Sunday, May 15, 2011

Chasing the sun from the shadows

My previous post showed a finished painting drying in the sun. Actually, painting on a canvas that has sunshine on it creates a very strange painting when brought indoors, sometimes it is positively garish and other times it is incredibly dark. It took me 3 ruined paintings to learn to ALWAYS have my canvas and my palette in shade. Therefore I bring a 60" artist umbrella to our paintouts as well as choose locations with abundant shade trees or overhangs. Standing in sun for hours, sunblock or not isn't a healthy practice either.

It helps to have a good sense of direction or a compass when plein air painting. In this case, I put a straight edge on the ground at the edge of the shadow and watched to see the sun move over the marker-it only takes 2-3 minutes to plot a good spot.

photos by Bobbie Peters

Working Weekend!

I managed to paint and visit Long Island & NYC over a recent long weekend. I painted one early morning and one afternoon on different days at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories and Education Center where Bobbie works, probably the prettiest site for a lab and a career. This is the view near the top of the hill and close to her office doorstep. The paintings show adjoining areas of the village of Cold Spring Harbor, across the bay; both were painted in glorious sunshine but the harbor photos were taken when scattered clouds changed my view and I took a break.

The painting below, on the easel, is set to dry in the sun as I relished the view and waited for a ride home, I have it home now having gingerly carried the still wet painting in my JetBlue carryon. The Library painting stayed at the lab in her office, I painted until 5 minutes before leaving for the train and it was entirely too fragile to move.

I plopped the wet picture on the shaded ground and took a snapshot to test the light. It needed more light for true colors so I moved the picture to shoot it again. Dead camera battery. I have no painting, nor do I have an accurate photo of it, but I did have the opportunity to spend hours with this view, the changing colors and shadows of morning, the moored boats changing direction with the breeze, pansies and flowering trees and a nearby fountain attracting a variety of birds.

Can you believe my sister works in this spectacular place? And she has the painting? I expect a comment as to how this photo of the painting compares to the real thing!

Photo Cold Spring Harbor
Cold Spring Harbor Library, oil 14x11 2011
Photo of easel, 'Mapping My Genome at CSHL, oil 11x14 2011