July 27, 2014

In a Fog - Paintings #13 and #14

Yellow Raincoat 9X12 oil

Foggy Day on Shell Beach

I have to say, I am learning a ton by doing all this plein air painting. Normally, I would not choose to paint on a foggy day, but these two paintings were demos in a recent Tofino workshop I had the pleasure of teaching in June.   Day one was beautiful weather, then, in typical outer west coast fashion, it changed.  My intrepid group painted on regardless of the weather, and once I got over wanting it to be sunny so I could have some drama light-wise I settled into yet another  study of grays.

 Here is the thing about fog:  IT ALWAYS CHANGES.

Here is the thing about fog: it changes very quickly.  It moves faster than light or tide, it turns out, and on the one other foggy day in my entire plein air career on which I had painted, I learned that lesson.  

How do you deal with that?  Block in very quickly - have all your basic tonal relationships established within the first half hour or less, if you can manage it.  My students that day all found the fog was moving too fast for the speed at which they were painting.  It takes some practice to get fast enough.  The background set of rocks appeared and disappeared about five times in a two hour painting session on Shell Beach.  The painting at the top (Yellow Raincoat) saw the fog settling in, and then burning off and settling right back in again.  Our canvases became covered with scotch mist - you know, that light, foggy kind of drizzle, and still we painted on.

Interestingly, the water could be absorbed off the painting surface with a paper towel, or left to dry for a short while, and painting could be resumed.  Try that with watercolor, acrylics or pastel.  Not doable.

I think I might paint in the fog more often - this was actually kind of fun.


Go out and paint something  this week that you would typically not paint - doesn't matter what it is, as long as it makes you good and uncomfortable.  Block in big tonal and color relationships, and leave out as much detail as you can.  Remember you can only ever paint four things:  Values,  colors, shapes and edges.   You might just have fun.....

If you are enjoying this post, let an artsy friend know about it.  The more, the merrier.

Happy painting,

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