Friday, April 9, 2010

Time Spent Painting Outdoors

I paint with a plein air painting class every Wednesday.  We go to various locations around our area, chosen by the instructor.  Everyone is working on something a little different, including the one artist who works totally abstractly, but loves being outdoors to paint with other people.  It has been a wonderful experience, over the three years I have been doing it.  I have made great gains, and as any artist knows, that never stops.  You never seem to get to the "end" of learning, there is always something new to learn, new to try, new to change.  That is the wonderful things about painting.

The other wonderful thing about painting is that the actual painting itself can teach you, and tell you so much about what you are doing right, and wrong,  or at least not as well as you would like to be doing.  

To the left is the set-up I use when wanting to work on several small works at one time.  It works very well when I am outdoors, as it gives me small enough space to finish one or more in the day, and have more panels to work on as the light changes.  They are watercolor paper with gesso, then sometimes toned a different color.  The whole thing is cardboard that has been spray painted and sealed.

The whole thing fits together with another cardboard piece which has a spacer.  The paintings can't rub, and the whole thing is held together with velcro, and has a handle.  Very light weight.  You can see it on the right, on my easel.

This time out painting taught me, or should I say, got through to me, the use of simplifying shapes, in order to say more.  The little barn, which is across the river from where I am set up, is ok, but lacks the punch that I like.  The others that are still in the blocked-in stage, should have more punch.  The abstract one on the right is just going to stay that way as a reminder to simplify and how colors can sing when they are next to each other.  A good day.  I knew it was a good day when I realized it had already gotten to be past the time to quit, and I was still going.

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