Plein Air painting

I was recently asked to jury a plein air event. One artist accosted me afterward to complain that his kind of painting was rarely picked for awards in the plein air events.I actually had considered his, considered its merits etc. but decided against it because of the high quality of some of the other paintings. He made this point: Plein air simply means that the work was painted outside.

I think that it means a little more. I think it means it was painted outside because out there you can study first hand the subtle color plays and value changes provided by nature that are often missed in a photo. It means to be part of the environment, the sun, the breeze, the sounds and smells, and to respond to it all while being in it. One could just go out on the deck and paint the studio painting one was going to paint in the studio, and to me that is not plein air painting.  I could be wrong. What do you think?

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