Tuesday, July 31, 2012


En Plein Air Pro Easel

I picked up a new easel recently and I am trying it out in the studio before taking it on the road. I have it set up next to my studio easel and configured as if I was outdoors painting. Once I get it outdoors I'll take better pictures.


The first thing I noticed is the light weight, 1.5 lbs. which is the lightest easel I've seen so far. The easel and panel holder are made of sturdy ABS material which means it won't warp or crack. I found the 144 square inch mixing area to be plenty for my eleven color palette. The En Plein Air Pro comes with its own uniquely designed turp container which you can see in the photo is nicely placed at the bottom. There's also a slot at the bottom right for my linseed oil cup and holes across the top for holding paint brushes.

Now for the painting.

My 8" x 10" panel sitting on the adjustable panel holder. After applying a wash of cadmium orange I block in the major shapes with burnt sienna and some ultramarine blue.

 I paint in the shadow pattern of the foreground and middle ground trees and the grass underneath the trees.

 Next I paint the distant hills and sky keeping everything in harmony with a touch of cadmium orange in almost every paint mixture.

The final painting. A nice quick sketch with a good feeling of late afternoon light.

Friday, July 6, 2012


"Golden Pond"  8" x 10"  oil/linen

The local golf courses that surround my home are an abundant source of painting material. We get all sorts of migrating waterfowl year round and I don't need a boat to go fishing. Yesterday evening I had the opportunity to capture this scene within five minutes of my home. 

Late afternoon/early evening scenes like this are fleeting and you have 20 minutes at best to capture the essence of the scene. It is always best to keep it simple so you have to make fewer decisions and move quickly. I start with a simple block in of basic shapes.

The clouds are moving quickly so painting them becomes more of a design exercise than actually trying to paint the clouds as they are. All I am going for is the separation of the green sky above the clouds and the orange sky below the clouds. The clouds look really grey on my canvas, but I think they will become bluer when I get the warm sky painted in.

 I throw in the sky colors and bring the orange color down into the water. The grey clouds turned considerably bluer when I painted in the sky, but I don't have time to stop and fix it now.

I paint in the water and add details to the trees. The sun has disappeared over the horizon so I only have a few minutes to finish the painting.

I add an egret sitting on the bank as a final touch using a palette knife to paint him in. Using the palette knife I paint in some grass and tree trunks on the big tree and I realize I probably haven't taken a breath the last five minutes and feel a little faint. Its dark now, time to go home.