Thursday, May 3, 2012

Getting There in Plein Air

I try to paint from life as much as possible.  You learn to see so much more.  This practice does tend to limit your time in painting mode.  So I have developed some strategies to help out in direct painting.

Once I have visualized the finished painting and done some composition work on a thumbnail, I begin my painting with thin transparent pigment.

Wash Toning the Canvas

Here I chose Viridian Green and Transparent Red Oxide.  I chose these pigments because they are transparent, they make a nice grey, and they are close to the dominant colours in the scene.  I used a large brush (#12 flat hogs bristle for my outdoor kit but bigger in the studio) with lots of mineral spirits to quickly cover the canvas, get rid of the white, and provide an assist in colour harmony.  After this wash I wipe the brush and do not use mineral spirits again.  The transparent paint is easily moved around.

The I add more pigment placing the darks close to where I want them in the composition.  If I want to change the location as I compose, it is easy to do at this stage.

Add More Pigment

Using the same brush I added more pigment, but it is still thin and transparent.  I keep this up locating the drawing and tuning the composition.

Other Transparent Pigments

Here I have added a bit of Alizarin and Ultramarine Blue, both transparent.  Still easy to move things, so I can make corrections with ease.  If I had added white, I would be locking down the composition.  Correcting that is more time consuming.  And it was a good thing.....

Deet to the Rescue

Those little black floies began to tear me apart so I had to proceed in a cloud of DEET.  With the painting more closely located I added more paint beginning to locate some elements with a bit of white based grey.

Lock Down

Seeing to map now I began to fill in the shapes starting with thin darks and working to the lights on the planes where the sky provided differentiation.  More opaque paint now and colours I see in places but less grey.  Progress is fast now.  At some point I introduced another brush, a #6 flat.

Escape Velocity

Enough to let me continue in the studio free of the elements.

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