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.
‘Tis the season to pack up the knapsack and roam without a care, painting with ease all day while roaming the friendly outdoors, returning at end of day with charming sketches and, indeed, spontaneous masterpieces…
Reality check. Ants. Wind drying up your wash. Sunlight glare. Mosquitoes. Falling debris. Sitting on rocks. Sunburn, stiffness, moving light source, spiders, curious onlookers.
“Outdoor painting is &%#@! hard!”
What a pleasure to hear someone else voice one’s frustration 🙂
Outdoor painting is not indoor painting.
After a couple of hours of annoying myself with a rose bush (I don’t paint flowers well at the best of times; why would I choose such a subject for outdoor painting?!), sketching with some wild, heavy lines was a restorative action. Here’s my 30 second sketch of Pippie, who knows looking for gophers is a far better way to spend some time outside.
I sat down to paint and was just getting into it when the Yorkie wanted to sit behind me. It took some arranging to pack a folding chair with pillows and blankets so he wouldn’t fall through, but finally we got settled (semi-comfortably). I finished my painting all too quickly and realized I had either to disturb the Yorkie (not really an option) or find something to paint right where I was sitting. Hence the paint brushes. Here are my three Princetons and the 1″ Escoda flat.
I like to greyscale my paintings to see if I have the values right. Looks good. I find the most difficult thing about painting brushes is the symmetry of the handle. It is really difficult to get the swelling and tapering the same on each side!