It is amazing to me that most of our country is in a drought. Almost every plein air festival I have attended this year has had rain. It is actually pretty typical that I experience a day or two of rain during an event. It's just one of the perils of the 'sport,' like football games played in the snow and baseball games in the rain. Rarely, if ever, is an event 'called due to weather.'
Here is an image taken by Arthur Barry shows Bryan Mark Taylor and I during the Quick Draw in Easton. It was a downpour! He painted cars on wet streets; I painted people and umbrellas on wet streets. I'm certain we both learned a lot that day. Bryan, for instance, learned that restaurant umbrellas come in very handy and they are large enough to share with a friend. I learned that a quick draw can seem like it lasts forever when you are soaked to the bone.
Below is a very short demonstration of a painting done on an overcast and drizzly day. The colors can appear to be more saturated on those days. There is no bright light blasting out all of the color. Another plus for painting on overcast or rainy days, is that the light stays mostly the same. Unlike painting in a situation where you are fighting the urge to chase the sunlight and shadows all over your canvas, painting in these conditions allows you time to think, learn, and process what you are seeing, then place it confidently on the canvas.
During my recent trip to Art in the Open, Ireland, we had a mixture of, shall I say, lighting effects each day. Most mornings were very rainy, windy, even dark and stormy. But with only a couple of exceptions, as the days went on the clouds parted and presented big, beautiful, puffy clouds and blue sky. The clouds and blue traded places with drizzle and showers often several times throughout the day, which provided endless opportunities for interpreting many different colors of light, moods, and atmospheric conditions. A paradise for anyone seeking growth, southeastern Ireland is a favorite of mine.
. Photo by Toni Hooper.
In the end, you either love plein air, or you do not. Neither makes or breaks you as an artist. For me, personally, I have found great growth by doing so much painting from life. It won't be long until my toes begin to web together and feathers appear on my back. Next this [ugly] duckling (and yes, I've painted plenty of those) turns into a 'beautiful painting' swan.