Thursday, July 15, 2010

Home Again

After weeks on the road, in hurry up painting mode, it has been a welcome relief to be home.

On the first plein air painting session we hit a relatively cool morning with a pleasant breeze.  The set up was in the shade and stayed that way.  The subject matter was not particularly inspiring after the mountains and other spaces explored on the road trip.  I heard Gary Spearin's voice "It's your job to make a painting of it".  Good advice for my Road Trip Series, especially for the big sky of the prairies.

For this painting there were but 3 basic shapes.  The dominant colour was green.  I decided to start with a cool transparent red wash.  That would set off the green dominance and provide a bit of warmth in the sky if I applied the blueish sky in a translucent manner - let some of the wash show through.  The foreground was the diagonal of the upside of a roadside ditch covered in grass and weeds.  It was to be subordinated (careful with the edges).  The tree patterns were underpainted in Alizarin and mineral violet in a loose fashion to indicate tree trunks and branches.  Viridian was added (greys the alizarin darkening at the same time) in places for depth and variety.  Then dark greens were applied around the indicated trunks and branches.  The green was warmed and lightened as I moved away from the darks in layers.  The lone fence post was indicated in shadow and light.  The lone echoing birch was added in a dark grey and flushed out with a warm off white.  A few sky holes were added.

Mixed Company, 10 x12, Oil on Board

It is interesting to note that some people read red and green as the same colour.  This is how the eye works and is a good reason to scan your subject when painting.  You will see brighter colours that way as opposed to greyed down tones.

The painting was done with a number 12 and a number 8 bristle filbert with a few palette knife marks.

The palette was Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow Light (for greens and warm off whites), Viridian (greens and darks with Alizarin), Ultramarine Blue, Mineral Violet (greens and darks), and Titanium White.  The whole painting was done wet in wet.

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