Thursday, July 22, 2010

Plein air in Maine III

On the Shores of Sebago Lake
9 x 12 oil on panel

Today was the very first day I have ever actually enjoyed painting outdoors. I have only done a small amount of plein air painting, only a couple weeks in addition to last year's month-long Hudson Fellowship. And most the time I am outside, I am wondering why I simply can't paint with the ease and enjoyment I feel in the studio.

Well, like anything, it's just a matter of practice. Today was a big step forward for me. It might have something to with the fact I was set up in the shade of huge pines, with a carpet of red needles beneath my feet, and the sounds of birds and distant motorboats around me... which is how I spent the happiest days of my childhood.

Road to the Summer Cottage
9x12 oil on panel

High on this morning's fun, I set up the easel again this afternoon and put in a 3rd session on the composition I started earlier this week, adding more color and light. I loved the challenge of the sandy dirt road with streaks of sunlight across it. I ended up painting the wheel tracks with a pale blue/lavender, and the streaks of sunlight with a warm salmon pink. My experiment was to show the sunlight with an emphasis on the hue shift, and less of a value shift. Since I mostly feel comfortable thinking in in value instead of hue/color, I've been trying to exercise my color skills. Outside there is even more range of value than indoors, so color is really the only way to approximate what the paint values can't accomplish.

My husband and I leave Maine tomorrow, so my painting vacation is done. Next week we visit our family in Pennsylvania and our days will be full with enjoying our young nephews and niece. I also have the pleasure of meeting up with my favorite Women Painting Women, Diane and Alia who are my amazing partners in managing the WPW blog and WPW Facebook page. Last New Year's we met up at the Met, this time it's the Philly Museum of Fine Art to check out some Eakins. Will keep you posted!!