Judy and Carolyn went painting outside! It was a lovely morning so we took the opportunity to gather a few supplies and set up in the wild lands of… the school grounds. But, as you can see, there is an exceptional view from the school. You may also notice that we didn’t exactly paint what we saw!
Painting in glaring sun makes it difficult to see contrasts, and on a cloudless day, there aren’t many shadows to help. Using isolated spots of bright colour and establishing a clear background, foreground, and mid ground can strengthen an outdoor landscape a lot. Judy exaggerated the aerial perspective and checkerboard pattern, and she zoomed herself half a kilometer closer to the foreground trees.
The pain of outdoor painting is that things change so fast: the light, the clouds, the shadows. The joy of it is that you still have the artists’ license to change what you see. Call it capturing a mood or impression, or call it being smart and using tried and true techniques that give results in any conditions; outdoor painting is not like indoor painting!
This painting is all about isolating the shapes. Painting outdoors, the sun dries paint and paper very quickly. You have to work on small spots, or mix a big puddle of one colour and fill in an area quickly. Finding strong shapes helps to make each element clear to the artist’s mind and the viewer’s eye (because nature is messy) and it’s also a way to avoid getting heavy masses of colour, especially greens. Simplicity equals serenity.
Below is another painting, done from a memory of the old railway snow fence as seen from the highway. It’s all in this view, just far away. Carolyn wanted to contrast the yellow canola with some purple – the low, dark cloud we’ve seen often this summer, just not on this particular day.
It was a successful couple of hours! Maybe we’ll be on to a new site on another morning.