I love to paint outside!
Pastels I believe are the perfect medium for painting outdoors as the colours are so pure and you can express a scene quickly.
When using sanded paper the slight brush of pastel can represent distant leaves, Pan Pastels give you a lovely blending for skies.
But, I do not think you need to travel far from home to find a spot to paint. Always have a 'small studio of supplies' in your car. I travel with w/c paints, pastel pencils and now 3 small boxes of pastels then when you stop do a little sketch. I do have one French easel commited to pastels and only take it out when I go for an official OPAS paint out.
Idea: If you go to the same park on a regular basis, make one sketch book dedicated to that park and each time you visit sketch or paint a scene. Then check your sketches to see the difference between spring - summer - fall - winter - makes sketching more interesting. What does that scene look like after summer when it is winter!
My spots, Scarborough Bluffers Park - great cliffs, ocean like scenes, boats, trees against skies, Phyllis Rawlinson Park, untouched natural forest/swaps/ponds, the ravine behind my house; several interesting farm entrances on Leslie Street north of 19th, Kennedy north of Hwy 7 for cows and farms.
Then further away from home: Niagara Falls - the bicycle path as lovely scenes between the Falls and Niagara on the lake; Prince Edward County; Shale Beach, Allenwood Beach - across Georgain Bay, gives an ocean like scene with trees and waves;
or just drive for an hour in any direction from your home and stop - bet your see some great scenes!
People and Plein Air.....
My Nun story.......so there I was pasteling a great tree against a great sky at Scarb Bluffs, next moment at my side was a Nun and two friends talking (I found out) in Spanish, the friends translated that the Nun who was on holiday was very surprised to see anyone painting outdoors in Canada - she definitely thought it was a European activity. After chatting and showing her my tools she blessed me so I will be ok for another few years!
Meeting people is part of the fun.
Painting on holiday.....I have painted Italy on holiday in Rome and Venice, Orta Lake, people traveling in Italy love to talk to you in broken English about your painting, take a photo of you and it is lovely, but sometimes hard to handle if you really want to finish a sketch before the light changes but we do share the planet.
On the other hand painting in France - The Dordogne river, and Northern France, etc, the French just walk on by, giving a very wide space between you and them, so as to not disturb - which would you prefer..........YIA, Sheila