Sunday, April 5, 2009

Workshop week begins!

I’m taking a plein air workshop starting Wednesday with my wonderful artist friend Joyce (see her blog.) I’ll post about artist/teacher Larry Moore later in the week, but today was practice time. Larry was kind enough to lend us some gear since neither one of us has painted outdoors much. To get used to it and figure out what to take, I did some painting today. This photo was taken yesterday during the Winter Park Garden Tour. (It’s always fun to wonder through people’s yards looking at stuff!) Anyway, I loved how the bicycle was silhouetted in the background behind the geraniums.
Cropping it and using Levels in Photoshop for more contrast results in the image below. You can see a table and chair cluttering it up that I plan to leave out.Below, the values are blocked in with purplish paint. One of the other main reasons to practice today was to help decide which paints to use. The workshop is officially for oil painting, but I’m going to take Golden OPEN acrylics if they’re good to work with. They dry much slower than regular acrylics which allows plenty of time for blending on the canvas. Plus you don’t have paint drying into hard little buttons after five minutes on the palette.
Below is a close-up of the background painted in. The idea during this workshop is to stay loose and not try to do finished artwork necessarily. As you can see, I didn’t attempt to create the lattice or plant shadows on the wall and instead made them into more solid shapes to keep it simple. Maybe next time.
The final image is below, or at least that’s what I got accomplished today. I might play with it some more, who knows? It’s not too bad considering how little I’ve painted lately. I love, love, love these paints and have zero complaints about them at this point. I’ll still probably take some oils and watercolors just for the heck of it. We’ll have three solid days of painting so there’ll be plenty of time to experiment. It’s pretty pathetic to paint inside using an outdoor set-up, but one step at a time, right? Besides, how else could I use my computer to display the photo reference? I’m so green at plein air I can’t remember the type of gear this is...might be a pochade box. Anyway, it detaches from the tripod and folds up into a neat little box, and the wet paintings can be carried in grooves on one side. Very nifty. Joyce has another brand, so we’ll see how that one works. This one, the Easy L, has worked fine today, but we’ll see what happens out in the field.
I am SO looking forward to this workshop. It’s supposed to cool down into the 60s during the day and it probably won’t rain this time of year... should be perfect!

Update Monday morning: naturally after looking at the painting again there were a few things I couldn’t leave as is. I added the threshold, tweaked the French doors, fixed the wall/floor boundary, added the plant shadow on the front of the pot, tried to relax the overly stiff plant and toned down the bright yellow green. I’m really finished this time... hopefully.


joyceshelton said...

Well, look at you miss smarty pants! I did good to just gather the gear and put it all in a bag yesterday! I'm really starting out "green"!! This looks wonderful... we're going to have so much fun!!!!!!!!!

John Nez said...

That sounds fun. I bought some 'Interactive' acrylics, which also seem to take a bit longer to dry. But I think that painting with acylics is it's own special sort of aesthetic, where the quick-drying can work to an advantage.

But the best thing about painting just for painting's sake, I think, is that the art doesn't have to fit into any narrative storyline. Just painting for fun...


Loreen Leedy said...

Re drying speed... while tweaking the painting this morning, I could still use most of the paint on the palette, as long as it was more of a blob rather than spread out. That's very slow-drying for acrylics!

I was thinking of taking some regular acrylics along for the first layer since they do dry so fast. You can even mix them to change the drying time.

Yes, doing an image all by itself without having to do a bunch more (for book illustrations) is heaven, isn't it? Thanks for commenting!

Stephen Aitken said...

Atta go Loreen. These acrylics look like fun...I would like the extra time as I usually find they dry much too fast for me.
The tweaker

Sherry Rogers said...

Hey that is down right cool how you use your monitor for displaying the photo. Wonderful, wonderful painting. I have always wanted to paint a painting with a bicycle in it. I would buy this and display it proudly in my own home.

Wish I could be there to take the workshop too! I could use some outdoor painting time.