09 July 2006

Silly art terminology rant

I think that painting outdoors, from life, is a fine thing to do. I have the utmost respect for those who practice this kind of painting, as it is very difficult to do well. But I find the term most commonly used to describe outdoor painting to be insufferably precious.
"Do you paint en plein air?"
"Why yes! I painted en plein air yesterday in the park. Alas, it rained."
I can certainly understand adopting a technical art term from French (e.g., ebauche) or Italian (e.g., velatura) if there is no good English equivalent. But, with apologies to those who might find the term evocative (or marketable), using "en plein air" to mean "outdoors" is just too highfalutin for me.

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