February 26, 2015
Plein Air Process
Every now and again, I have the fore site - and the time, to photograph my process. I wanted to show you my set up for plein air.
I arrange my pochade box so that I can see the landscape behind my painting surface. This makes it far easier to compare values, etc. at I progress. If there are any glaring inaccuracies, they are really apparent when you paint this way. Big shapes to small shapes, always.
On this particular day the sun was peaking in and out, and it gave prolonged painting time. I was able to face my subject matter without an umbrella set up, which allows me to take a photograph of the landscape past the image without the image (the painting) being in the shade.
At the top you can see my start. Design, tonal relationships and color masses are blocked in rapidly, then "tweaked" as the painting progresses.
If you look at the reference closely you can see that I made changes to what was in front of me in order to simplify, and draw out the aspects of the scene that I was most engaged with - but overall, it is still a true record to the day. I leaned the hills a little further towards violet than I saw them, and I brought out the red on the bridge as a color shot. I also removed the rocks on the shore and simplified those areas by doing so which made it a stronger painting, and easier to render - and that works for me.
I won't say too much more, because a picture IS worth a thousand words, so I shall let the pictures finish the dialogue here. Drop me a note if you have questions or comments....
PS - UPCOMING PLEIN AIR WORKSHOP IN JUNE AT BEAR VALLEY HIGHLANDS, LUMBY BC, Info below: