Plein air is a French expression that means “in the open air” and describes the act of painting outdoors. Plein air is a branch of impressionism.
Skilled outdoor painters are able to choose compositions from many options; recognize a variety colors; and mix paint quickly to capture the sense of light on form. Tom’s outdoor-painting experience and resulting field studies contribute to the success of his studio work.
Search “Navajo Country” on this website to see example of Tom using a plein air study to develop a large-scale painting.
Sometimes Haas uses one or more of his plein air paintings for inspiration to create a new work in the studio. In addition, Tom’s process can include “thumb nail” drawings (ink or pencil on paper; oil on a small canvas; or oil sketch on clean area of palette) to experiment with composition or fine tune the color harmony he will use in the final piece.