Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Plein Air Adventures - Looking West

Equipped with my new table saw to make panels, new colors and rigged easel, I have been trekking around the Berkshires looking for places to paint.  (well, looking for interesting elements to put into paintings at least)  I'm not trying to copy what I see - instead I'm taking it all in, choosing the parts that I want to include, then arranging it into a composition.

This trip was to the lookout at the Pittsfield State Forrest - looking west into New York state - the little lights in the top left are Chatham (I think)  This was a two part painting.  The first trip out was extremely windy and all I could get was a quick sketch on the canvas. This picture is only 15x15 so it was like a sail.

With one hand on my sturdy easel, and the other holding a brush, I sketched out my composition using Cobalt Violet (thanks Stape) before eventually being blown over.  I snapped a couple pics before I left because the light was gorgeous.
Never-the-less, the light changed so fast and dramatically (as sunsets will do) that I only had about half an hour to get the sketch done.  end of day 1.

Two days later I went back.  I had written down the time that I was there, so I planned to get there an hour and a half earlier to get set up and cracking.  It was cold.  A few people came by now and again, and they only lasted about 5-10 minutes before getting back in their cars.  It took me a bit to get the canvas covered, but once it was, I was able to really start shaping/describing with color what I was perceiving.  I was in the zone.  I worked solid until about just before the sun dipped below the horizon. all in all, I was there for just over two hours.

The trick is to pick your "time of day" and stick with it - even as the light changes.

I also snapped this picture in the middle of working to show that shadows are indeed cool (in sunlight)

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