Tuesday, August 3, 2010

En Plein Air

Believe it or not, the weather held out today!   It was kind of gray, but it didn't rain, so I got outside today to do block studies.  I'm amazed the weather held.  Of course, being as we live on the equator, it was hot as all get out, but I actually got outside, so I was happy.  I was working on some of the methods that Lois Griffel laid out in her book, Painting the Impressionist Landscape.

She is a big advocate of the block studies, but honestly, I had a really hard time doing it the way that she instructed.  Her main technique involved scumbling colors over one another.  Scumbling is layering one layer over another so that the first layer still shows through and the two layers will optically mix for the viewer.  For example, if you put down a first layer of red, then scumble yellow over it, your eye will see orange, without losing any of the intensity of the two colors.  I just didn't really like her technique, and most of her work seems like it is overworked and oversaturated.  In other words, it was just too bright for me.  Ha, imagine that.  Too much color, who would have ever thought.

(This was my first block study)

So, on my second go round, I went back to the method I was using before, and I felt like I was capturing the color and atmosphere much better.  Part of my issue was as much that I have to learn to mix the colors in the first place before I can figure out how to mix them optically.

This afternoon I figured I should take the color studies back to the basics, so I spent the afternoon doing color wheels and mute charts.  Not the most exciting thing ever, but totally important.  It is like memorizing your multiplication tables, or memorizing scales before even practicing them.

In any case, 9.5 hours down! Two more paintings done, as well.

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