Thursday, May 9, 2013

Peinture en Plein Air


Olive Stand, charcoal, 18 x 24"

--for the very first time this year. Actually, I was really investigating how my watercolor easel would do outdoors.
Poplar Stand, charcoal
Painted in 1986, plein air in my last backyard.

Not being made out of wood, as the plein air easel, it is impervious to weather and can probably remain conveniently outdoors through out the summer?  It's also collapsible, has a carrying case, is light weight,  sets up in minutes, easily adjustable, holds cavanses up to 36" high and wide and can be positioned horizontal to the ground for wet into wet  painting--acrylic or watercolor. I chose charcoal for my first outdoor excursion for its facility. My tabour was my side table on the patio.

 I had a wonderful time in the sun and made a note to slather sunscreen straight out of the shower in the future.  My yard is so full of  intriguing vistas, it should satisfy my first season painting outdoors--unless I get an urge to travel down to the lake, then the plein air easel will make the trip.

DISCOVERY:  indoors or outdoor, I cannot sit while painting. I am always on the move back and forth scruitinizing.  Consequently, two hour sessions seem to be my limit. Any time longer and I'm icing my legs all evening. Oh to be forty five again when Poplar Stand was painted with more stamina and more finesse.

21 comments:

  1. Veerryy nice. I never thought to paint trees in charcoal, weel to be fair I never think to paint trees at all, but I'm sure I wouldn't choose charcoal. So I am very pleasantly surprised at what you have done, they are both intriguing studies. I do, however relate to limited standing time!

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    1. Isn't it a bitch!

      If you paint outdoors from 'life', what do you paint? Trees, fields with trees, fields with trees and maybe a house with a fence--maybe a lake or a pond with trees? Not much else is going on on my block. The garden will be blooming shortly--maybe flowers? It was nice being out in the sun though--but I also shot a photo of what I was painting for I was getting a sunburn and figured I'd have to get the finer points in the studio. Today, I put on sunscreen.

      I like charcoal for trees. I like the rhythm of black, grays and white--adds mystery and character. Plus: Why kill yourself mixing all those impossible and never quite right greens and making a boring painting?

      The Poplar Stand took many sketches over many days before that one happened. The Olive Stand took a couple of hours, some of which was set up time. I'll give those trees a few more passes. What struck me was how very fast the light changes. I didn't let that hold me back though. Instead, it liberated me to do what I wanted with regards to light and dark areas. Faster than a speeding bullet, I am not. That's Wonder Woman:-)))

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  2. In this drawing, I see exactly what you meant when you commented on my blog that you approach drawing by discovering the shadows and highlights first and then adding the linear aspects thickly and boldly! I wish I could force myself to have this approach in my figure drawing! Its full of LIFE!

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    1. I've noticed that drawing/painting has a lot to do with weighing the percentages of darks, of lights and the in between mediums which make up the composition. After that, line comes in to define form where needed. I've never been able to think line first.

      This drawing is okay. One of a few to follow over the summer till "olive stand" really says "olive stand." The Poplar was drawn in summer, fully dressed.

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    2. PS: Laying inthe form before lines is the gist of gestural painting. The only way for me to fly. Contour used to drive me nuts.

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  3. I actually burst out laughing when I read - why kill yourself mixing all those impossible and never quite right greens etc. Funny, really funny. I can imagine any die-hard plein air painter spluttering over it.
    I have not liked too much green since I moved to the glorious desert, so I am with you on that one.
    You are masterful with charcoal and I love the results.

    PS. I always stand to paint and I know
    two hours is more than long enough. The light has changed so much by then.
    I am in awe of your new paintings hung on the walls in a spectacular setting.

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    1. In some painting class some years ago, some instructor instructed we do an all green painting. What I learned from that experience was I don't want to. Then I got it. I realized you can't. An effective green painting is a number of green leaning colors punched up. The same goes for all any one color paintings too, of course, (Lady in White comes to mind). I always thought perhaps we don't really need a green in our paint boxes; We should always mix it from the primaries. Yellows and black can do a very fine range. Glad I gave you a laugh.

      I am so glad I'm not the only one who might be looking at their watch come hour three of an art class. All that time standing on cement is can be crippling.

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  4. Het is je mooi gelukt toch ik heb nog nooit met houtskool gewerkt trekt mij niet zo maar ik vind het van jou prachtig lieve groetjes Danielle

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    1. Thanks Danielle. You should give charcoal a try. It really is great for getting into the swing--like warming up before a run or biking.

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  5. I cannot comment on the stamina, but the finesse is still there for sure. I like the newer, Olive Stand, version better. I'm not an artist, but it seems like other talented artists might be able to brush something similar to Poplar Stand. Only you could paint the new one.

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    1. You mean maybe my work is gaining some degree of stylistic recognition? Wouldn't that be lovely at long last?

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  6. Dear Linda is very difficult also for me to paint sitting down,it seems that sit
    blocks the gesture of my hands, which is not easy to achieve watercolors ... sometimes I can be on the arm of the chair (neither sitting nor standing, very uncomfortable, but it is an efficient way to my hands ). When I paint in watercolor very often, then I also tend to be ambidextrous .... with a brush so I wet paper and with the other I put down the color ... All this could not happen to be sitting!
       I like your works, that reflect the nature that we've shown in your photos, and contain
      values ​​and shapes of a lot of en-plein-air Roth-art.

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    1. Tree forms fascinate me. They dominate plein air painting around my wooded area.

      I'm ambidextrous too when I paint. Only then--well only when doing creative things. I use both hands when cooking too. I stand doing both activities. It does allow the arms greater freedom. In painting though, my whole body gets behind a stroke--hand, ATM, shoulder, back and stance. Painting is not a quiet pastime.

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  7. You handle charcoal better than anyone I know. Lucky you having the weather to paint outside now.

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    1. That was last week. This weekend, there was snow mixed in the rain--but, of course, Sunday was Mother's Day. So it goes. That is the nicest compliment Ann. Thank you. I have had charcoal in my hand forever. I love it's immediacy. You really can capture your initial response to a subject quickly with it and without having to pause to think what colors am I seeing?

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  8. Wow! Do I love this...or...do I love this.

    I have an office chair I use for painting that squeaks so loud, that people keep pulling their hair out in rage if they are in my vicinity for long. So I stand most of the time. When I do pen & ink, I stand ALL the time,

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    1. I have one two, but rarely use it for painting, (sitting is conducive to poor posture and not enough rolling back to observe as often as is necessary. I have a stool too, but end up using that as a side table for my palette. Upright a d forever in motion is the stance. Where I used to have the stamina for 3 hours or longer, two is a great painting session. While then shorter sessions prolong the finish, they also promote a keener eye with regards to oversights. Good news, bad news who can tell.

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  9. I always stand when I paint too....... Both these charcoals are really terrific, it's such a nice medium

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    1. It really is. With just light to work with, the whole painting process is greatly simplified. Add color, and the decisions become complicated. It's a great medium for preliminary studies.

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  10. I prefer to stand too. :) And I don't think Poplar stand has more finesse, perhaps more delicacy, but the new piece shows confidence and boldness. Which I love.

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    1. I think you're right. It's looser and energetic, whereas Poplar is a bit more static. Thanks Crystal.

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