View Full Version : My very 2nd Plein Air painting!

06-18-2001, 11:35 PM
Here is my second attempt at a plein air painting...(sorry, about the clutter, but this one showed the colors better than the other pics I took).

06-19-2001, 12:13 AM
:cool: I especially like how you did the trees and the colours you have used.;) :)

06-19-2001, 12:59 AM
Thank you Animal, I decided to follow your example, summon my courage and show my work. :D

06-19-2001, 09:30 AM
Hey Billie, this looks good for a location painting! For me, on site landscape painting is about the most challenging thing I can think to do. You're doing great! Watch the lean to the left. Some people use a pocket mirror to check things out as they go along. Others just get in the habit of standing back from the surface and checking to make sure all the angles are where they're supposed to be.

Look forward to more posts and mutual learning!


06-19-2001, 11:38 PM
I never imagined the foliage in Texas to be as lush and colorful as this! Very pretty stuff! I have some questions though. Is this oil? (i'm assuming it is) What is the size and what time of day is this? Just curious.

06-20-2001, 07:12 PM
Thank you:) .

This is acrylics.

We aren't so pretty and lush, now. This was painted during our 'rainy season', that six weeks of the year we get one or two thunder showers a week that leave about 3/10ths of an inch of rain.

Everything is getting pretty brown and crunchy now.

This was about sunset, (had to take it back to get these colors in after I'd got the general shapes laid in.) It is off-set from being directly in line with the sun going down. The colors were softer, like our sunrises. If I'd turned a bit more to the west, it would have been a real color show, but, that would have been staring down the highway...

Almost forgot, it is 14"X18".

06-20-2001, 09:03 PM
As a fellow Texan, I certainly recognize the mesquite tree and other elements. Nice, and hope you had fun!

06-22-2001, 02:17 PM
Looks great for a second attempt. I like the way you varied all the colors all over the canvas, and brought the sky colors down into the grass. Beautiful soft sky.


06-26-2001, 10:29 PM
Thank you to everyone for their kind comments.

I've been away on vacation so am behind in my comments.

Again, thank you all.:)

06-27-2001, 10:21 AM
You've gotten some very nice comments here Billy, and great to see one more out there givin' painting from nature directly a try!
Kudos on that!

Let's see if we can give you a bit of constructive advice here, both that might help this picture and your future painting.

The only <i>strong</i> indication I have to the source of light (sun) is the dark shadowed side of the shed. Your sky should likewise provide evidence typically, unless there is a strong dark storm cloud behind. Though, under such conditions when the sun is shining...the objects it hits really radiate and glow.

If the sunlight is coming from the left side as the shed suggests, I would lighten the sky as it gets closer to the left side. Especially nearer the horizon.

If the sun was not out, and this is close to dusk, then I would use more cool color in the shadows. Don't know off hand what colors you are using to make your darks, but certainly colors like "black" will kill and deaden them. I use a bit of red to darken my greens or tone them down a bit. Since green is a mixture simply of yellow and blue, you can emphasize the "bluer" side of the mixture. Blue is cooler than green...which helps beef up more contrast such that your warmer colors in the picture will have a chance to sing out more. As it is...your values are so similar that it has the effect of being flat. This again brings up the old addage everyone hears me quirp, "90% of the time a painting needs some kind of help, it is with contrast!"

Make a "contrast" list, and get it into your head. For example-
*dark versus light
*color versus lack of it
*warm color versus cool color
*texture versus flat paint
*detail versus a lack of detail
*soft edges versus hard edges

Your diagonal is a good touch, and adds much interest. It should however compositionally go well above the center horizontal line of the painting or well below it.

Squint your eyes more when looking at trees, and forget what kind of trees they are. Let your artistic senses, the right brain, take over. Block in the masses you see with your eyes squinted, then use just a bit of sky color to poke thru and break up foilage edges, a bit of sky here and there. Becareful not to get too caught up in painting leaves. Treat them as value and color shapes, and do so with your eyes squinted. They will be seen in the viewer's eyes and be convincing as an illusion.

If you paint every leaf....then your hands are tied, and you must paint relatively all things with such precise detail. Who has time for that in a plein air sun-elusive setting?

Now...do not get discouraged. Good art is made by making lots and lots of bad art, and weeding the bad out along the way. It takes about 120 paintings to learn something of painting, and then again....I love Edgar Degas quote I have as part of my signature.

I'm not saying your art here is bad art. I see great potential, and you best get out there and keep at it!!!!!

Here is a quick digital enhancement I did...and note, plein air is an honest direct spontaneous dictation of nature. So, the drama my piece shows here might be what you can do with a plein air as a "reference" later in the studio. On the other hand, becoming more sensitive to color is what will happen as you paint more outdoors, and you'll see it easier and replicate it naturally. In time, no in-studio touch ups will be necessary! -Larry


06-28-2001, 12:02 AM
Thank you for the helpful advice, and the digital enhancement.
I began this on an overcast day, went back another day, when the light was more interesting.

I think I need more courage, I get just so far and it starts looking pretty good, then fear getting a bit bolder will mess something up.

I will take your advice to heart when I begin my next one.

Thanks, again

06-28-2001, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by BillieD
I think I need more courage, I get just so far and it starts looking pretty good, then fear getting a bit bolder will mess something up.


Courage is not absence of fear. It is doing what needs to be done inspite of fear. The knees might be knocking, but everything inside is attempting to win out and survive.

This comes not by avoidance, but engagement.

Honestly....after perhaps 1,000 paintings....more maybe, I still feel some apprehension everytime I set up. I'm excited. I have some confidence based upon many past victories, but always mindful that it is somewhat a game, and I can be the loser in this encounter!

While you do want to do your best on each individual piece, you have to adapt an accumulative "many pieces done" understanding of your development. Especially painting outdoors.

Again....do many art works. Many bad ones, weeding out the bad along the way. It is the only way, and we all do it, so take confidence when things are going rough that you are not alone. The greatest painter was at one time right where you are!

Just get it behind you. Learn from it, and go on to the next one. Before long...you'll start developing a skill and a routine that others will be taking note of! It will be apparent in your work, and they'll be coming to you for insight. You'll muse and smile over their impatience, and that chances are they won't like what you feel necessary to tell them! :cool:



07-02-2001, 09:32 AM

What WONDERFUL advice:clap:

Constructive..but NOT MEAN !

That encouragement from a seasoned artist can mean SO much.

I look back at some of my first paintings and laugh now...but I remember the positive teacher I had, who always praised and pushed me in the right direction. Without that I might not be painting (and selling) today.

Thanks for "passing it on" !:D

07-11-2001, 02:34 PM
Beautiful soft colours.
Very restful feel about it.:)

07-13-2001, 12:20 PM
very nice! i've never tried plein air painting but i think i will have to soon :D

07-13-2001, 01:09 PM
Very nice. I never did plein air but I think I should give it a try sometime soon...Nice colors and atmosphere.

07-14-2001, 09:30 AM
Thank you all for your comments and advice. I am really loving plein air painting. Hope to take a week-end soon to go camping out and just paint. That is my dream holiday.