Wind. Rain. Just really cold. Welcome to painting in the great Alberta outdoors! Still, it must be done. This is really good for bulking up one’s artistic know how. The thrill of painting in the elements is unmatched by any studio experience. The paint and paper and water doing uncharacteristic things builds patience, technical skill, and the acceptance of mistakes… sigh. The practice is what makes it perfect. This is our first plein air expedition of 2019.
Painting at a local pond along the highway and railway tracks, there isn’t much to choose from as far as subject matter goes. The train was colourful and horizontal. Judy managed to fit the historic NAR building in as well. Actually, just now there is quite a dirt pile around the building, which is still under construction, so we have both made the dirt browns a little nicer than they are. Both Carolyn’s and Judy’s sketches are done in pen, then painted with Cass watercolourcolours.
It always helps to have a critic. Once the camera started coming out Pip took off for a walk around the pond. Spying a muskrat, he jumped in the water up to his belly and enjoyed himself very much.
Here is the old railway fence that runs along the highway into Spirit River. It has been there forever, getting more decrepit and more scenic every day. Usually there is an amazing sky above the open field above.
One winter morning an orange hue was cast over the whole view. It was particularly striking in combination with the boxcars lined up just outside town. The colours and perspective held great promise for a painting. A few years later, here’s the result, almost finished.
This is a little painting I did with one intent: simplicity. To be sure I had to stick to that, I painted the fence posts, the darkest values, first. Then everything else had to be painted to enhance the posts. I think it was easier to adjust values and keep everything loose and stark in the larger areas with those posts to bounce everything off, except that there was only once chance to get everything right! There isn’t much in the background – unlike my usual “style”, there is more design here than realism.