Cloudy Day on the Mississippi River | plein air painting on the river\’s edge

It was a great day for plein air painting in St. Paul… at least it ended up as a great day for plein air painting in St.Paul.

I made my way to the park this morning, and with view finder in hand, began looking for inspiration and the next subject to paint.  I set up my pochade box 3 times.  Twice I even got a panel out and was about to begin. But then I stopped.   What was stopping me?  I was bored. I was bored with the subject before the painting even began.

So I thought back to my own list of 5 thing to remember when you’re plein air painting. There was nothing wrong with anything that I was seeing in the park, but I had painted subjects similar to  these before.  It felt very familiar, very safe, very been there, done that.  I decided to cross the street, and with my pochade box zipped away in my back pack, I began climbing  down the steep bank from street level towards the river below.  I found a nice flat out cropping of rocks and I set up.

The painting above is the result of my climb.  The look of the painting may not seem revolutionary, but it was a great learning experience for me this morning.  I was reminded that there really isn’t much of a point to painting something because it’s easy, safe, or  something that I know I can paint.  What I mean is, one of the big things that has kept  me painting  is taking on new challanges, and constantly trying to improve my skill.

In the end, it was a great day for plein air painting in St. Paul.  Of course I had to go all the way to the edge of St. Paul. (Minneapolis is on the other side of the river.)