Art, oil painting, Painting, Plein Air

North Plains plein air

I joined a local group of plein air painters last weekend for a day of painting at a local farm. It was a beautiful day and I found a shady spot to paint. Too shady it turned out. I should have known better but I set up in a spot that didn’t allow enough light on my canvas to see the colors I was mixing.

Shady setup

I moved into the sun later but still had trouble getting down what I was seeing.

I’ve always thought I have an intuitive approach to painting in that I can make a successful work but have difficulty saying why it works or explaining the decisions I made. Lately I’ve been thinking that this may be an impediment to painting alla prima because one doesn’t have the luxury of a lot of time to loll around looking and playing with a piece. It would certainly be an advantage to have a good understanding of the principles of painting to facilitate quicker decision making. Perhaps this can be learned by practice alone. I really don’t enjoy reading technical treatises on painting.

Here’s the painting I did plein air that day:

Garry Oaks plein air

oil on canvas 6″ x 8″

The next day I did another in the studio working from the earlier painting and a photo.

Garry Oaks Studio

oil on canvas 6″ x 8″

3 thoughts on “North Plains plein air”

  1. It’s so fun to see another new fellow traveler in the plein air world deal with all the challenges too (and quite beautifully I must add!). It’s always one thing or another out there–one day the sun on the palette and canvas means you can’t see your colors properly and the next, too much shade. I didn’t realize that shade could cause the same problem until my painting today. Plus I got so wrapped up in the painting that I didn’t notice that the trees I was painting were light against a dark background when I started but by the end were dark against a light background. I kept changing the painting and got some pretty good mud that I had to wipe off and start a whole section over. I really like both paintings, the original and the one inspired by it. You do a good job of not losing your darks so you have good strong contrasts.


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