Monday, 15 April 2013


I love this photo of Grandma Moses. 

Fast drying Acrylics and "Plein Air" are a bit of an oxymoron and as I'm an Acrylic specialist it's not something I do. However, I came across this photo of Grandma Moses and it made me yearn to sit in a field and paint. I plan to do some "Plein Air" this summer; there are some wonderful spots nearby, thatched roof cottages, picturesque farms and riverside views. Quite idyllic.

With spring in the air, I'm currently looking for a "pochade" easel to simplify the process. A "pochade" is an easel, paint box and painting rack in one which is designed to be portable. The idea is that you can put all your supplies into the attached box and you can the paint, palette and brushes in front of you while you paint. They are light to carry and fast to set up and usually have a convenient carry strap. so perfect for "Plein Air" painting. 

Below are 3 different types which require a tripod to set them on if you want to stand or sit on a chair. They can also be used on the ground or conveniently propped on a country wall or stile. The one we are probably more familiar with is the much heavier French Easel in the 4th photo, which was used by the impressionists and has the bonus of fold away legs. These some times come with a back pack or strap for easy hiking. Of course Grandma just sat on the ground with her canvas propped against something convenient.

Grandma Moses

"It was on a farm in Eagle Ridge, Virginia,  that Anna Mary Moses painted her first painting. She was wallpapering her parlor and ran out of paper. To finish the room she put up white paper and painted a scene. It is known as the Fireboard, and it hangs today in the Bennington Museum in Bennington, Vermont.

Anna's husband died in 1927, and her son and daughter-in-law took over the farm. As she aged and found farm work too difficult, Grandma Moses took up embroidering pictures in yarn to fill her spare time. At the age of seventy-six, because of arthritis, she gave up embroidery and began to paint. Read more and Wikepedia

I can see why her work is so popular and many painters are still heavily influenced by her comforting folk art style. Her colours are br.ight, but semi-natural, her perspective and figures are simplified and a little off kilter. It's all very charming and I wish I could paint like her.