I participated in a quick painting recently. The artists were told without notice a choice of two places and then they had to paint, frame, and have the art on the walls of the display in a total of an hour and a half. I have taken classes by some great teachers. Some students walk away from workshops expecting to leap into painting like the teacher. You may not feel like you benefited from the class til years later. This experience proved it. Along with years of subjecting my work to critiques, sometimes brutal; I learned a lot from the experience. I sat down and put this together, using lessons learned from those great teachers.
When I first set up, I started by centering my subject and realized this would not work and wiped it off. I noticed the triangle would lend itself to moving the sculpture to the right. Similar to a facial profile that faces toward the open space. By comparing the two versions, the triangle works leading to the sculpture.
Next is adding depth of color:
Using Photoshop I picked the green colors to show how it grays and moved toward blue to add depth. Also the brushstrokes went from short in the distance to wider in the foreground. Love a sunny day to use shadows to pull the eye toward the center of interest and add depth.
Repetition of Design:
This was an element that was drilled into me by one of those great teachers. It helps connect the center of interest with the environment. You can also see how the rectangular windows in the sculpture are repeated in the windows in the buildings behind it.
When I turned this painting in, the comment was, "Not many people know about this bridge". I am sure the locals know but I am not one of them. When going to a new location for a plein air painting event you can scope out the place on the internet. Start by doing a search on the area and Googling images. Pinterest is also a good place to find images. This one was found through: https://bridgehunter.com/category/city/quincy-illinois/
I also use Google earth and using the street view drive through the area hoping to spot a nice scene.
I purchased a jar of Daniel Smith watercolor ground in titanium white and buff titanium. I brushed buff titanium on a gessoed baltic birch panel then sanded it. The brush strokes still show on this one. Maybe putting another coat on will fix this. The ground does a good job of handling the paint, The main problem with this one is I applied the ground over a gessoed board which resisted the watercolor. White gouache mixed with a little ultramarine blue was used on the sky. The rest was transparent watercolor. I washed this off leaving faint images that can now be painted over with another coat of the watercolor ground.
This weekend was the annual Fort Madison Area Arts Association garden tour. I managed to paint two gardens, the first is the winery. They gave tours and a nice talk on making wine along with samples of various wines made at this vineyard.
10" x 8" oil on panel
I tried painting a goat at the other site. It took some following the goats around to get a likeness. I have an upcoming plein air event at the Van Buren county fair. The fair should be easier since they will be in pens most of the time. I did take photos and along with this study I should be able to paint a better goat.
Sometimes when you get a bargain there is a reason it is a bargain. I bought this watercolor paper that was marked Fabriano extra white soft pressed 300 gsm. The 300gsm converts to approximately 140 lbs. I bought this at a warehouse sale and was pleasantly surprised. I expected it to be more of a hot pressed paper which is OK for the price. It seems more of a cross between a hot pressed and cold pressed surface as you can see from the photo. It makes a nice wet into wet affect. I am not a watercolor landscape painter but for a study this paper will work nicely.
Last week I participated in Steelville Missouri's plein air competition. This was painted at sunset on an 11" x 14" panel. The rules stated that it must be painted entirely plein air, so not touch ups later. Painting sunsets require planning by drawing in the shapes before. I could plan that the area on the left will remain dark, but the rest changes quickly. I think I should have gone to this location two days. The first day with a small study then, hopefully the next day the weather repeats itself for me to paint the larger image.
I paint this plein air but never submitted it because I did not get the foreground water finished. I had to cut it short to make it to the plein air painting event in the Daniel Boone home. Ended up with only an hour to paint there, Then on to a winery for another painting.
14" x 11" oil on panel
I reworked this from the photo. I am going back and forth over this and I think I like the simpler plein air version better.
I found a set of water soluble oils in the discount section. Getting my painting to look like the ones on the internet that resemble a watercolor is another matter. The color choices are limited and there are a lot of hues. I do like the ease of clean up. It may take me a while to learn how to get that watercolor look without loosing the dark values.