Weekly Painting Week 46- Start a painting, finish a painting, sell a painting. Plein Air Competition

This was a Quick Draw competition, in which the artists had to start with a blank canvas at 10 a.m. and finish when the horn sounded at 12 noon. That is 120 minutes to sketch, underpaint and finish off a painting. The time goes FAST and I am a fast painter to begin with! The finished paintings looked vibrant and exciting with a couple of dings, scratches and mistakes that only made them more interesting. Selecting a view was the hard part- had to be complex enough to be interesting, but not so complicated that I could not finish it. I selected a row of houses for the color, perspective and the very prominent American Flag.

A couple of notes:

– I had 120 minutes and used at least 30 on the charcoal sketch. This made a much better painting than I could have done otherwise. So begin with the end in mind- the drawing is the bones of the painting and we all want to have good bones!

– Use true, not local color. I used Gamblin’s Portland Greys for the sky as it was very overcast, I saw more than one finished painting with a bright blue sky- not a criticism, but a different choice than I made. There were very few sharp shadows which made for a more serene mood.

– I left out some details because there just wasn’t enough time to get them all in. You know you are looking at the American Flag whether or not there are detailed stars on it.

– You may want to pack a ruler!! Even in nature you may need to make a straight line here or there.

– Take some breaks and step back about 10 feet and take a good look. The parts that need work will jump out at you

– Prepare to do a lot of talking. Or listening. Many people will want to discuss what you are doing and that is part of the experience.

– Some fantastic colors for landscapes: chrome oxide green (instead of pthalo), cadmium red light, ultramarine (has replaced cerulean in most of my outside stuff), Portland Grey Light, Portland Grey Medium, Dioxy Purple (don’t make yourself crazy trying to mix red and blue!) and Windsor Lemon. The bricks are a grayed down Alizarin with a little white- a mixing accident that nailed the color!

– The whole Quick Draw experience was a lot like running a 10K- you may not be the best person out there, but you will get to finish and have your moment of triumph, large or small. Pause and appreciate this!

– Have a price in your head in case someone wants to buy your masterpiece and you want to sell it- this painting went home with an art lover, which was fine with me.

Finished Painting:
finished painting1

Lined up easels at the finish line:

street view

Reference photo:
yellow house2

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Weekly Painting Week 45- Theory of Relativity Snow and Trees at Midnight- Nights in White Satin

When Albert Einstein was asked to phrase his Theory of Relativity in laypersons words, he allegedly said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.” So.. shovel snow for four months and it’s not pretty. In summer when the heat is intense, this painting is pretty and refreshing. So as a tribute to all of you who survived an especially cold and snowy winter, here is a midnight in the snow scene to cool you off on a hot day. Oil on canvas, 16 x 20″. Monochromatic with Pthalo blue, titanium white and chromatic black.

Nights in White Satin 16 x 20 x 7/8″
white satin

Weekly painting week 44- take it outside- Plein air painting

Summer is here and that means one thing for sure- paint dries much, much faster! Take advantage of the warm days and go outside and paint for a change. Monet and his fellow painters made this popular, Monet especially by painting the same scene at several times throughout the day to capture different colors of light. Here are some things I was reminded of painting on the beach and near this lake:

The sky is not always a shade of blue.
Water is almost never blue, but the color of the sand or green plants below the surface. (thanks Erik!!)
Bugs and sand and other debris will get on your painting. Think of this as a bonus, you are taking some of the scenery home with you!
A mix of Cadmium yellow and black makes the best tree and grass greens.
Every green will need a little red.
Gray down the background, and warm up the foreground to give it some depth.
Use the impressionists palette- including ultramarine, cadmium red and yellow, titanium white and a mix of red and green to make black. Add other colors as you like.

Bring a wide brimmed hat and wear either a white or black shirt– less colorful reflections on your painting to distract you.
Prepare to talk. A lot. People will want to see what you are doing, so don’t try this if you are excessively shy.
Bring business cards too- a shameless plug never hurts.

Bon Chance- see you outside!

Here is a one hour painting at the lake: pleinair