Saturday, January 15, 2011

Plein Air Painting

I've painted outdoors approximately two times in my life a long, long time ago - once for a class I was taking at UNLV and once with a group of artists at an old ranch in North Las Vegas. Today I decided to try again. The weather was perfect - cool and sunny. We have a gorgeous cactus that bloomed about two months ago and still has flowers. It survived our recent 22 degree temperatures, not to mention the 5 summers that it has lived through. Desert plants are so hardy. This one is right next to our patio.

I moved outside and with the warm sun on my back, I began to paint. Here is what I have learned so far. (We have a three day weekend, so I'm going out again tomorrow and Monday.) When you're out walking or hiking, you don't notice this as much, but the sunlight changes rapidly! I'm out there getting all toasty warm in the sun, relaxing, enjoying looking at my subject, breathing the lovely fresh air, listening to the dogs running around the yard, listening to the birds, sketching and... the shadows have changed and then... the shadows are gone! Okay - tomorrow I will paint more quickly. In fact, I may break out my little moleskine sketchbook and try to do several little watercolor sketches.

Another thing I learned is that your paint dries much faster outdoors.

I have also learned to shade my paper with my head:)

I also learned that I want to buy a couple of new greens. (You're not reading this, are you, Jim?)

5 comments:

Irina said...

I was keen on outdoor sketching last summer. Great experience, I feel now that the drawing from photo is a child's game. So I wait for warm and long days to go on.
Please post the results.

Cobalt Violet said...

I have done a lot of the small moleskine little sketches but no much oil painting and it's been a couple of years as far as watercolors. Your right about the light! My next mission is plein air pastels. I will let you know how it goes! Good luck!

Pat said...

Light is transient for sure! I learned that too on a plein air break here. Also being UK to pick up and run at the first sign of rain!
I am so looking forward to seeing what you did - you'll post them all, I hope?

AutumnLeaves said...

But...but...but...where is the photo, Candy??? I was all excited to see your latest work!

Candy said...

Good morning!

Irina, I haven't yet mastered painting from a photo, so I can't say that it's child's play for me:) I do agree that sketching outdoors is great experience and I think it's really, really, really hard!:)

Lucinda, thanks for wishing me luck. I can't wait to see your plein air pastels. I loved your post from yesterday. Good news!


Pat, I had to chuckle about adding the prospect of rain to the list of things to contend with. Yep, I'll post everything. The first one isn't anything to brag about. We'll see how it goes today - working really small in my sketch book and going very quickly. Today's attitude will be playful - have fun and don't worry about turning out a masterpiece:)

Sherry, oooooh, the pressure! I will post photos. Gosh, I'm glad you're back!