Saturday, August 05, 2006

"Conservatory Garden" 16"x12" oil on panel

On a previous paint out with a small group of Plein Air painters, we were approached by a representative of a new retirement home, with an invitation to paint in their garden. Of course, we graciously accepted.
There were five painters stationed at various points throughout the garden, working in watercolour or oils. Our greatest "enemy" was the intense heat that we all have had to endure in the last past two weeks. The sun had us scrambling for shade soon after starting. I think that plein air artists who paint on a regular bases, are ready to expect the unexpected. In spite of the heat, many had completed works by the end of the session.

In this particular painting, I started with the large brush and added "soupy" colours ( lots of medium) to establish the "big shapes" on the panel, all the while "squinting" at the subject. ( squinting at the subject tends to leave the darkest and lightest values to be seen, eliminating the middle values, thus helping you to recognize the "big shapes" without the detales. ) At this point, I let the "washes" settle in or dry a little, at least to the eye. This was a good time to have a water break in the shade and to plan my next move.

Still with the larger brush, I continued to break down the larger areas , that I had previously washed in, to establish the lesser shapes within the "big shapes". (still squintng) Now that I had these masses sorted out the fun stuff could begin. From here, to the finish, it was a matter of creating the impression of the detales (flowers, leaves, highlights and putting in a few flurrishes here and there, with the smaller brush.( hmmm, still fighting the small brush) Lastly, I adjusted a few values that I felt would help to give the impression of more depth between my foreground, middleground and background, added a few more highlights in the foreground. And, there you have it....finished.

Oh, I forgot to mention, we also recieved lunch. Never knew an artist to ever turn down a free lunch.

'til next time...

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