En Plein Air Art of the Atlantic Coast

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Summer field trips along the Atlantic coast provide a range of nature-related activities that inspire painters and other Artists. Among the most common field trips are expeditions for shell collecting, exploring tide pools, clamming and hiking.

Many of these activities offer artists inspiration and a foundation upon which to create works of art en plein air. En plein air is a French expression which means “in the open air”, and is typically used to describe the act of painting outdoors.

Exploring tide pools is an excellent way to find subjects and materials for art projects such as cockles, moon snails, whelks, conchs, scallops, angel wings and other attractive treasures. Field trips to explore tidal areas are a wonderful activity for nature enthusiasts of all ages to learn about the creatures that live there.

Catching fish and seafood is popular along the seashore. Fishermen use cast nets, small seines, traps or other equipment to catch minnows, bait fish, crabs, shrimp and other sea creatures. Some seashores have areas where shellfish harvests of quahog clams, oysters and mussels is allowed. While harvesting shellfish, many artists keep materials handy at all times to be ready when a once in a lifetime scene comes along.

The Atlantic coast is an excellent place to paint scenes such as sunrises and sunsets, seascapes, wave actions, marine mammals and people. Bird watchers will find plenty of subjects along Atlantic shorelines. Most areas are home to a wide range of birds such as gulls, terns, oyster catchers, herons, egrets, pelicans, ibises, plovers, sandpipers and other shorebirds.

Artists also find kites of every description along the coast. To fly a kite successfully, enthusiasts need wind and open areas, which are usually plentiful along the coast.

The Atlantic coast has thousands of hiking trails which offer a wide range of photography subjects. Coastal destinations such as National seashores and public beaches usually provide trails with a range of landscapes and wildlife.