En Plein Air with Bobbi Heath

En Plein Air with Bobbi Heath


Start with a figure eight.

That’s how Bobbi Heath begins to explain the process of drawing a boat. A natural, and sought-after teacher, Bobbi guides her students through the steps they can take to make the world before them appear on a canvas.

An avid boater, she and her family explore coves and bays in the U.S and Europe, taking in the beauty of coastal life, admiring the dynamics of the ocean and canals, and being inspired by nature. As a “plein air” painter, one who paints outside from observation, she uses these idyllic settings as inspiration for her work. 

As Bobbi explains on her blog:

“I love being outside, I love the challenges; the moving sun, the rising and falling tide, and even the possibility that the subject might leave the scene, which happens a lot with boats! It’s more intense than painting from a photo. Of course there are inconveniences, like bugs, and wind, and even rain, which will pretty well put an end to the session. I think I do my best work when I can observe the three dimensional scene and translate it into two dimensions on the spot.”

With a love of both art and science, Bobbi’s passions have collided into a fascinating life. She has a PhD in Chemistry, worked in the semiconductor industry, co-founded tech start-ups, and even built her own harpsichord during graduate school. While working in technology, Bobbi studied with a number of accomplished artists, but considered herself to be a “Sunday painter.”

Things changed about 10 years ago when Bobbi was introduced to the daily painting movement.

Each morning while on her morning commute, Bobbi would pull over at a beautiful spot, set up her supplies, and work on that day’s painting.

Today, Bobbi has set software aside and brought her paint brushes to center stage, bringing joyful and colorful paintings to life - whether it’s a boat bobbing in the water or a family moment captured in time.

She mainly uses the “alla prima” approach, where wet paint is applied directly on to wet layers; this work is completed in one sitting.

Originally from Freeport, Texas, when she moved to Michigan, she convinced her family to start canoeing. And so began her love affair with boating. She later honed her boating skills at Community Boating in Boston.

Instead of an engagement ring, she and her husband-to-be pledged their love and commitment to each other by buying a small sailboat.

She laughs and says, “we shouldn’t have more boats than family members,” but that’s not always the case.

Bobbi describes her art as cheerful. It’s a reflection of her upbeat and optimistic personality. Her work also conveys the calm, peaceful beauty of nature, and the stillness she can capture by observing, painting, and loving the outdoors.

Bobbi is a generous teacher, guiding her students in everything from technique through the tools she recommends for plein air painting.

She even takes students on adventures - including trips to Provence - to help them learn “how to express themselves through paint.”

Bobbi helps students of varying skill levels conquer their fears and hone their skills. She says it’s a bit of art and science.

“When you’re building software, it isn’t always obvious what it will like in the end. Painting is very similar. Colors look strange, you may not see the composition yet. But both things are process oriented: the steps you take, focussing on what’s most important, and knowing where you have more latitude.”

To see more of Bobbi’s work, visit The Drawing Room where a number of her paintings are available for purchase.



Learning about Plein Air Painting with Bobbi Heath

August 20th from 1 - 3 P.M.

Inspired by her love of boating and the outdoors, Bobbi Heath's "plein air" paintings capture the joy of a summer spent by the shore.

A much sought-after painting instructor, Bobbi will be at The Drawing Room on August 20th at 1 p.m. to share her painting techniques and show her favorite gear for painting outdoors.

This demonstration and talk will be indoors, but it may inspire you to take your painting skills out into the summer sun!

This event is free and open to the public.
Please send us an email at info@anthif.com to reserve your spot!