April 5, 2011

An Ocean of Yellow - Finally some plein air!

I have a weird relationship with Plein air painting. I have always wanted to do it, but never got the hang of it really. I tried it once exactly a year ago, but I would think of it as a disaster. I did about a third of a painting and wanted to complete it in the studio and never got to it. 

This time, my approach was new and more effective thanks so some knowledge from books. I am reading this book "Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color" by Kevin Macpherson, and that helped me get a better understanding of the thought process behind plein air. The last time I tried it, I just set up my easel, made a mental note of what would be my boundary and started sketching right away. I mean directly on the canvas. And oh, the book is lovely! It is not an art instruction book that gives you how-tos, but it makes you think with the help of a lot of images provided. I love it. 

Ocean of Yellow
Acrylics on Gallery wrapped Canvas, 8 by 8 inches
$120 + $20 shipping worldwide.
 Click here to Buy.
So this time around, things were different. I went with a view finder proportionate to my canvas size, decided on my view, sketched it entirely first on my sketch book and then started painting. And I deliberately made an attempt to squint a lot and see the values. It was great fun. This time since my approach was better, the whole process was indeed a lot more enjoyable. 

Also, I painted this entirely with the primaries. No green anywhere on my palette. I went in for a palette of Alizarin Crimson, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Yellow Pale and Titanium White, also as suggested in Kevin's book. While this makes the painting great fun and makes me think better in terms of colors and color temperature, I love the fact that it makes traveling so easy with paints. Just 4 tubes and I am ready to go! Is that fun or what?! I hope to write in more detail about my learnings from the plein air session, so stay tuned. 


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