Something in marstokyo's journal reminded me of the sunlight in California when I lived there--a rich Mediterranean sun, quite bright, but not blazing down like our Texas sun. This led me to remember the California "plein air" art movement. This group of California nature artists, many of whom painted before 1940, were eager to take the ideas of the French Impressionists about light and apply them to the curious light ambiance of California. At its best, this work can be really evocative stuff, essential to an understanding of California culture. At its worst, it can be post-Impressionist cookie cutter holiday inn wall stuff (although, frankly, I usually like holiday inn wall art, and I love chocolate chip cookies). After I thought about it, I got on google because I wanted to see some of it again. I found two interesting sites--The Plein Air Scene website and the website for the Plein Art Painters of America. Both have links to loads of this type of work in various galleries. I was surprised to note that lots of modern folks still consider themselves "plein air artists". This poses the same question that other "narrow genres" of art, such as western art, pose--is there a point when following a somewhat derivative form stops being art, and becomes a mere hobby or affectation? My own vote is no, but I am not a profound thinker on this (or any art matter) I just know, art or hobby or waste of time, I like good plein art, as well as, for that matter, good plain art.