During this workshop I will concentrate on three main elements in plein air painting:
1. COMPOSITION: strong composition contains a sound perspective, balance and harmony. Perspective provides sense of depth and movement. Balance is achieved by proper positioning of the foreground, mid ground, background and the essential elements (Center of interest) within these spaces. A harmonious composition is the result of successful integration of the perspective and balance in which there is visual flow a feast for the eyes.
We will make several small, quick pencil, charcoal studies of our subject on a sketch pad before proceeding on canvas and choose the most successful one to be put on our canvas.
2. VALUE: We will also do a value study of our subject using a single dark color wash to get familiar with the light and dark areas and the mid tones in our painting. Correct value will result in spatial depth and the light source which is essential in painting. Looking at the subject while squinting the eye will eliminate details, simplify the masses, therefore making it easy to see the value scale of the scene before us. This is a very important step prior to sketching our composition.
3. COLOR: I have found that in many years of teaching, color mixing is very challenging especially for the beginner. It takes years to learn how to mix colors quickly and accurately. To simplify this process I will employ only four colors, 1. White, 2. Blue, 3. Yellow, 4. Red. We will mix rest of the colors using only these primary colors and white. This method, known as the limited palette, will give us the color harmony which is difficult to achieve when there are too many colors on our palette.
Using color temperature, warmth and coolness of colors, color intensity, lightness or darkness of colors and the complimentary colors, we will bring about atmosphere, depth and visual excitement into our paintings.
I recommend using small canvasses to do these studies in the field, unless you are advanced you should not be painting any larger than 8"x 10".
BRUSHES: Good quality hog bristle #1 ,#2, #4, #6, #8 Flats, Filberts and Brights and #2 rounds and rigger. Winsor & Newton, Isabey, Utrecht are good brands
BRUSH WASHER: 8 ounce size
PALETTE KNIFE: Various sizes and shapes 1 1/4" - 4 " long
CANVAS BOARDS: 6"X8" AND 8"X10" linen or cotton canvas mounted on 1/8" boards, Fredrix and Utrecht carries
DRY BOX: to carry and store wet paintings. RayMar and EasyL makes them.
SKETCH BOOK: 6" x 8" one is sufficient. 6B Pencil and kneaded eraser
VIEW FINDER: Order from EasyL or Art Supply Warehouse
THINNER: Odorless or Gamsol
PAINTS: Limited Palette
Titanium White...................Mars Black
Cadmium Yellow light.........Cadmium Yellow Medium
Cadmium Red Light............Alizarin Crimson
Cobalt Blue........................Ultramarine Blue
Yellow ochre (bring for an exercise)
UMBRELLA: EasyL has a good one, bring small stretch cords to fasten.
MISCELLANEOUS: Viva paper towels, plastic bags for trash, an empty 16 oz. jar to put dirty turpentine in. sun screen, hat, dark shirt or apron to work in, water, snack.
Carlson's Guide to Landscape Painting by John F. Carlson,
Composition of Outdoor Painting by Edgar Payne
Art Spirit by Robert Henri Hawthorne on Painting by Charles Hawthorne
Fill your Oil Paintings with Light and Color by Kevin Macpherson