Sunday, August 8, 2010

After a Day Out

A number of people have asked me if I always finish a painting in one session en plain air - or outside as some like to say.  The goal is yes, the practice is no.  Here is an image painted yesterday on a pleasant week day at Scotsdale Farm.

Farm in Process, 10x12, Oil on Board

After finding a place that would keep me in the shade, I zeroed in on this image.  As mentioned the goal is to finish in one sitting.  This keeps the real reference material on hand and the painting ends up with a fresh spontaneous look.  Sometimes it happens, sometimes not.  The last 5 or 6 times out resulted in half baked work.  On this particular day we had dogs, hikers, groups, and photographers all enjoying the break from the heat and humidity and in a mood to talk and joke.  Here is the result of three hours on site.  However, I do have the basic elements in place, and colour notes.  Along with a thumbnail and my memory from painting many like scenes I can finish in the studio.

You can see how this painting proceeded.  It started with a transparent Viridian and Red Oxide wash to kill the white canvas and establish some colour unity.  It is also the complement to colours to come - provides vibration.  Then the position of the subject was established and a few of the supporting masses, values, and colours indicated.  Then the attention was paid to the main actor.  More work will be done there in the studio - value, colour variation and intensity, edges.  The rest of the painting will be treated as subordinate with less intensity and soft edges.  Each brush stroke must be either in the light or in the shadow.  When I get a break from preparing for my solo show I will show the finished painting and go through the studio finishing process.

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