So, what does it mean 'en plein air'? It translates as 'in the open air' and is roughly equivalent to another French expression 'peinture sur le motif' meaning 'painting on the reason'. It is the opposite to painting in the studio either from memory or from a photograph. Monet, Pissaro, and Renoir gave it a go. I toured the sanitorium to which Van Gogh committed himself in St Remy in 1889, and there in the garden, amongst the immaculately trimmed lavender bushes, was a smattering of painters 'en plein air'. A jaw-dropping moment.
What Jane is doing here is not, strictly speaking, 'en plein air' but is most certainly 'sur le motif'. She is in the thick of it; she is painting real time; she is multi-tasking. She has to wear googles, for heaven's sake cause the guys get a smidge carried away with the sledge-hammers.
Can you see what I mean by multi-tasking? For starters, those two massive canvasses on the large easels, are not quite finished, so there are visions flashing around her head that she will incorporate later. Propped around her work easel and paint table, are a number of smaller canvases, between which she swaps as the session progresses. I envisage her eye-brain as a camera, click-click-clicking away with minute details of the whole. The trained mind registers the image, and she swaps over to the appropriate canvas ... or starts another one.
Guido and Chris are doing their own smithy thing, progressing a work, knowing that Jane is capturing their stance, their bearing, their actions. And knowing that, today, they have an audence (behind a perspex wall).