Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Back outdoors!

Have a little green anyone?
I got out painting with the gang again. We have had so much snow, and rain here in Utah that our rivers and reservoirs are gushing over onto the banks. This week will probably be the worst flooding as temps are going to stay high all week. I feel a little guilty embracing this wonderful and much anticipated warm weather, but it sure feels good for a change! And my garden is LOVING it! It's been so cold my cucumbers couldn't even grow and today I think they have grown two inches. Back on focus.....
We went to a favorite little place of mine called Jefferson Hunt in Ogden Valley. It's a place that my family used to go to annually on Memorial Day to camp. This year the entire campground is under water, but my little spot is still fine to paint. This big round billowy tree has been the subject of many paintings for me. But what about the greens? And what about the close values all over? How to strategically make this work? First I simplify as much information as possible and figure out what stays and what goes. Why am I drawn to this shape over and over and what emotional ties do I have to this composition? This analysis will help me with shape placement. Next comes a value pattern block in. Will this be high contrast or low contrast - will dominance of color or values be more effective? Will it be subtle color changes or more saturated and daring color? So many decisions to make in the beginning! After that, it's fly by the seat of my pants and jump right in. At least a half a dozen times in the process, I am sure that the piece will completely fail and I'll pack up and go home. Be damned, it won't get the best of me....! I finally settle in and quit thinking and start listening. This is my favorite part, when I can finally just be in the moment with my painting and let things start to happen. Later in the day, I will look at it with fresh eyes and critique it a little more constructively, but I try to remind myself of the emotional freshness of something painted on the spot. That is the spirit of plein air, the freshness of decisions, the impression of the moment and the landscape around me - reworking too much will take away from all of that. Maybe just a touch here and a touch there and let the piece speak for itself. Ahhh, all in a days work - what a great job I have!

1 comment:

  1. I remember this spot! Glad your out and about painting, I need to get busy myself. Love how you talk about what is going on in that head of yours when you paint. I had a frustrating day yesterday where I wanted to throw in the towel and do away with all my stuff, nice to hear its a common feeling still. Hope you are doing good, I miss you! :)