Monday, June 29, 2009

A quick note to say that I finally was able to adjust the strap on my 'Packer' by Guerilla. It took a good wrestling with it though before I could force it through the adjustment loop but I managed, so thought I'd put in that word since I complained about it when first purchased.

I've been so busy working in my yard the past couple of weeks that I've not spent much time painting. I did however, paint the 2 paintings below en plein air early one morning of the hollow:

Study 1: Sunrise in the Hollow

Study 2: Sunrise in the Hollow

I was pleased with these two paintings for several reasons:
  • I have really been striving to be consciously aware, while painting, of what Joseph Zbukvic refers to as 'visual language', otherwise I get too caught up in 'technicalities' and lose focus of what it is that I'm trying to capture in the first place which is mainly the mood of the scene. I feel I succeeded in capturing the mood of the hollow as I viewed it that morning. And this was accomplished I think, because I was able to capture the atmosphere as I explain below.
  • I was able to paint them without the struggles that I usually have when plein air painting and I think it shows that I enjoyed the process.
  • I was able to make use my new tripod easel without frustration. Just my second time to use it but I'm getting familiar with it.
  • This is HUGE for me: I think I was able to capture the atmosphere of the woods (thus creating the mood) which is so hard for me when working in a woodland setting. I've been struggling with this goal [of atmosphere in] painting a woodland 'landscape' of the hollow for a long time, several years off and on, not just of a single tree, or small group of plants, but a true landscape scene. This can be daunting, because in the deep woods there's not the obvious common backdrops to use as reference for atmospheric perspective. No distant hills, mountains, fields, etc. All I have to work with are layers of the same objects - not too distant foliage and trees with sometimes a touch of sky. So I have to rely on color choice - cool vs. warm, soft and hard edges, texture, and all the other 'tricks' of artistic license to create depth all while trying to be decisive about each brush stroke as I near the end - watercolor doesn't wait. That's what I love about the medium. It forces me to think on the fly, make a judicial move - just do it!
I only had to make one little correction (of course you may think I need more) and that was with the first study. After I got it in the studio and stuck it on the wall as I always do to catch any mistakes, right off the bat I noticed I had slapped a very dark limb smack in the middle of the painting. I pulled it out carefully with a barely dampened brush, dabbing with tissue after each stroke, and replaced it with the more of the 'blue' that was just beneath it to add more of that initial [blue] color placement.

The first painting has a 'softer' look to it that the second. That's because the paper was not as rough as the paper used in the second study. It creates a different mood than the second; however, I like doing plein air paintings on a rougher paper because you can get that 'sparkle' as your brush skims across it, imitating sunlight.

The best thing about these plein air paintings was that I did it from the comfort of my back yard, no worries about copperheads, deer ticks, mosquitoes, or chiggers. It was wonderful! I plan on doing many more this summer from various spots in the yard. Overall, I'm pleased with the results of these paintings mainly because my goals were accomplished, but to each his own. I'm never completely satisfied with my paintings, or any art that I do. I can always find something that could have been executed better. Comments or questions are welcomed. Until next time, happy painting, potting, gardening, or whatever...


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