Through this avoidance... they rob them selves of perhaps the most enjoyable and comfortable time in the year to be outside... free of heavy clothing and countless picturesque views of unfrozen landscapes and water views. Secondly... they rob themselves of an excellent opportunity to play with green's varied summer values and to learn through doing that how to mix values for any other hue. Mastering greens opens a floodgate of learning and accomplishment for those who dare to persevere.
I would like to offer a few tips or suggestions for my blogger friends which I have learned through many years of working with painting outdoors in this season. I don't presume to be a master such as Canadian Group of Seven member, AJ Casson... but I humbly offer that I am entirely comfortable in any summer location and usually come away a painting or sketch that I am pleased with. I have a list of invariables that I apply to each summer set up which helps to optimize possible success.
Yesterday, I had the honour of introducing a young lady studio painter (in acrylics) to the "Wide World of Plein Air Painting." I agreed to take her with me on a foray into the village... provided that she paint in oils and that she be open to taking some suggested risks to overcome her complaint regarding the matter of "being too tight" in her approach to painting. I provided much of the paint and painting equipment including an easel and offered her tips in setting up her palette and choice of colours.... brushes and canvas format.
Earlier in the morning on my morning walk about in Rockport, I selected three possible sites which might serve the purpose for an introduction to plein air painting. Each contained the invariables upon which I make the selection for my own choice in summer painting locations. I first walked her to each of the three sites and we discussed the merits of each and her feelings of comfort in each place. Finally... I asked her to select our place to paint for our three hour session.
I was more than happy that she selected the view of St Brendan's Church... from a low vantage point below the church located on the granite bluff. It was a location... that would remain mostly in the shade for most of our session and there was ample room to walk back comfortably and safely to examine the progress of the painting for the two of us. She also demonstrated a strong conviction for the subject... and therefore was motivated to jump in with minimal reluctance or uncertainty.Definitely a great beginning for the experiment!
Strategies or Invariables:
1. Select a location that has STRONG elements of structure and if possible.... some architectural element around which the landscape unfolds. This creates CONTRAST which helps sort out things in the initial stages of laying in.
2.I most often use a toned ground for my canvas... my preference being burnt sienna acrylic applied before you go out to paint. This reduces glare and adds warmth that are complementary to the greens that you will be facing.
3. Use medium to large bristle brushes... dependent upon the size of the canvas chosen to commence the painting process. These allow one to "scrub in" colour... or to apply the first pigment in washes using turpentine or OMS (your choice)
4. Examine your subject... squinting your eyes and seeing the subject through your eye lashes. This helps break the subject into forms... or more appropriately for St Brendan's Catholic Church.... MASSES!!! ... couldn't resist the opportunity to pun you! The idea of this whole business of painting is first of all...to have FUN!!! The masses of greens need not be exact in their initial lay in... they will most certainly be altered along the way. The idea is to fill in the space with meaningful forms or shapes which = STRUCTURE.
5. I use a rag or towel to "lift" areas such as the church steeple, statuary and body of the building. The sky remains sienna in colour at this point.
6. I darken the areas which are darker in the green areas using sap green... blues... purples or umber to create shifts in value that approximate not replicate what lies in front of me. Gradually, a mapping of green structure will emerge... which can be adjusted higher or lower later on in the session.
7. I then usually add some initial sky features by transparently "hatching in" blues ... pinks and whites to fill up the anticipated sky interest. It will change as well as the picture moves along.
8. At this juncture... I apply transparent values... in this case white to establish where I will finally place the elements of the church itself. Keep it very light and unobtrusive. White too soon will result in an undesirable chalkiness too early in the painting. Save the strong values until the very conclusion of the painting process.
9.AT MANY TIMES DURING THE ENTIRE SESSION... PUT YOUR BRUSHES DOWN AND WALK BACK ABOUT TEN PACES TO LOOK AT YOUR PROGRESS. HAVE A DRINK... TAKE A WALK... GET AWAY FROM THE PROBLEM AND UP CLOSE-IN-YOUR-FACE CONTACT YOU HAVE RIGHT AT THE EASEL.
10.Start working on specific areas... applying specifically and strategically placed strokes that are not touched or changed. The old adage:" A stroke laid... is a stroke stayed" is the idea from this point on. You are in fact creating a rug hooking from this point on... one stitch at a time. The sum total will read as a painting!
11. Take out your sharp pointed rigger and add another ten minutes of detail... avoiding fussiness or extraneous details. Simplify. Often... "little says more."
12. End the process when you find yourself looking for places to add a stroke. That can be accomplished best away from the scene and from memory. Keep that extra session to barely a few minutes... and preferably a few days after the initial outing.
I am including these jpegs to let you see the results of Josee's first plein air painting in oils. I will leave it to you to decide upon the success of our venture. I can only tell you that Josee has headed out to get new supplies to take back to the Magdalen Islands in the Gulf of St Lawrence. She's hooked!!!
|Final touches for me|
Visitors arrived by land and by water during our session
Bonne chance Josee! Enjoi-toi ta nouvelle affaire avec les huiles!
"St. Brendan's Catholic Church... Nestled Into Summer" - oil on canvas 20x16 inches
Allison (Ms Pig)... calls me Kermie! I wonder why????? HA HA!!
Happy Summer Painting... to ALL! Hope this post helps you achieve more of that!