Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Process at Plein Air Workshop, Start to Finish

Just to give you an idea of how I work in a Plein Air situation . . . I've show a sampling of the two pieces from the recent Plein Air Workshop at Lithia Springs Resort in Ashland.

The first image I chose was of this ivory gazebo. I am constantly attracted to high contrast . . . so you can see the dark background furnishing that perfect subject for me. I wanted to portray the gazebo in the focal area so it was going to catch sunshine and I moved a red rosebush (sorry gardeners, it's an artists privilege) over to the right corner of the steps. I'm thinking, "compliments against the green foliage" and use my wax crayons to sketch them into place. You also can see some of the white wax crayon indications on the edges of the aspen trees where they catch high lights and some dark purple wax crayon in the deep shadows at the base of the gazebo. These serve as great reminders of my original value study (which you can see the corner of in the top left)! The Aureolin Yellow includes my foreground area and bright yellow areas that I want to glow through other pigments that I will layer with. I've also added an imagined shadow in the foreground to lead you into the painting and create dark/light/dark progressions from bottom to top.

As I work on the piece, I add variation in shape and add dark value pigment colors in the shadows. I fill in details of the flowers and sharpen the architectural edges in the building. One of the final things I do is bounce around the entire painting adding color accents to help balance all the color over the entire piece. I mean, there really is no reason why there is red sprinkled in that aspen tree in the foreground . . . other than I like it there. Again, isn't it fun having the artists' prerogative?

Don't worry, I did not finish this on site the first day. I got to the initial stage above (working, perhaps 30 minutes after I had the drawing done) and then, took the piece home to spend about 3 - 3 1/2 more hours on it. Finally feeling it was complete.


The following day, my vision was of this more complex pond/bridge scene. I'd planned for sun to play lots of different darks and lights for me - - but, remember, it was a cloudy day. So I set to accent the color rather than the value. You notice in both 'starts', I tend to get basic planes determined with yellow, then blue (of course, saving exaggerated whites) and then, move into exaggerating the darks. I have to say, that is what starts getting me excited (remember, I'm a contrast junkie!). And I usually just start bounding around adding bold colors. But in the case of the a demo, I stop to work with the other participants and really don't get much farther. I just have to get back into that 'zone' of reacting back and forth between the painting and my palette and the magic takes over again.


But you can see, I've not ventured there - yet - with my second day's painting. I believe I will take it in to the Ashland Studio for our upcoming Ashland First Friday Artwalk, September 3rd, and work it there, right before your very eyes. So, come watch if you like. Otherwise, I'll post it here, once she's done.


And now, go out and give the out-of-doors a visit for your plein air experience. Remember, it can be just as much about being in the beauty and marvel of nature as it is about creating a painting. Enjoy the experience . . .

1 comment:

Oma3 said...

This was such fun to see your "process". I like the idea of the wax crayons.... I do use white but have not considered the other colors....e