Thursday, August 28, 2014

plein air painting

 Summer  weather is still with us and plein air painting continues - although I've already decided some were not up to snuff and I've painted over them!  This is one that needed a little fine-tuning as I didn't have time to complete it. I ended up taking  out a cart and adding the tractor to this view painted in Vancouver's Southlands. Summer greens are a challenge - and there is so much of it!  I think I prefer Spring and Fall for painting colours but you can't beat summer weather for actually being outdoors.  This past week, the group did not paint as we had a day tied up delivering paintings to Hollyburn Country Club where the paintings will be displayed for September and October.  We will continue to paint through September so we should be well-primed for the Grand Prix of Art which takes place September 20th. The difference between it and "regular" outdoor painting is that the artist doesn't totally pick the subject. With "regular" painting you choose where you will position yourself and what you will paint. When we are in a group, we are only in the same general area, not all focused on the same scene. With the Grand Prix, the artist pulls a location and has to be within thirty feet of the marked (by a tent) spot. Of course, there is still some choosing - which direction to look? -an all-over view - or a close-up of a detail? Then, even if two people painted exactly the same thing, the paintings would be different because each artist brings his or her own feelings to the scene. And that's just for starters- each one would see colours a little differently and  choose and mix them differently as well as using brushstrokes in an individual way. One artist might start on a white canvas while the other might prefer an under-painting -or "imprimatura" if you prefer that term. One might use glazes, another not.  Then- one might be painting in acrylics while the other might choose oil or watercolour- all with different results. When I look at the photo I often take - just in case I want to check up on something later in the studio (or substitute a tractor for a cart)- I am often surprised to see how ordinary - or even uninteresting- the photo is, compared to the life that the painting has. But then- isn't that some of the value of art? We help people see the beauty in what might otherwise seem to be an ordinary subject.

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