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Painting in the car

Painting in the car, or ‘en plein car’ as I like to call it, is what I do when I feel like painting but can’t be bothered going out in the crappy weather. Sometimes I do it when I’m out and about and I have some time to kill. Today while my wife was shopping I decided to paint the view from the car.

The pros of painting from the car are you can avoid the bad weather, people don’t tend to bother you while you’re painting (although one night last year in the city centre a woman saw me, tapped on my window, and then stuck a handwritten note under my wiper telling me to join some religious organisation), and you can get views that you probably couldn’t get when setting up with an easel/tripod, e.g. by the side of a busy road, in the middle of a car park, etc.

The cons are if it rains you need to keep the wipers on, you also need to keep the engine running most of the time to stop the windows from fogging up, you might get paint all over the interior if you’re clumsy like me, it restricts you’re movement, you can’t take a few steps back to view the work, it also restricts the size you work at - I tend to do 7 x 5” in the car as the pochade box I made is intended for that size but I have painted up to 12 x 8” in the past, and finally the lights in a car tend to be very warm and not very bright so you probably need a portable light if you’re doing a nocturne.

The cons seem to outnumber the pros but I still think it’s an enjoyable thing to do when the weather’s bad.

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