Sunday, May 2, 2010

Plein Air: Blooming Trees at Lake Champlain

Today, it was a beautiful day in Burlington, Vermont. Got a chance to go down to the lake and work on a plein air painting. When I came across this area, I was absolutely astounded by the brilliance of the purple bushes and the white trees. Decided that it would make a cool painting.

As usual, I laid down the basic shapes and colors to just see how the composition looked. It's amazing how many people came by and told me how beautiful the painting was. I was just laying down shapes.

The hardest part of this painting was getting the purple of the bushes. It was a bright luminescent color and, no matter how hard I tried, I could not match it. I then realized that I was focusing too much time on the color. The painting is about values and the color relationships, not the colors themselves. Once I stopped focusing on color and went back to the basics (Where is the brightest area, Where is the darkest area, Where is the light coming from, etc), the painting turned out better.

The other thing that I need to remember is that, for me, plein air painting is about practicing how to edit/see the world around me. It's not a finished painting. It's a study.

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