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Sally West – En Plein Air Painting

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  • 05/01/2017

For her latest series of en plein air works, Sally West has drawn inspiration from the history and experiences of some of Australia’s best landscape artists. The resulting works are something special to view, and are available now at KAB Gallery.


Plein-Air (in the open air) refers to the practice of painting outdoors, in direct engagement with nature. It was coined by the French impressionists over 100 years ago to describe painting outdoors, capturing natural light and atmosphere in the landscape, and translating those elusive qualities with paint to surface.

In Australia this tradition was introduced by the Heidelberg School artists (from 1890s) such as Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Conder and Louis Abrahams. Many of the paintings were referred to as “9 by 5s”, as they were often painted on compact and manageable 9inch x 5inch cigar box lids provided by Abrahams whose family imported cigars. 

In an attempt to honour this fine Australian tradition, throughout the year Sally West visited many beautiful locations across Sydney to paint 9 by 5 artworks (23cm x 13cm, approx). The inspiration she has drawn from the dimensions of these historical works along with their Impressionist style and the experience of painting en plein air really shine through in this special series of oil on paper works. Some works are framed in simple elegant white frames, while others are professionally mounted under card ready for you to frame to suit your particular decor.

Sally West is a traditional en plein air painter who only paints from life. She travels to the best locations and vantage points to find the perfect scene, with her experience of the outlook, weather, light and distance from the subject captured perfectly in her work.

Below and in the Related Products section of this article are a selection of her 9 by 5’s – All available now at KAB Gallery and priced from $330.

Sydney Harbour Study 5 (29.7.16), 23x13cm, Oil on Paper, $330


Cremorne Study 1 (14.10.16), 23x13cm, Oil on Paper, Framed in White, $490


Kuraba Study 6 (2.10.16) - Plein Air
Kuraba Study 6 (2.10.16), 23x13cm, Oil on Paper, Framed in White, $330


Pittwater Study 3 (1.9.16), 23x13cm, Oil on Paper, $330