Monday, June 29, 2009

Flying with the Loons

Maine was a bit soggy. We got a bit of sunshine on a couple of days, but otherwise, mostly got damp. However, I discovered I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to plein air watercolors. Isn't it wonderful how much you learn by doing things you don't know how to do?

Here are the results of painting outside in front of a beautiful lake. In the rain.

Took a slew of very atmospheric photographs of the mist rising from the water and lots of other beautiful sights.

Some of these work better than others, but I think my "process" involves making little notes in my journal and taking lots of photographs. Then, tweaking and cropping the heck out of them and then coming up with a reference photo I really like. For me, I have to stare at them for quite awhile before I decide just what it is that attracts me: texture, color, contrast, pattern. Then, planning the painting and the size, medium, palette and basic overall structure for the interpretation.

I used to think of myself as a bit haphazard. Like as late as yesterday, I thought this. Then, while choosing my favorite images, I was struck by how many decisions I make before ever getting started and how much pre-planning I actually do.

Most of the misty lake, sky reflection type paintings I really want to do seem to scream for large canvases and quite a lot of planning and detail to get it "right." Things that look so simple are very deceptive that way. As these little plein air studies show, small sizes come with their own problems of execution, but big pieces with bigger brushes require careful study, close observation, and diligent preparations, too.

1 comment:

Joan said...

You did a great job on these paintings of the lake. You captured that wet, misty/rainy atmosphere well!