Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Third Plein Air Oil Painting

So this is my third attempt, a bit shimmery as it's still wet. I used all the bits of information I gleaned from looking at Tom Thomson's work. I worked on an orange ground, worked out my composition and pattern of tones in advance with a pencil sketch, drew the outlines carefully with a thin brush loaded with dark red, then mixed the paint to exactly the right colour on the palette before applying it. Am I happy?
Well, no, of course not. This is a boring piece of work. 
But I may know why.
In following all these new rules I've acquired I forgot my usual ones;

1. Never paint a vista, they are lovely to look at but usually end up as tedious paintings. Think hard about the composition before starting. Try to home in on a smaller area and maybe use a challenging angle of perspective.
2. Decide on the main element (s) and emphasise the changes of tone around the edges.
3.  Don't make a psychological block to the distance with strong horizontals, and even worse, a fence straight across without gap or gate (what was I thinking?).
4. If you must use green, and I suppose in current circumstances I must, push it towards blue or orange or yellow even red. I did remember this when I got down to the crop in the field directly in front of me, which was faintly blue green wheat, but I pushed it too far so it looks like water.
5. Never use a tube of green, I didn't use it neat of course but I still have some very unnatural shades in the foreground.
6. The construction of any image should be composition, tonal structure, colour, in that order.

So onward and upward, having reminded myself of my own rules and trying not to forget the Tom Thomson element. 

I've found another painter I like, Peggy Kroll Roberts, Ray Roberts & Peggi Kroll Roberts her work looks plein air although, since there are active figures, she may well be using photographic reference. The images are lively, fresh and full of light. I don't like everything she's done but there are some gems.

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