Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Strange Summer...

This has been an allusive summer for me due to unforeseen events, so my apologies to those faithful followers who are probably wondering if I fell off the face of the earth.

I did manage however, earlier this summer, to paint the plein air picture below.  I  had decided to just strike out on my own and really get into painting, as I love doing this. 

Sometimes when I strike out on a venture,  I tell myself, Okay, no just riding around in circles.  Today, I'll make myself find a spot and paint!!  The fear of utter disgust with myself if I don't live up to this commitment fuels my determination to, like Nike says, 'just do it'.   I found this spot, overlooking quiet pastures with the Ozark hills as a backdrop, one of my favorite scenes to paint.  The short gated drives along roads and highways that farmers use to access their pastures offer a perfect set-up spot, which is what I used for this scene.  Just pulled my car onto the little turn-in, unloaded my gear in front of the gate and began painting.  This way,  I'm not down an isolated road, passers-by can clearly see me, yet my car is completely off the road or highway.   Knowing people are passing by and can see me gives me a sense of security, and because I feel safer, I can concentrate on the task at hand, which is painting of course.

Ozark Hills, near Westfork

I still need to add some of the purple darks to the right foreground and try to 'break up' the strong horizontal darks of the tree line shadows across the middle plane of the painting.   This was a quick study, evident in the brushwork, and my goal is still to get values as near correct as possible without getting caught up in the subject matter, and to capture the mood at that moment in time.  I'm also still struggling with getting my pigments the right strength.  It seems I either pick up too much pigment or not enough, but I think that will come with time and painting.  I've tried both methods of: using dried water colors vs. squeezing fresh pigment.  When using dried watercolors in my palette, even if I keep my wells sprayed with a mister, it just takes too long for me (like waiting on a microwave!) to pick up my pigments when painting outdoors. Squeezing fresh watercolor on top of previously dried pigment works best for me.  Whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Oh, regarding a recent post, I did break down and purchase the Holbein 1000 palette from Art Express and I love it.  I probably would have been satisfied purchasing the next size down, because the 1000 seems a bit much for plein air painting, but this one works fine.  I use the thumb hole when painting on site, which is why I wanted the Holbein, to hold the paints closer to me and my painting surface and even though it's a bit large, it doesn't feel cumbersome, and has plenty of wells/spaces for paint mixing.

Well, I hope I get back to painting soon, and I hope you're painting too.  Remember,  just do it...