Sunday, June 23, 2013


First let me apologize for being so absent from Blogger. It has come to pass that posting a painting on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest has become so much easier and the responses come back so much quicker that blogging has taken a back seat to the others. I recently posted a painting on Facebook and within a single day received 158 responses and comments. My typical post on Facebook gets 30 or more "Likes" and comments. I've never had that kind of response on Blogger.

So I apologize for being such a sap for that little "Like" button. I am recommitting to writing two blog posts a week, one on Sunday and one on Wednesday. Some of the posts will be about current events and workshops and others will be about techniques and tips for all  the artists following my blog. So with that in mind let's get started...

I recently began forcing myself out of the studio. I do this when I see my studio work becoming stale. There has to be a level of excitement as I paint or I become bored and rapidly lose interest in a painting. So what follows is one of my recent days in the field.

My basic field equipment. In the backpack is my palette, panel holder and paints. The other backpack is for camera equipment. The other two bags carry my umbrella and a tripod.

My on location set up. I use the En Plein Air Easel. I've had this one for a little more than a year with no problems. The kit comes with the palette, panel holder and tripod. Notice the side tray for brushes and the custom designed turp can that sits in a hole in the bottom middle of the pallette. I have found the turp location to be the most convenient of all plein air easels. To the bottom left you can see that all my paint, brushes, paint scrappers and extra palette knives are in a plastic fishing worm box. 

Here's my palette. I use the exact same colors in the studio. From bottom left going clockwise the colors are Mauve (blue shade) Coblat blue, Ultramarine blue, Cerulean blue hue, Windsor green (Thalo), Cadmium yellow light, Yellow ochre pale, Windsor yellow deep, Cadmium orange, Cadmium red light, Alizarin, Burnt sienna and Titanium white. 

My first scene of the day is this run down farm house.
It is an overcast day which is a good thing because the light will remain consistent for several hours. At the same time its a bad thing because I like painting when there are stronger shadow patterns which are available on bright sunny days.

After about thirty minutes I have most of the painting blocked in.

An hour an half later the painting is finished. 

I'm off the find the next painting. I have no plan, just driving along the highway, taking a few back roads that look interesting and hoping for the best. Stopping every once in a while to take photos.

My second scene of the day. I actually drove around this corner in the road and saw the tree in my mirror. Made a u-turn and gave the scene a second look. 

The temperature has climbed into the 90s so I seek shade under the tailgate of my car and a large Shade Buddy umbrella.

A quick sketch of the scene. I decide to leave out the telephone poles. I will probably put them in if I do a studio version of this.

My first thirty minutes of blocking in the main shapes.
I put in that distant blue streak to establish depth in the painting.

This is about an hour and forty minutes into the painting and I'm getting really tired and the heat from the road is really giving me a headache.

I punch up the color and hue in the foreground. This keeps most of the interest in the front part of the painting and adds more depth so that distant hill looks really far away.

At this point I'm an hour from home and fairly fried physically and mentally so I take back roads all the way home stopping every once in a while to take pictures. Below are a couple of scenes I photographed that I will probably do studio pieces from at a later date.

All in all a good productive day in the field. Hope you enjoyed today's blog post. If you did please leave me a comment. Wednesday's post will be a review of the "En Plein Air" opening at R S Hanna Gallery.