Saturday, March 28, 2009

Back to Plein Air Painting

The landscape show is over and I am ready to get back outside to paint. I just finished several spring-time paintings from sketches that I began outside last year. My favorite is Spring at Lock 16 shown above. I especially liked the way the figure fits into the scene. I found her in a sketch book from several years ago. It's a great pose from a 15-second sketch.

I have been accepted into Plein Air Easton, the premier plein air painting event in the Mid-Atlantic Region. The event is in July, so I have to get ready. I get a bit rusty during the winter cooped up in my studio. I like the idea, as Asher B. Durand did, of returning to the same spot for several days to finish a plein air painting.

Tomorrow morning I will begin painting outdoors at a Washington Society of Landscape Painters paintout at one of our favorite spots: The Old Anglers' Inn area of the C & O Canal and the Potomac River. I have already done two scenes there but tomorrow (if it doesn't rain) I plan to paint some large boulders and rocks looking south down the Potomac.

In future blogs, I plan to show sequences of my plein air paintings.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Wine and Cheese, step 12

Finally, the finish

To finish the painting, I added the little parallel gold bars on the inside of the frame, adding a few highlights and shadows to give them depth. To fill the empty space in the lower right, I added two flowers which now help bring your eye into the painting. The leaves are strategically placed to give direction to the viewer.

As I see it, the eye travels along the lower edge of the painting until it reaches the green leaf, when it travels up to the flowers and back to the left following the direction of the pointy green leaf. The eye then travels along the side edge of the cheese board, checks out the grapes on the table, follows the corkscrew up to the silver dish of grapes, meanders through the wine glasses, up the wine bottle to check out Andrei’s painting on the wall. The lower right hand corner of the frame points downward to the vase of flowers, where the eye can finally exit the painting! Whew!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wine and Cheese, step 11

Coming down the finish line:

The frame around Andrei's painting had really been bothering me. The inner area of it has these little parallel bars of gold wood on top of a gray background, and I had sketched them in hoping that would work. The more I looked at it, the more I knew it wasn’t working. There were so many of them...they weren't parallel, they weren't the same size, they were wonky. In other words: SLOPPY.

So I sanded the surface lightly, and painted the background area gray. After it dries, I will add the gold parallel bars VERY CAREFULLY.

I eliminated a lot of the fussy areas of the cloth and just went with suggesting some gold sparkles in a random pattern.

While I was working in that area, I refined the cheese tray and added the wire cutter on the side. I like the way it breaks up that side area. A little wood grain also helps break up that side.