There is a park about 8 minutes away from me, Playwiki Farm Park, that has a paved walking path for exercise . I"m at the park at sunrise to walk 2 to 3 laps. The park has 110 acres, but I only utilized the walking path until recently I started exploring the other parts of the park.
The other day I decided to scout around for possible locations for painting. The one part of the park has a good amount of thickets and a small brook running thru it. I watched as a mink worked his way along the bank looking for food. This is where I'll start tomorrow.
I went in the afternoon enjoying the 63 degree temps as I painted. I found a section of the brook to start at and did an 8x10. When I got home I refined the rest of the painting.
An important part of painting outdoors is having one or two locations close by so it makes it easy to visit them often. Luckily I have a few of these parks to paint at.
Another point is to have your outside equipment organized and ready to go. I've learned this the hard way more than once. Its no fun getting to your painting spot and forgetting either brushes, or paints or panels. After a few times of that I decided to keep the outdoor equipment in one bag and it doesn't leave that bag.
You can see in the picture my outdoor painting stuff organized on the shelf.
On the top shelf is the bag with everything in it, paints brushes, rags, thinner and cigar box easel for 8x10 and smaller panels. On the second shelf is the big paintbox, to the left are 2 tripods, one for the cigar box easel the other for the big paintbox. All those panels on the second shelf are failed paintings that have received two coats of acrylic paint and now are ready for outdoor work.
The outdoor work is all about practice and learning about outdoor light. The sketches that have enough information in them can be used for studio paintings, and a good example of this are my last two posts where I was able to use the sketches to make studio paintings.
It doesn't work that easy all the time, but when it does it feels great.
Get out and enjoy the outdoors, its a great stress reliever.
I finished this painting recently after about three different sessions on the easel. It usually takes that amount of time to get things adjusted to the way you want them.
One thing I've learned to do is to put the painting away for a while and when you bring it out again the areas that need adjusting stand out clear.
I painted this using a location sketch I did in November as reference.
A couple of weeks ago a stretch of cold weather had put a layer of ice on the lake. I went out for a walk with my painting gear, and on days like this (overcast and dreary) I"ll have a little fun and challenge myself to find something interesting to paint.
What interested me was the zig zag pattern of the ice and the reflection of the land on the ice.
I did a small sketch capturing the important facts of the scene.
On days I'll be out sketching at different locations I'll take a couple of 11x14 panels and tape them off into 4 sections as seen above. The two panels fit into the slots on the back of the easel.
From the information I got from the location sketch and things I remember from that day I was able to do this 9x12 acrylic painting.
I didn't have to travel far for this sketch.The rising sun backlighting the leaves on the trees was the motivation for today.
When I saw the light taking shape I set up my small cigar box easel by the window to capture the scene.
I used acrylics on an 8x10 canvas panel. I was able to block in all the shapes and the general lighting conditions before the light had changed.
I painted this at the end of the day about a half hour before sunset. I took advantage of the acrylics fast drying time. I worked from background to foreground blocking in shapes, so by the time I finished blocking in the bird feeder the background was already dry and I was able to adjust the values and modeling of each shape without worrying about lifting the first layer of paint.
Then I'll compare shapes sitting next to each other and keep adjusting back and forth until it reads the way you want it too.
I had installed a piece of glass in the bottom of the paint box for oil paints, but it also works great for acrylics too. I keep a small spray bottle with water and mist the acrylics as they start to dry. And when the leftover mixed paint dries I use a scraper that lifts the paint in a matter of seconds, and you have a clean mixing area again.
A jar of water hangs on the outside of the box keeping it free of the mixing area.
I try to keep the setup as simple as possible so there is less to carry, and if you make it easy on yourself you will more inclined to go out and paint.
Our boat in the driveway lit by the moon. I like to go out and observe the lighting effects from the moon. Good practice for painting nocturnes.
I try to keep the values close together but still readable.
My wife Maria and I like going out after dinner when we have time, either going fishing, spotting wildlife or walking to stay fit. And at the end of our activity for the night we enjoy watching the sky go through its light show as the sun drops below the horizon.
On this night we were fishing at a local park and right before sunset Maria had caught a nice bass measuring 18.5 inches.
A few minutes later we were treated to a nice sunset. I snapped some photos and
two days later completed a painting of the sunset we saw that night.
I was making the coffee this morning looked out the window and saw a fox getting a drink out of the water bowl for the birds. He just sat there looking around and then turned and trotted off, we lost track of him after that.
A nice way to start the morning.
I finished up on a fly fishing painting recently, a scene from an upstate Pa trout stream. My brother Tom poised to catch a trout from a mountain stream.
This painting is based on the sky study I did on March 11th.
I wanted to portray a peaceful feeling that shows the few minutes of dramatic color right before the sun is all the way up and everything is brightened.
As you can see I toned down the sky from the study to help create the peaceful feeling I was going for.
I painted a woman walking her dog for the human interest side to the story. It also gave me a chance to practice painting reflections.
I painted this at sunrise before heading in to work at 7:00. I'm fortunate, this park is only 5 minutes from work so getting some early morning practice in is easy. On this morning I had 25 minutes to get something down, sunrise was at 6:21. The night before I saw we were going to have clouds in the sky at sunrise so I wanted to be there to try to capture the drama in the sky. When I got home from work I cleaned up the painting.
Sunrise Falls Twp. Park, 6"x8" oil
I'm going to try a bigger painting using this as a guide but I was thinking of a larger area of subdued sky reflection in the water and maybe put in a figure walking their dog along the shoreline.
I pass these pine trees on my way to the park, the road they are on has no area to pull over so I had to get a shot on my phone as I passed by on the way home. I was attracted to the contrast of the bright clouds and snow against the darks of the pine trees. The hard part was trying to make the pines look like a group without overdoing it.
Farmhouse and Fields 6"x8" acrylic on wood panel
I like the peaceful feeling of this painting, a subdued winter sunset and a warm fire in the fireplace.
This is the stream that runs through the state park we stay at in the fall in upstate Pa.
We spend the day slowly walking along the stream trying not to alert the trout of our presence,
these are wild fish that hide at the slightest sign of danger.
You take in all the sounds of the forest, from woodpeckers hammering away to grouse drumming and even one year we rescued an injured hawk that couldn't fly. We found a wildlife rehibilitator to make sure the hawk was in good hands.
Our reward for the day are the brightly colored jewels we catch and release back into the stream.
I painted this on the night of the blizzard looking out the window. My thoughts were on how much snow we were going to have to clear in the next two days then I noticed the neighbors driveway light
glowing in the snow. It made me forget about shoveling for a while.
Fly Fishing Art, A Good Run, 12x16, oil on RayMar canvas panel ( SOLD)
I repainted this recently after looking at it and seeing things that I didn't see before. It helps putting the painting away for a while and when you take it out again the areas that need help stand out.
The composition of the painting pretty much stayed the same but I repainted it using a limited palette.
I wanted to experiment this year using six primary colors and white.
Cad Yellow Lt.
Cad Red Light
Permanent Alizarin Crimson
Thats me in the water, that section of stream has been good to us over the years.
This painting sat around half finished for over a year, it went through changes with value and color but I was never able to bring it to completion. Recently I have been working with a limited palette of colors.
I used to rely on Phthalo green (yellow and blue shade) and I would temper them with different reds but my greens still looked a little too garish. Now I am using ultramarine blue and cerulean blue with my two yellows cad yellow light and cad yellow medium.
This little 5x7 study has been on my wall as a reminder to try a larger version the painting. This is a favorite lake we fish throughout the year, its a shame its three hours away in the Pocono Mountains.
My art is inspired by nature. I always had a love for the outdoors so it was just natural that my art followed that direction.
I paint both on location and in the studio. My outdoor work is necessary for capturing the different qualities of light and the ever changing moods of nature. My studio work is fed by all the information I get from painting outdoors, except now I have time to think and plan at a more leisurely pace.I head to the outdoors as a stress reliever and that is exactly what my paintings are about-a peaceful retreat from life’s hectic pace.