Friday, July 11, 2008

Step By Step Plein Air Demonstration Painting

This is the scene. It is in an old fire burn and the mountain in the distance is one you can see clearly from the city, called "Banded Peak". I am so lucky to live in Calgary as this is an hours' drive from my house.
This is the line drawing I started with. The photo is zoomed out so that you can see my painting set-up. I use a Open Box M easel which I really love. I made a brush holder out of an old piece of wood with holes drilled in it, held on with a C clamp. My painting surface is a mdf panel that I have sealed with a dilute wood glue, and then stained with fluid acrylic. I like a surface that is smooth with a bit of tooth, and after much experimentation, find this one works really well for me. I paint with bristle and synthetic flats mostly.
This is the initial colour/value block-in. Done fairly quickly using thinner as a solvent. The diagonal line at the left is the shadow of the hook which holds the board in place.
Now it has progressed to the 'fiddle' stage. The conditions are getting challenging as the clouds are blowing through rather quickly now and the light/shadow patterns on the mountains are in constant flux. Good thing I took that photo when I first got here!
The wind is beginning to really wip now, and often the painting tips into my brush or I have trouble holding my brush to the board. Time to abort, as the changing conditions are playing havoc with my value patterns and I am beginning to make mud. This is how the painting was left, the whole thing taking me about 1 1/2 hours start to finish. I will post the finished work tomorrow! Enjoy!

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