February 26, 2016

First things First

Highway 33, 8X10", oil on canvas

Here is another scene from southern California.  When we pulled up my painting partner remarked to me that is was a rather unremarkable scene.

And she was right - it was just a road going around a corner.  However, after the many hundreds of times I have chosen a plein air location, I have learned to look for the elements that will make for a good design and from which I can create a strong painting.  Here's what I look for:

-Is there any kind of foreground that can create a lead in or lend a strong sense of depth to my canvas? Here there was a road, and a strong dark vertical to create a foil for the distant hills.  Also it provided an opportunity to use some saturated color in the immediate foreground.

-Can I see  a "rhythm" in my subject matter?  By rhythm I mean a sort of dance that is created by the juxtaposition of the shapes.  In this painting the slant of the foreground hillside against the slant of the mid ground hills created a nice flow, a sort of dance, some movement.

-In addition there was a safe place to pull over and some shade to paint in, which was important.  The days was hot, the light very bright and I had no painting umbrella!


When painting, distilling down to the basic elements of design first and foremost will serve you well.
On location, look for that FIRST and the rest will fall into place because you will always have something to sink your teeth into.


I will be teaching a couple of plein air workshop in the lower mainland of Vancouver this season, but dates are TBA.  Check back here or on my website for more information over this next month.  In the meantime,  I am thrilled to offer a workshop venue in CROATIA being held Sept 13-22, 2016.  It's going to be a great trip.  To learn more, CLICK HERE.  Email me at gayemadams@gmail.com and I can send further information for your perusal.

Plein air season in Canada is beginning.  Yay!  Get that kit packed and those brushes flying...


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