Plein Air Painting Pondering Inspiration

Plein Air Painting Pondering – Inspiration.

Moyra Le Blanc Smith – NaturalArt

‘Rail Trail Gum with Sheep’ A painting done close to home.

It’s been some time since I last wrote a news post, not because nothing is happening, but quite the opposite.

I have just returned from a 3 month trip to Queensland, escaping from winter in Victoria but also coming home with 20 small plein-air paintings.

Plein air Painting Pondering

It has taken a while to dawn on me that this is where my real passion lies – plein air painting. When I think about it logically – it’s a totally whacky thing to do – sitting outside with the wind trying to blow my easel over or, cover me and the painting with sand, extreme heat – making me sweat, extreme cold, all manner of insects from sandflies, mozzies, ants (quite common) and flies.

There’s always something to do battle with but this all adds to the challenge. There is also the constant race to complete the painting while the sun keeps moving and changing the shadows or actually sets. When travelling, it’s quite difficult to slip painting time in between discovering new places and getting to the next place. But somehow, I just love the craziness of it all! If I should happen to make a painting that I like, then it is an extra bonus.‘Lake Tinnaroo’ – the soft colours and swirly clouds attracted me to paint this peaceful scene.


Emersion in nature has the ability to simultaneously fill me with often awe-inspiring wonder at her power and at the same time incredulity at her tender fragility. The vast expanse of a mountainous view or the force of a surging waterfall, contrasted by the delicate, frail fronds of a fern or the transparency of a butterfly’s wings.

Aspiring to capture the essence of these feelings, I hope to infuse it into my artwork in order to convey some sense of it to the viewers. For this reason, I am increasingly painting directly in response to the natural surroundings by taking my paintbox with me and painting outdoors en plein air. In this way, the bird calls, the wind and the sounds of insects buzzing are, I feel, incorporated into the physical painting somehow. When I bring the paintings home and look at them, those feelings come flooding back. Often the paintings are imperfect but I rarely adjust them back in the studio because they are a record of my experience in that place. Occasionally I will use the small plein air painting as a reference for a larger, studio painting.

‘Woody Head’ Looking at this painting reminds me what it felt like to sit on the rocks painting and watching the waves getting closer as the tide came in.

Most of us lead crazy, busy lives and sometimes it is difficult to take time out to travel to and spend time in, natural places. My aim is to give the viewers a place of calm and beauty, by way of paintings which are close to them, either in their homes or places of work, which can instantly take them to a peaceful state of mind. If I can achieve this, I will feel as if I have made a difference to people’s lives.

Because the natural environment is such a big part of my life and my inspiration, I feel great concern about the wholesale and escalating destruction of many natural places. Whenever possible, I am keen to use my art to make a difference to worthwhile environmental projects. In April 2016 I had my first solo exhibition and 20% of the proceeds were donated to ‘The Friends of Leadbeater’s Possum’. The possum is on the endangered list due to widespread destruction of it’s main habitat, Victoria’s Mountain Ash forest. The funds will go towards establishing The Great Forest National Park. This will help to protect the future of the possum but also many other animals and plants.

I love painting in Australia, my adopted country and whenever I am surrounded by bush or in a beautiful natural place, the calm and peacefulness that I experience inspires me to paint.
Painting on Fraser Island. Imagine the challenge of painting these tall trees in the sunfilled forest and trying to get it onto a little board.

So until next time – Cheers