October 1, 2013

More Plein Air, Please

"Pemberton Farm"  plein air oil sketch, 8X10"

Further to my last post, I continue to enjoy the process and the experience  of working in the field. The above is one of the paintings done during my recent trip to the Whistler area, and I thought you may find value in hearing about my process with this particular piece.

 As you know, with unsetlled days the light can change drastically from one moment to the next.  As well, with low lying cloud there is a constant shift in values and shapes that may please you one moment, and totally change in the next.

If you have been following along, you have heard me say before that you should record important elements before they change.  In addition, I am learning how to take advantage of things changing.  This scene had no sunlight on it when I started, and then the sun came out and I made use of it in order to create a more interesting painting. The clouds became more varied later in my painting session, and I took advantage of that as well.

Conversely, I had seen farm workers in the scene earlier and opted not to put them in, but as I was finishing the piece, used my visual memory to insert them as I felt I needed some additional interest in the foreground.  I am finding that as I continue to paint outdoors I am gaining new confidence to experiment with the process and with the elements I am presented with.

Here's the thing:  working from a photograph you are working from a moment frozen in time.  On location, over the period of an hour, you are experiencing the place and can thing about how to communicate that in your painting.  I feel it makes for a painting with more authenticity and impact.

Ok, I gotta get back to the easel.  Wishing you all happy painting!


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