Thursday, April 30, 2015

Mixing Greens

April 30, 2015

Mixing Greens

Whenever painting outside   (and inside, too), I pre-mix my greens.  It is kind of a security blanket for me.   Using a limited palette, I create a super dark, top right, for accents, then three values, warm and cool of each.  I use these as a reminder to stick to the three values and include temperature changes in both shadow and light sides.  I use these as starter puddles and work off of them. 

I didn't take a photo of the mixes for the azaleas, but used the same idea for the pinks and the whites.  You can see how there are temperature changes in each value change of the azaleas. 

It helps me to have a structure on my palette, otherwise I start mixing wildly and lose the value differences.

In the following photos, you can see how I started with the accent color first, putting down the darks, then went to the middle value, and at the end added the lights. 

First steps:  toned with Quinacrodone red ( permanent rose) because I wanted the azaleas to read with the strongest color.  Color on color make for the most vibrant area.  Drawing of big shapes.

Massed in the big shapes, started adding some middle values. 

Ready for final touches that will give it some twinkle, using the lightest values that are pre-mixed. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

Benefits of Plein Air Painting

April 20, 2015

Last weekend my husband and I went to Pratt Park to paint.  It was a gorgeous day and, believe it or not, we had never been to that park.  What a great discovery with a playground, picnic area, tennis courts and lovely grounds. 

Whenever or wherever we go somewhere I take photos of things that catch my eye.  This backloader or backhoe grabbed me because of that great orange color.  It shows how something ordinary can have its own beauty.  Proof that there are things to paint everywhere. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Steps I use in Plein Air Painting

April 14, 2015

These are the steps I use to get to a finished painting that starts outside and is completed in my studio. 

1.  Look for subject that has abstract shapes, contrast of light and dark,  and is interesting.

2.  Do a drawing that just shows you the basic shapes, (no two equal), a balance of lights and darks with a predominance of one or the other.  I use that tiny sketch pad that you see on my easel. 

3.  Photo taken at Chatham in Fredericksburg, Va.  I liked this view because it included a path around the green house,  the fire hydrant was something ordinary, but had nice colors,  interesting shapes and colors in the tress.  (Also, it was so cold that day and we didn't want to venture too far from the car knowing that for the first time out this season we might not last too long.)
 4.  I like to do small studies that give me color and ideas for a bigger painting. 

5.  With the photo and color studies I painted a larger one at home in my studio. 
8 x 10

Friday, April 10, 2015

Good News

April 10, 2015

Good news, my PB and J painting got Second Place in the "Feast for Your Eyes Show" at LibertyTown Arts Workshop.  Thank you!  I did a lot of studies for this one to help decide on the composition and the idea of having abstract shapes to hold it together. 
It's a big painting, 18 x 24

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Plein Air Painting

Getting Ready to Paint Outside - April 9, 2015

Be a Minimalist

When it comes to plein air painting I am a minimalist.  My goal is to take the least amount possible, yet have everything I need.  I keep an ongoing list of what I take.  Here are a few photos and I see I have omitted paper towels from the pictures.  I even cut them up into little squares rather than take a big roll.  Also omitted are garbage bags, one little one for trash and a big one to keep on the ground so my stuff doesn't get wet. 
My list
back pack
paints - small tubes (limited palette) plus burnt sienna and viridian
2 or 3 small panels and/or small pieces of loose canvas
shaper - great for making tree branches and strait lines
brushes - my 5 favorites
1 palette knife, the one shown in pic is most versatile to me
paper towels
big garbage bag
small garbage bag
view finder
tiny sketch pad
water and food (snacks and lunch)
What would you add to this that you cannot do without?

Two additional and big items include the tripod for mounting my M box palette and a chair.  My husband usually comes with me when I paint outside and uses a cart for these things, but if I had to I think I could carry them along with my back pack. 
Book Recommendation
Every landscape teacher ( including DVD's) I have ever had recommends this book.  It is available at Amazon.  Here is the link.  If you have a hardcover, new copy, hang on to it.  I just read that it is worth $999.00.  Otherwise the paperback is only 10.71, one of the best bargains around. 
(I can only read about 5 pages at a time and end up re-reading the same sentence over and over.  It is so filled with information that is worthwhile, but hard to read, maybe it's just me)
 I've read it several times.  The info about planes and light is essential to getting correct values.  The chapter I'm reading now is on composition.  Here is one of the pearls from that chapter:

"A work of art in paint should be beautiful and expressive as abstract color and form and should not interest us necessarily in any "story" outside of itself -- or else it belongs to the field of illustration."
(John Carlson, Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting) - sorry it's been so long I don't even remember how to do proper footnotes. 

Next blog will be steps I use for the painting.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Thank You

April 6, 2015


Thank you for coming to the Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique.  I enjoyed talking with everyone.  I learned firsthand how Melanie creates her beautiful collages.  She is overflowing with creativity.  Check out her facebook page to see some of the art she creates.  Melanie's Facebook Page.  I got to spend the day at Heather's, also a treat.  Heather's Facebook Page Thank you,  Heather, for inviting me to do this show. 

Kathy, if you are reading this I bought gifts for the girls' teachers made by Melanie.  I'll  mail them to you. 

On top of this, I got to talk with people about art, my favorite subject.  I apologize if I talked your ears off about the subject. 


My focus from now until next winter is painting outside as often as I can.  So far there about 6 Fredericksburg painters who go out every Wednesday morning.  We've been to Chatham 2 times.  It's a lovely place to paint.  The first time was very cold and my husband and I didn't venture very far from the car.  I still stuck by my plan to do a couple of color studies, then do a studio painting at home. 

In the next couple of blogs, I'll include my steps with photos.  Here is a pic of the painting.  Tomorrow I'll include the studies and drawing. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique

Heather Boutique
721 Caroline Street
Fredericksburg, VA
April 3, First Friday - 5;30 - 8:00 ?
April 4, all day - 10 - 5:30
I am very excited about having a Trunk Show with Melanie Edwards at Heather Boutique.  I gathered  together every study and finished, but unframed painting to clear out my studio and be ready for the next group.  I just varnished 116 paintings which took a long time.  Now I am ready to paint the next 100 +. 
Please stop by and say hello to Melanie and me and all the nice people at Heather Boutique.  There will be lots to see. 

just a few samples......