Beach Bits

Plein Air Field Trip


Bug’s class had a plein air field trip to the beach this last Monday. You know I signed up to chaperone that trip! I’ll skip the mile walk to the farm in the sun, the overnight trip on the boat with pirate ghost stories and even the sing-along at some fancy schmancy concert hall but I am NOT going to miss out on a trip to the beach with painting.


That is MY KINDA field trip! I was supposed to schlep water to and from the bathroom to the children’s painting stations and supervise a bunch of rowdy kids on the beach who weren’t supposed to be getting wet (heh-to-the-heh on that) but when one of the teachers said I could sneak off and paint some too I was on that like a fly on… well, you know. I was ON IT!

I love love love painting outside and what could be more beautiful to paint than a foggy day at the beach?plein-air-painting-3

It’s funny. So many people moan and complain when a day like this comes along. Where is the sun? Where is the blue sky? Where are all the vibrant colors? How am I supposed to wear a bathing suit and get a tan on a day like this?!  You know what I say? Where are all the hordes of tourists?! Shut up and be thankful and consider this your one way ticket to your own private beach. How often do you get the beach to yourself? Not often!!


Personally, I love the colors of the beach when it’s foggy. I say this all the time and my long time readers will probably know what I’m going to say before I even say it. The beach is different every day. I used to walk it every day, Bug and I and our big fat jogger stroller. Every day it was a different ombre paint stick of beauty. Soft blues and grays, shades of lavender and beige blending with softness and then the next day zillions of bright red tiny lobsters might show up out of no where. You never know what you are going to get. The sky and water are constantly going back and forth in a playful battle over who’s going play the biggest color or lack of color card. You come to appreciate the subtleties when you see it every day. The foggy days are more personal, like a soft moody hug from nature.



But back to painting. We all had so much fun. They had different artists from the community helping the kids in groups of ten or so. It was a brilliant plan and you would not believe how the kids ate it up. The squirrely boys who can’t focus their attention span on anything that isn’t bouncing or loud, were quiet and focused. The shy girls who usually fade into the walls were shining with talent. It was just a great mix of involvement. Nobody fails at plein air painting. It’s an emotional experience and no painting is wrong. It’s how you interpret the colors and your palette. I was amazed at how good their paintings were. Blur your eyes and you might even think their works of blurry art were photographs.


I think they learned more about creativity and their own potential on this day than they probably did all year. I’m always for kids getting outside and learning. They will never forget the memories they made on this day.


Of course my beach girl was in her element, showing off her billy goat climbing skills like she learned to walk on the beach or something (she did).


It was just really fun. I am loving these years. Bug and I had a picnic lunch together and pretended that our peanut and butter sandwiches were fancy French pastries. Because that’s not really a stretch for us.


Her class had a blast. I imagine some of them haven’t really been to the beach that much, if at all. It’s always good to see kids let lose and have a little fun. You should have seen so many of them jumping in the waves, shoes and all. They had no fear of cold feet or the bus ride home with itchy uncomfortable sand in their shoes. They were just there in the moment full of joy.


Maybe we all need a little more foggy joy in our lives. I apologize for the nice neat bow ending but you know what I mean.



  • BeachMama

    I wish our kiddos could have such a wonderful field trip!! Field trips are rare as it is now a days, and they seem to go to the same museums each time.

    I also love seeing you at the beach again, I always admired how much you appreciated being so close when Bug was small, and taking treks with baby in tow. Kept me going on many a snowy day.

  • Lynne

    Hello, how did I let this update slip by? Maybe it was because I was at the farm for a long weekend and I don’t check my phone there much to see whats happening with the outside world. The snow has melted now, there were huge drifts reaching to the windows while it lasted ! But the snow melt has left everything a little soggy. I stood outside the barn and had happy memories of the rounders game and you guys being here. I even think of Bug and Joon whenever I pass the little tree they sat at playing with the acorns. Le sigh.

    Loving your post on grey days at the beach. yes, I fondly remember the days you and Bug took a walk every morning and I lived through you whilst I sat at my desk, landlocked by the city. What a great idea to take a bunch of 12 years old to paint outdoors. I thought yours was rather splendid, you should paint more.

    Big hugs,


  • Lynne

    P.s. I just realised looking at the others comments your post is rather recent so I didn’t miss an update on FB telling me you had a new post. Do you have a RRS feed? I really should know this after all these years :)

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