I have always romanticized painting en plein air. Know what that is? 

The official definition is "pertaining to a manner or style of painting developed chiefly in France in the mid-19th century, characterized by the representation of the luminous effects of natural light and atmosphere as contrasted with the artificial light and absence of the sense of air or atmosphere associated with paintings produced in the studio."

In layman's terms, painting "en plein air" means painting outside - what is right in front of you. The term was coined in the late 1800's during the impressionist movement in France by the likes of VanGogh, Renoir, Monet, Cézanne, Rosseau, and so many more. Monet famously painted hundreds of different views of his garden at his home in Giverny, and recently, art conservators even found a dead grasshopper embedded in the brush strokes of one of VanGogh's paintings.

Painting en plein air is something i love to do, but it's a luxury I really don't make time for. 

That's why I REALLY want to go to an artist retreat. A quiet picturesque place where I can bring all my art supplies and just paint or draw. Like this place in Virginia. It sounds just luxurious and LOOK at the photo gallery! How can you NOT be relaxed and creative in a place like this? You can take any kind of classes you want (painting, printmaking, drawing, etc.) and you have plenty of free time to just sit outside in the gorgeous "plein air" and get creative. 

I hear what you're thinking - why can't I just set aside a weekend around home to sit outside and paint? I could... and I probably will one weekend soon... but it's different. If I'm at home I'm distracted by the dishwasher and tv and phone and kids and cooking and laundry and a billion  other things I SHOULD be doing.  

So for now, I guess I'll see about buying myself a travel easel and supply box like this or this or even this