Author: Larry_Seiler, Contributing Editor
|I came across this bridge not knowing what I'd find. I had driven for about 30 miles, just checking out where a road might lead. The sun was a delight, winter had been long, and I had the bug. By the time I had found this bridge crossing Armstrong Creek, it was about 5pm. The sun was in its descent, and I would more or less be looking into it.|
In addition to setting up the easel, I set up my digital camera on a tripod. I knew the session would be tricky, stopping the flow of the work to snap a picture for the lesson, and work with the aim to finish before it became dark.
The environment captured my senses something fierce, but finding which of the options would make for the best painting was my first challenge. This view is looking along the southwest shore...
|...here's a view looking somewhat south and west down the river as a whole.|
|Finally...here's where I sense the "ah-HAH!" This view intrigued my aesthetic spirit most, and I sensed would be most fun reducing the elements down until beauty in its bare minimum would reveal itself. My paint support would be in shadow looking into the sun. Not good by anybody's measure. Yet...no pain no gain, right?|
What a photo does not reveal due to its thru the lens metering is that there is much more color going on in the shadows that an on-location painting sees. This will account for the violets and shades of greens my painting will show as it progresses.
|Here's my El Greco French mahogany backpacker's easel. Its a half-box of the regular French easel size. Nice and solid. Brass hardware.|
|After I get my paint set up, (mixing a couple drops of Garrett's Copal Medium into each color and mixing with a palette knife until a buttery consistency), I put on a latex protective glove, wrap a rag around my index finger and begin to rag-in masses and shapes. The color will be an underpainting of each mass that I will build up upon.|
When I am all set...I squint my eyes at the subject. I do not need to be confused about all that information nature is throwing at me. Detail is worthless to me right now. I simply want to see the basic shapes, and make more obvious the light and the dark values.