My window view – a not so faraway place

This is my return to the “Draw the view from your window” challenge. My intention is to do it for every season and to notice the differences in foliage and flowers. The tree is a Chinese elm, a hardy and vigorous grower that puts up suckers all over the yard, and promiscuously drops seeds with wild abandon. This elm, in fact, is a child of the four large elms that line the front of our property. Unlike American elms they are not vulnerable to Dutch elm disease. Come to think of it, they’re not vulnerable to anything – even severe trimming and drought. You couldn’t kill them if you tried, which makes them a good plant for drought prone areas like ours.

I painted this in my sketchbook this afternoon, looking out my window onto the end of a sunny day – a welcome change from all the rain and cloudy weather. The colors snapped, the light was good and I just had to stop what I was doing. But here’s my question: If you paint a nature scene from life but you’re not outside, can you call it plein-air? Should I call it faux-air? Or office-air? I am so confused; I will have to ruminate on this for awhile.

Edited to add:

Here’s a fall window view …of the oak just to the left of the Chinese elm (elm not seen here.)



  1. Hashi
    May 8, 2006

    Whatever the air, it’s a lovely painting!

  2. Bonny in BC
    May 9, 2006

    Hi Karen;

    This tree is beautiful – no wait, I mean the whole painting is beautiful! You make it look so easy… the whole composition is airy and vibrant all at once. I love this piece!


  3. Marie-Dom
    May 9, 2006

    Lovely loose painting. I love it.

  4. Crystal
    May 9, 2006

    hey karen… thanks for dropping by my site… love the chinese elm painting! lovely piece… :)

  5. r.e.wolf
    May 9, 2006

    Canned air?

    Whichever, it’s still excellent! :)

  6. endment
    May 9, 2006

    Refreshing! love these greens and the view from your office…
    Considering what is in the air outside – perhaps it is the air in the office that should be called plein-air? :=)

  7. Lin
    May 9, 2006

    oH KAREN!! Another gorgeous painting!! I love the colors in this — the looseness of it all …so evocative!

  8. Katherine
    May 9, 2006

    Karen – lovely painting – and were you sending out thoughtwaves yesterday by any chance? I had exactly the same inclination yesterday – to draw the trees from the windows I look out of regularly. The one just to left of this computer has just gone from bare branches to total green in a matter of days! Not that I’ve done anything about the idea and inclination yet – unlike yourself. I think it’s a great idea – may I join you?

  9. TeriC
    May 9, 2006

    What a great idea to capture each season! Love this painting-so loose and simple but conveying so much.

  10. Kate (Cathy) Johnson
    May 9, 2006


    And it’s WONDERFUL, I don’t care what you call it!

  11. Karen
    May 9, 2006

    Thank you everyone!

    Katherine – yes, I was sending out thoughtwaves, but I didn’t realize they could reach as far as the UK. My wave generator is a vintage model and usually puts out low wattage. Yes, do join me in this! I have done two versions of my upstairs window – one in winter an one in spring. This is the second view of my office window – the first was fall, now spring.

    Kate, I think you’ve coined the phrase! Thanks.

  12. Sioux
    May 9, 2006


  13. Linda
    May 9, 2006

    Great piece — wonderful color — and I’m laughing my butt off over interi-aire … 😀

  14. Linda T
    May 9, 2006

    These are really nice, Karen. I enjoy your work.

  15. Jennafer
    May 10, 2006

    Beautiful. Very spring-y. Love the colors and the light. We have what we call Siberian Elms here. They would take over the universe if
    they could. Right now they are dropping hundreds of seeds all over my garden where they are not invited!

  16. Ann Fortenberry
    May 11, 2006

    I love your painting and the idea of seasonal views from a window. I am also laughing at Kate’s interi-aire. T o be in compliance,, Karen, just stick your head out the window, a few times during painting, and that should make it bona fide and should take care of the com-plein-aires– Uh oh, I better get out of here before somebody throws something!

  17. Maggie
    May 13, 2006

    The Chinese Elm is so lovely with the dabs of blue violet and yellow, SO Spring!

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