Original oil - 6"x8"
What trips you up the most in plein air painting? It's a good thing to ponder. Once you have an answer, there is huge value in focusing on that particular thing the next few times you go out.
For me it's detail and design. Seeing past all the detail - and the challenge of finding a good design. Here is one exercise that will really help you address both of these issues at once:
Do a quick (15 minute) value study of the scene - in paint - using only black, white and one or two mid-tone grays.
Remember the goal is not to copy the scene. It's to create a strong design. As you go - squint and compare, and be exploring:
- how to eliminate detail
- where to link shapes to create an interesting pattern of light and dark
- where you can lose edges by bringing values close together (to connect shapes)
- where to push values lighter or darker to strengthen your design
- what stays - what goes
Big Fat Challenge:A few of my students have taken on a challenge to do 50 of these studies in the next 30 days. If any of you want to do the same, jump on in. Once you've done 50, send me a photo of your best one, and a photo of the scene it was done from, and I'll post a selection of them here on my blog later in the fall. Bonus - you have until September 30th to get me your image. :-)
On another note, I am only teaching one Daily Painting workshop this year. It will be in my Canmore studio Oct. 1st-3rd. For more details please click here.