Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Plein Air from a value study...read on

"Smoketrees" 12" x 9" from en plein air sketch, acrylic on canvas SOLD
(colour is as close as scanning and monitor will allow, but never as good as the original painting)

Sometimes as an artist, I will see something, and right at that moment have to paint it. Well, that's what happened here. Last Thursday morning, Aug. 27, which is my weekly en plein air painting day...but I usually paint late afternoon or early evening --I stepped outdoors to get a feel of the weather, we have had some very hot humid days lately, and my eye was drawn to the trees on the east side of our house. The day was very muggy, and somewhat fog like, and I was attracted to the nuances of colour and light around these trees. I quickly ran inside and grabbed a sheet of paper and a carbon pencil and back out to the deck where I sat gathering values. For a painter, if you know the values and approximate colour you can make sense of the information and translate it into a fairly good painting.

You can see my thumbnail value study at the right, where I also marked colour information in the margins. I write these for me to understand and make sense from using colour descriptions such as "Soft gray brite blue sky" and "Brite flesh pink blue white tassels" and so on. These colour descriptions are not only the hue, but in most cases, the trailing colour names indicate what colours I will use to mix them. I made this sketch because I knew that special hazy light wouldn't wait for me to get a canvas in place and paint it, nor would a photo record it properly.
After making the value sketch as quickly as I could, I took it back into my studio and painted from it. I popped back out a couple more times for branch and bloom detail knowing the light would be wrong, but the most of above painting was made from my sketch and memory. I was very happy to capture that specific colour mood, especially the soft creamyness of the sky.


rob ijbema said...

the light you cought is very delicate...can see why this scene
cought you...

Rob Mackintosh said...

Thanks Rob, I'm glad I painted it that way...(sketch & notes) Its something I'm doing more of lately...I just finished a new painting from a photo, where I am painting in a different room from the reference photo, and I have to keep going back and forth. This type of excercise teaches me to retain more of what I see.

Tracy Helgeson said...

I liked seeing your sketch as well as your description of how you worked to get this scene. The painting turned out very nicely, and the sketch is very nice as well. Hope you save those sketches!

Good blog, by the way.