|Riverbend Park, Virginia - Photos taken right after painting the canvas
Notes For Painting On-Location: Plein-air painting is a fantastic way to involve all your senses in creating a painting.
The special sense of place and unique lighting of that one singular moment hurry the art along in a frenzy of creativity that
cannot be duplicated in the studio. Photos shot on location so often disappoint and are always second-best to painting on-site.
The human eye sees many more colors and subtleties that no camera can capture. My painting was created entirely on location.
The reference photos you see here (above) were taken right after the art was painted. This painting was sold to a passerby
that saw me create it.
Palette Notes: My palette has Grumbacher Max Oils in: Ultramarine Blue, Cobalt blue, Cerulean blue, Thio Violet, Barium
Yellow Pale, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Burnt Sienna, Napthal (Quinacridone) Red, Madder (Duo oils) and Thalo Green. My Titanium
White is from Holbien's Duo Oil line (I've found it creamier than the Max white and it's easier to open/close the
tube). Sometimes I add different colors, but this is a good array of paints. I do not thin with a medium as these are water-mixable
oils. Preliminary drawing strokes and first swipes of color use some water for a thinner mix. Top layers of paint are always
painted full-strength with no thinning.
1: First Steps - Create A Rough Drawing. The drawing was done in one of my favorite colors
for landscapes: Thio Violet, made by Grumbacher. Usually I use a burnt sienna color for the initial drawing, but I wanted
to capture the soft shimmering spring light I saw... and the focus of the artwork was going to be the fabulous pink to purple-blue
of the Virginia bluebell wildflowers.
2: Start Blocking In Color: I start applying large areas of color. The trees will be the darkest darks, but I
keep them warm with my reds and Burnt Sienna. Ultramarine Blue or a tiny dab of white is added to darken and/or
dull some areas. The sky, river and background land mass are worked together. I keep these areas light to contrast
with the trees.
3: Continue Blocking In Color: Here I work the foreground, watching my values and keeping my color choices more vibrant
near the viewer. The bluebells were just coming into bloom and only a few were open, but I painted them as if they were at
peak bloom, and as a haze of iridescent purple-blue (they are an incredible sight in full bloom).
4: Finish Blocking In Stage and Start to Refine: All the canvas has been covered and I start to adjust colors and shapes.
The paint remains wet during the painting session and so can be manipulated easily.
5: Continue to Refine
I keep adjusting colors and shapes paying attention to the areas of interest along the path... branch shadows and plant
clumps. Sapplings are added with the brown tree color mix and glide over the background paint, but also mix slightly
with the wet paint. This creates a feeling of atmosphere.
|"Virginia Bluebells" - sold
|oil on canvas, 9 x 12"
6: Finishing Touches
The last touches of paint are dabs of yellow and green to suggest the first tiny buds on the branches as they pop
open in the warm spring sunshine.