The adventures of an artist on his journey to getting to the bottom of painting. The trip goes from learning to paint to painting to learn - an open ended endeavour. Most paintings are done either plein air or from plein air in the studio. The medium is predominately oil paint. The predominant genre is the landscape and townscape.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Hot Times Ahead
I posted this on the OPAS site some time ago. That site is being closed down so I thought I should share it here. Comments are welcome.
On Tuesday I decided to paint early on the Bruce Trail. The jacket I decided to wear at the last minute was welcome. It was 5℃, sunny with a breeze. On the way to the site my mind wandered when I realized there would be interesting patterns of light and shadow. Inside the car it was quite hot. Then I got out standing in the sunlight. Warm until I stepped into the cover of the woods. That refrigerator effect will be welcome in the months ahead.
I rarely sit to paint, but I decided to take on that perspective. Much cooler sitting, walking back to get a better look at least stirs the blood. Maybe I should do more sitting in July. We have been defeated more often in the heat than in the dead of Winter. My short walk raised my body temperature just enough to get started without feeling the cold. I was in complete shade, a good practice for the heat. That also keeps the glare out of your eyes and off your palette. Shadow motion in the lit forest floor areas caught my eye. Looking up I saw them. Turkey Buzzards circling over me trying to determine if I was alive.
After I had my start in place and entered the zone I came back to reality with a steady stream of solids falling into the wet paint. Then the sound came through. A wood pecker was working on a dead limb overhead. Sure gave body to the paint. Combustible at that. On the side of the road in summer, gravel is the culprit. I did not want to move, neither did she/he. So we had a stand off. I reached for the only food I had - a cold apple. Biting into it I realized I was cold and so were my hands. Inappropriate for the cold. I got up and took a quick walk, hands in pockets. Didn't want the patterns to move too much. At that time of day had only an hour or so.
Six Gliders Circling, 12x12, Oil on Canvas
After this experience in the transition period (going to 26 today) I began a check list for outfitting myself for the coming season.
Peaked hat (standard for me - keeps the sun off my face) one without a top is great - for me
Sun protection clothing
No sun glasses - want to see full colour
Sun screen (standard Winter and Summer)
Set up in the shade
Work in the woods or from the edge of the woods looking out - or work in the water
Sturdy foot ware - especially important when venturing into un-manicured surroundings The standard pack of easel, paint, boards and canvas, garbage bag
From this you might think I am preoccupied with the heat. You would be right.
So why do we do this to ourselves in all seasons? Here is a short list.
Can be a social gathering after going solo in the studio
Sharpen the eye after studio painting
Train your eye to see what is really there Do rapid smalls with chunking concepts for training Test materials, brushes, paints, mediums Practice composition sketching Learn to "see" edges and ways to duplicate them Learn to squint for value and put that down in colour
Increase stimulation with a new motif and place
Learn from others
Enjoy and understand nature (Trilliums coming out, umbrella plant, Jack in the Pulpit, bamboo grass....)
Avoid cutting the grass Exercise (then you are too tired to cut the grass)