|painting in progress|
"What Should I Paint?"
This is a question I get asked a lot as an instructor. And it is a great avoidance strategy, getting deadlocked in the fear of not choosing the very best thing to paint, or worse yet to lament with the cry, "There is nothing here to paint". It can completely stall out your painting mojo.
Plein air painting has taught me to make that decision of what to paint very quickly, because the day is wasting. There are SO many possibilities when outdoors that it can be overwhelming. In the early days, I could spend an hour or more wandering around on a location trying to figure out where to set up and what to paint.
I've heard it said that John Singer Sargeant - my painting hero- used to walk out into a field and plop down his gear, then turn around slowly in a 380, and decide what to paint. What he had cultivated was his ability to see painting possibilities in almost any subject matter. If you don't see anything worth painting, look harder, look with a painters eyes.
My dear friend Robert Genn used to tell me to find a comfortable place to sit, and let that determine what you were going to paint. It seemed to work very well for him.
As you can see from the reference above, there was no interesting light on this particular day, and nothing really very obviously picturesque about the scene, so I looked for what could make a decent painting. I liked the form of the Eucalyptus tree. It would give me a nice dark vertical to insert in the picture plain and it was an interesting shape. There was a path that would work great for a linear lead in, and some interesting texture and color temperature changes in the grasses.
As I continue to learn and grow in my experience as a plein air painter, it gets easier and easier to decide what to paint and get started. Find one element that draws you in, and work your painting around it. Look for pictorial elements of light and dark, warm and cool. Look for rhythms created by value patterns. There is great beauty in all of these things.
"Begin it. Boldness has genius, magic and power in it. " - Goethe
Then you will behold the landscape in a dynamic way - with the eyes of a painter.
May 14 - FREE DEMO at Opus Art Supplies, Langley Call to reserve: 604.533.0601
July 2,3 and July 8,9 Plein Air Essentials. Price: $350, Location, Langley BC
Contact Gaye: firstname.lastname@example.org
August 22-26 GIBSONS SCHOOL OF THE ARTS CLICK HERE FOR INFO
September 13-22 PAINTING THE LANDSCAPE IN CROATIA CLICK HERE FOR INFO