Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Plein Aire painting & Sorrento III (12"x12")

This afternoon I met Sharon Williams (see http://sharonlynnwilliams.blogspot.com/) at Lloyd Park just south of Calgary and we painted. I learned something very important... there is no substitute for painting outside or, as painters say, en plein aire! No books, photos, magnifying glass, etc. Just your own eyes to take in all the shapes and colors of the great outdoors. What to paint? Good question - at Lloyd park you could go every day and paint something new. Trees, water, reeds, birds, farm yard and/or fields in bright greens and yellows, rolling foothill slopes... and more.

It was a gorgeous day with enough breeze and repellant to keep the bugs at bay. The birds number in the thousands there and they made a lovely, relaxing din for background music. This was all good... and then I realized that I can't paint trees! Furthermore, when I look back on my paintings I think I have actually been avoiding trees as subjects. So you can guess what I'm going to be working on - trees, trees, trees. And from life too... not photos.

If you are interested in learning more about plein aire painting click on the link below and/or check back here over the summer and follow my progress up close and personal. I plan to paint lots of real life trees and landscape in general this summer and fall.

Now for today's painting - as promised yesterday I finished Sorrento III (aka "The Last"). This has been a tough painting to work on because it has been 15 months since I took the reference photo and, as discussed above, painting en plein aire provides more energy and more information. I know I'll have another chance to paint this view and I'm excited to do that - some day. For now, this is it... movin' on, etc.

I like this painting better than the one I posted yesterday because it reminds me strongly of the 3 days I spent there with Elaine in April 2007. The values (dark to light) are close to what we saw that day. It was a day from heaven (if you don't count the contractor woes). The sky swirled above and reflected deeper color on the water-mirror of Shuswap Lake. It was a GORGEOUS April day!!! I'm willing to bet there would be at least 20 boats in the photo if you snapped it today - maybe more. It's a busy place in the summer but April was very, very quiet. I felt like painting it on the spot but unfortunately we were heading home to Calgary and the photo had to suffice. Paintings are successes if they bring you back immediately to that day in your life, to the light on the lake and the company of friends. This one does that for me... I hope it does it for Elaine too.

I leave you with a favourite quote: "Happy are the painters, for they shall not be lonely. Light and colour, peace and hope, will keep them company to the end, or almost to the end, of the day." Sir Winston Churchill, from his essay "Painting as a Pastime" which he published in his book Amid These Storms in 1932. Retweet this

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