think about its importance in photography and in the same thread, I’ve never seen more beautiful light than in the French Mediterranean. It’s no wonder so many artists flocked there to create their masterpieces.  The arid climate and reflection of light off the water just makes everything sun-drenched and gorgeous. Here are a few shots I took while vacationing last summer in the south of France:

Gardens at the palace in Monaco - this looks like a painting

Gardens at the palace in Monaco – this looks like a painting

A shot of the narrow alleys in Old Town Nice.

A shot of the narrow alleys in Old Town Nice.

A 'Nice' shot of a tree.

A ‘Nice’ shot of a tree.

Le Château Fountain (it wasn't running, but it was still pretty)

Le Château Fountain (it wasn’t running, but it was still pretty)

More buildings in Old Town Nice

More buildings in Old Town Nice

And a 'Nice' sunset and rooftop view from the hotel

And a ‘Nice’ sunset and rooftop view from the hotel

So this has been my take on the topic of ‘light’ and I’m looking forward to other BEDN bloggers’ interpretations. Speaking of travel and Diwali, I really do hope to get to India someday and see the Golden Temple aglow.  For those who celebrate, Happy Diwali!

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