Saturday, November 25, 2017

Thanksgiving Plein air?

Thanksgiving week in Texas is perfect weather for outdoor work, in my case, it is perfect for outdoor painting. I used triple coats of clear gesso on a smooth board to keep its natural brown under color and lightly sketched the shapes. As I worked I realized the clouds were about to change, so the sky would be fairly clear in less than an hour. Although I was with my old French easel in full shade to work (play!) the fluctuations of sun and clouds on the landscape would make working accurately difficult.  My scene kept changing. 

I started with the sky and captured the clouds as fast as I could right down to my planned horizon. It worked, as they blew into the east and I gained the advantage of steady sunlight to complete the picture.

Located at the edge of a fairly dense community, this interesting scene provided me with a bit of variety and a joyful afternoon. I used a limited set of paints, a total of just 5 tubes. A standard Red, Yellow, Blue and a dark brown modified each other with White to create new colors. I probably have more natural and varied greens here than when I carry tubes of green. There is a lesson right there.

Long after my travel headed towards home, I realized my painting was left behind. I may see this again in a few months when I make a return visit.

Tanked, 12x16 oil

Using Pastels on Autumn Days

As the days grow short and evening comes earlier, the shadows seem darker and are definitely longer. It's the best season to paint, because shadow creates form and landscape painting is the process of making a 3-D form look real on a flat surface. The shadows and reflections are the depth makers in a picture, besides using perspective, overlapping and diminishing sizes. Oh my, sometimes my brain hurts trying to keep it all together, but it is a good kind of hurt, like rewarding and satisfying work. 

Therefore, my fall paintings have a distinct set of values and colors different from summer. These two recent pastels illustrate this, the sunlight in the trees is at a lower angle....because the earth is curved and my northern latitude is tipping away from the direct rays. Working on them, I also considered the depth of shadows in the background and between and under trees. The sparkle of summer flowers and green grass is gone when shade takes over.

plein air

Red and Blue by Bonds Lake 9x12 pastel
Willow by Little Beaver Island 9x12 pastel