More Plein Air Paintings

This post needs to start with a shout out to my Momma. As one of my only readers she suggested that I explain more about what the projects I post are about and what they are trying to accomplish. It seemed like a good idea, so here I go.

The landscape studies posted earlier were short studies done in a range of 20-45 minutes. The point of these quick studies is to train your eye to simplify what you see and to translate that in to basic values (lightness or darkness), hues (color) and temperatures (warm or cool) of those hues. Learning to simplify while is the perennial challenge of an artist. We see so much detail that it is impossible to paint it all. In fact if you try the painting usually looks less real and loosed it’s impact. The challenge is multiplied in nature where there are literally millions of leaves, stems, branches, etc. to get caught up in. I am trying to learn which things to include and which to leave out as well as how to make myself see and design those divisions in nature.

Things farther away become lighter and more blue because of atmospheric perspective, or the effect of all of the particles of air between you and what you are seeing. The effect is particularly noticeable on distant mountains – purple mountain majesties anyone?

Edgar Payne

Vertical planes are darker that horizontal planes because the horizontal planes receive the light. You notice this in the difference in value between a tree and the field it is standing in. The field is closer to the sky in value.

Edgar Payne

Things in shadow and things in light generally are different temperatures. Each main color has a warm and cool tone. There are warm and cool reds, yellows, greens, blues, etc. If the scene is being influence by a cool light, then the shadows are generally warm and vice verse.

Cool Shadows on a Sunny Day

Don Sahli

Squinting helps to let you simplify what you see into these basic values, colors and temperatures. Go ahead and try it out, you might enjoy it.

So these are some of the concepts I am trying to incorporate into my plein air painting and I have a long way to go. Practice, practice practice, right? Here are my studies from this week’s class. I probably spent about 1hr 45min on each.

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