Plein Air Painting – Don’t You Know It’s Different For Girls?

By Mary Kemp in Misc > Art Opinion

This is what happens if you’re a man. . .

You decide you want to do a bit of open air painting or drawing, so you get up, throw on your old work clothes, gather together your painting kit and off you go.

Whether it’s the town or country, you find yourself a good spot, get settled in, and get on with it. And while you’re painting, if anyone approaches (unless you want to chat) you can simply glare at them and they’ll go away.


But don’t you know it’s different for girls?

We may (possibly!) be equal as artists and business people, but when it comes to being alone in a public place women have a distinct disadvantage.

Sometimes it seems that every male with a bit of time on his hands wants to give you a piece of advice. If it’s not “chatting you up,” it’s paternalistic concern—”You want to watch out for dodgy characters, love.”

So what’s a girl to do?


Sure, we’re robust, we can deal with it, but in case a bit of help is needed here are a few tips I’ve come up with:

1. Keep moving, and take lots of photos. It’s less intriguing than painting.
2. Take someone with you. Preferably male. Two girls together is a double attraction!
3. Take a child with you. . . unless that’s too much of a distraction.
4. Take a dog with you that barks when anyone approaches.
5. Go in a group. Now that’s intimidating to any predator!
6. Paint where no one goes. (May be a bit unnerving, since you still can’t be sure.)
7. Sit in your car while you paint.
8. Grow old and wear baggy clothes.

I don’t often do my painting outdoors, just because I don’t like the whole ritual of managing so much equipment, but I do enjoy drawing on a particularly nice, warm day.


I’m a little older now so I don’t get approached quite as often, and I count that as a blessing. But usually my longsuffering husband goes with me, or I go with a group of friends. We always have a fun time together, which I do enjoy.

Still. . . It’s just too bad that it’s different for girls.

For more from Mary, please visit her blog at


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