Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Plein Air Journey ~ Season One and Two

I became interested in plein air painting many years ago and I spend a great deal of time during the summer months painting plein air (outside on location). My objective is to create a painting in a few hours capturing the mood or light on the given subject in natural light. I am not a purest, I do not think the entire painting need be finished on location but I do think my personal work is fresher if I can capture most of the subject in one setting. The seasons I've spent plain air painting are beginning to run together but I believe I began in the summer of 2003. I thought it might be fun to document my journey visually beginning with that summer.

Back in the late summer of 2003, I remember setting in a peach orchard. I could hear the thump of ripe peaches falling from the trees around me. It was hot, most likely August. This was my first season out painting and I was not very efficient or prepared. Prior to that summer I had been working almost exclusively with colored pencils. I knew that I could not complete a piece in a small amount of time using only colored pencils so I decided to combine water soluble colored pencils with dry ones. The group I paint with starts at around 9:00 a.m. and paints till around noon when we stop and gather for a critique of our work and eat our lunch. I remember having just a faint sketch done by noon and very little color on my piece. I started out using a half sheet of water color paper. The painting was enormous for the technique I was using!

I struggled through 2003 and 2004 trying to complete a painting in a few hours time. Heck, I would have been pleased to have one half done by noon!

"Just Peachy" and "A Gray Morn" are the result of those first few seasons. Both are rather large, about 14 X 20 inches and both are on hot press water color paper with water soluble colored pencils and dry pencils.

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