Plein Air Summer

I’ve been able to carve out some time recently to work on my painting and drawing and I’m starting a new trend: outdoor painting every week. After messing about with painting here and there, I decided it was time to really study it more closely. I’ve been following James Gurney’s blog for a while and recently bought his book Color and Light. This book is amazing. For those who haven’t studied painting in depth before the book helps to demystify the process, explaining in detail numerous concepts such as color mixing, atmospheric effects, limited palettes, chroma and value, the list goes on and on.

I’ve chosen to work in casein because it’s water based yet fairly opaque, plus it’s cheaper than gouache or watercolor. It dries pretty quickly, so you can’t do a great deal of blending, but I love its opacity and the way it lays down. You can get some pretty cool marks with it.

At any rate, I built this plein air easel setup a few weeks ago out of some birch plywood and resistance hinges I got from Amazon:

Plein Air palette

I took it out to our local historical residence, Reynolda House last week. I set up right in front of the house underneath a large shade tree and got to work. It’s been a while since I’ve drawn in perspective, so it took me some time to make my pencil sketch. After I was satisfied, I put down an orange wash over the top and got to painting, trying to focus on values and mark making. I’m using a limited palette here so the colors are not super saturated, but I kind of like that.


Plein Air 1

Reynolda5Here is my work table. The colors I used were Cadmium Red Scarlet, Golden Ochre, Ultramarine Blue Deep, Raw Umber and White.

Plein Air 2

After a couple more hours, it was time for lunch so I called it a day on this one. When I got home I immediately wanted to do it over again because I see a lot of problems with it, but that will have to wait for another day. Stay tuned!


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