En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛn‿ɛʁ]) is a French expression which means "in the open air," and is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, which is also called peinture sur le motif("painting on the ground") in French.
I have recently started painting soon after initial inspirations, the spontaneousness of my work is actually almost like painting from life. Today I saw a tree in a field that was surrounded by puddles reflecting the rain, I started a painting this evening and the movement of the paint and the clear intention was as if I was painting from a photograph or on site.
I realize that I have gotten into a habit of sketching out an image and than putting it aside for what turns into years. The images from the previous series have a soft edge to them and a lack of details where the series I am working on now is more detailed and the idea is more on point. In this particular process I have been able to start a painting and finish it within a short matter of weeks instead of years as the ideas are so close to me that the painting pretty much paints itself.
I have felt a great immediacy of the image, it literally barely waits for the underpainting- and I am less likely to stall lost in details. I am more in control of the places I need detail and more methodical in the place that need less detail-creating work so quickly after the inspiration is something that is leaning me toward actually trying En Plein Air-something I have only done a few times-one time on the Appalachian trail, I painted the view of the Delaware River, I definitely intend on doing more on site painting but for now-the immediacy of painting from recent memory is the next best thing to En Plein Air.
More info on En Plein Air painting. http://www.artistdaily.com/topics/plein-air-painting.aspx
Artist Known for their Plein Air painting: