Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blown Down Plein Air

It happened for the first time today.  At least with the French easel.  A warm front was blowing in.  I was aware of it as I set up on the first bridge in Glen Williams.  Set a larger canvas up - first no no.  Set the canvas up high for a good sight line and minimal transfer distance - second no no.  Put my back to the wind - good protection.  Got into the painting, then, I stood way back to get an overview - third no no.  Blown down she went.  Emptied everything out and pushed a brush over the edge of the bridge along with my palette knife.  Retrieved the brush.  By-by palette knife.  It's just as well, I found that palette knife, so full circle.  Paint all over me, my sketch book, my easel, my back pack.  Should transfer well to the car and the couch.

Here is the evidence.

Thumbnail for Blown Down

I had just squeezed out a lot of paint.  Quite a bit of it is sealing the old sketch book.  Here is what I was looking at before the event.

Overcast Reference

The design shown in the thumbnail - OK it is hard to see - came early on before the sun broke through.  Once I got painting I was able to key values and colour to the sunshine before me.  But I was shaken by the blow down so I quit at this stage.  I had enough to finish in the studio.  Here is what it looked like in the studio.  A lot of work to do.

Blown Down stage 1

Today I started with an oil primed canvas that was prepared with a coloured ground.  This is quite in your face.  Usually I start with a greyed hue like Ultramarine and Transparent Red Oxide, and most of the time I wash this on wet, then proceed in the wet.  So today was an experiment with Brown Pink used as a dry coloured ground.  I knew I would be OK when I got the canvas covered in the startup phase.  I didn't get that far en plein air today.  But I did in the studio.

Blown Down stage 2

Now we can do some significant painting.  It might be interesting to compare this with the reference to see what has been altered.


  1. It's always something! At least it wasn't you backing up too much and falling off the bridge!

  2. i couldn't help laughing.
    It would have happened to me if I was there.
    Love the painting though.

  3. Hi Pam,
    I even managed to avoid backing on to the road!

  4. Randi,
    I was thinking of you during the episode. Could have used "put together a French Easel" lessons. Even the puzzle drawer came out and emptied all the contents all over. Some of the paint gobs were an inch thick. Beauty.