Friday, January 30, 2015

"Red Barn" oil 8x10

How I start a Plein Air painting

When you arrive at the paint-out you are faced with a wide shot. Although we live in a 360-degree world, our intake is roughly 45-degrees, the average TV camera sees only 7-degrees of this world. Mentally you start choosing your own angle of visual acceptance:

You choose your own degree of "narrowness" according to your experience and taste.




a camera

nor a reporter of fact - no, you adjust your rendering of the scene so that it has a center of interest and some color surprise. You rule.

Start with a large brush, paint the main shapes of the scene - in this case simply paint the sky, the trees and the water. You're almost done in a matter of a few minutes this way. Change to smaller brushes, add the farm buildings and the yellow trees, include some water other words, add TEXTURE to the large shapes.

Narrow your scene with your eyes (just zoom in mentally)

Now paint what works, change color if you like, delete clutter (water reeds), make that grey barn "saleable red," add a window, a doorway. That's YOUR center of interest.

This 8x10 took about an hour to paint. It's not what you paint, it's HOW you paint. The HOW leads to your own unique STYLE. Your brush work and color choices determine how tasteful and experienced you are as an artist. The HOW is what you should aim for. The WHY, the WHEN, and the WHERE are subordinate to your HOW.

That's how I do plein air, yet it's like golf or tennis - occasionally you play well but you CAN have an off day. Donna worree, then come back another day. Every new start teaches the artist something. Its the only game in town.

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