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Capturing the Beauty of Nature: Exploring Plein Air Painting with Bea Brookes

The mesmerizing beauty of the natural world has long been a muse for artists, inspiring them to capture its essence in their preferred medium and apply their interpretation and experience of the landscape before them. One such artist who celebrates this enchantment is Bea Brookes, a talented South-West artist whose work is showcased as part of Artizan Gallery's "A World in Landscapes" exhibition. As we delve into the wider practice of plein air painting, we uncover the art form's allure and how it intertwines with Bea's own creations.

Works of Bea Brookes
Works of Bea Brookes

Plein air painting, derives from the French term meaning "open air," and is an artistic approach that involves creating artwork directly in the outdoor environment, immersing oneself in an immediate experience of nature. It allows artists to engage with their surroundings, capturing the immediacy of changing light, colours, and movement that breathe life into the landscape. As a method, plein air painting dates back to the mid-19th century when artists such as Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir ventured outdoors to portray the world as they saw it, with authenticity and immediacy.

Bea Brookes, a lifelong artist, has a profound connection with the natural world. Living in Devon, perched atop a hill, she is surrounded by breathtaking vistas that span across a panoramic landscape. Her recent works, which are showcased in the exhibition, are a testament to her deep appreciation for her surroundings. Bea's artistic process begins with careful observation, multiple visits to a location, and the creation of sketches and capturing of photographs. These initial steps serve as a foundation for her subsequent paintings, allowing her to conceptualize the composition, perspective, and colour palette before translating her thoughts onto canvas.

"I aim for a simple composition from what originally can be a complex vista with many focal points," Bea explains. "So, I'll spend a long time observing, re-visiting a place, just watching and looking. This instinctive and underestimated pastime is a real pleasure for me."

Works of Bea Brookes
Works of Bea Brookes

One of the defining aspects of plein air painting is the ability to capture the essence and atmosphere of a place. Bea's artwork embodies this characteristic. While her paintings may seem organic and spontaneous, they are, in fact, a deeply personal interpretation of a location, often influenced by multiple photos or on-site sketches. Through her brushstrokes, she aims to evoke the feeling of a place, with rich tones, vibrant colours, and a sense of movement or stillness when required.

Bea's love for the medium of oil painting shines through her work, as she embraces the malleability of the medium. Oils allow her to manipulate form and texture, creating a dynamic interplay between chalky subtlety and luscious richness. Each painting presents a new opportunity for exploration and self-expression, as Bea avoids being confined to a singular approach or style. Her optimism about the outcome and a preference for a loose artistic style result in captivating and evocative pieces.

As we enjoy Bea Brookes' exhibition at Artizan Gallery, we are reminded of the profound connection between plein air painting and our appreciation of the natural world. Through her artwork, Bea invites us to immerse ourselves in the captivating landscapes she encounters, encouraging us to pause, observe, and find solace in the beauty that surrounds us.

Works of Bea Brookes
Works of Bea Brookes

You can discover Bea's work at Artizan Gallery until July 28th. For more information, visit



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