Rod Edwards is a plein air artist. En plein air is a French expression which means "in the open air" and is used to describe a style of painting produced out of doors in natural light.
The style began with the Impressionist movement in the 19th century. The first Impressionists rebelled against the rules of academic painting at the time and tried to duplicate, in their work, the effects of light on form, as opposed to the form itself. To recreate the effects of natural light on the eye, they used short brush strokes of pure and unmixed color (not smoothly blended, as was customary) so the color appeared to vibrate. Light thus depicted through color resulted in images that were vibrant and alive.
Previously almost all painting was done indoors, even landscapes, but the best light was found outdoors in the open air, or as the French would say, en plein air. So Impressionists left their studios, taking their easels, paints and brushes into the countryside, to seek the dramatic and transitory beauty of sunlight on the fields and trees, hills and valleys, etc.—the world of nature!
The Santa Clarita Valley, with its unique and varied landscapes (about 35 miles north of Los Angeles California) is the home and favorite subject of Rod Edwards. It includes natural wilderness, ranch land and even old stage-coach routes sometimes found in Hollywood films. Here, Edwards can usually be found rushing to capture the first or last light of the day which he calls the "golden time", as the angle of the sun, can have a profound effect on what the plein air artist sees. "The more I painted the landscape, the more I loved it," he says. "I first look for the abstract shapes and patterns and then the light and dark areas. The Santa Clarita Valley with it's oak trees, canyons and hills make for ideal settings."
Rod is inspired by the early California impressionists, such as landscape artists Kevin Macpherson and Clyde Aspevig.