View Full Version : Started as plein air...last hours light...

09-21-2004, 10:59 PM
figured before I get rusty....I need to do a few acrylic plein airs, and working on some tutorials/demos for another book project.

Went out last night...got about one hour in of last light...but a friend local DNR warden stopped by to see what I was up to and enjoyed standing around chattin'. Made it difficult for me to really throw myself into getting done what I had started.

So...I got the basic block in done, beginning with a gloss medium plus color transparent application over a basic pencil drawing, on gessoed hardboard, 8"x 10"


Was tryin' something a bit different, getting some of the colder values in shadows to build up on.

Then...this is about what I was left with when I really had to pack 'er in-


At this point...I figured what started as a plein air...I could afford to work toward a finish in my classroom...where I had ten minutes here and there, and a bit of time after school day was done.

So...no longer pure plein air, but believe that beginning this on location has set a mood and tone.

Here is after today...and a closeup-


I'll come back and share the finished image when done...

oh...and here is the ref



09-21-2004, 11:11 PM
WOW! Those trees are really lovely. Can't wait to see the finished product.

Thanks for sharing the stage-by-stage development - really helps newbys like me.

09-21-2004, 11:26 PM
Thanks for posting this, it's interesting to see how experienced folks work. So had it been me, I think I would have painted the sky in first, covering the whole upper half of the canvas, then would have painted the trees over it, but it sort of looks like you didn't do that, but kind of painted the sky around the trees a bit. Am I right about that? Any particular reason for that? Just wondering.

09-21-2004, 11:30 PM
Love your rendering.
Love your colors.
Love the photo.
Guess I just plain LOVE IT!
Thanx for posting this. I really appreciate your 'eye candy'.

09-21-2004, 11:57 PM
You are simply an amazing talent - to be able to capture the essence of a scene is just soooooo amazing. :clap: :clap: :clap:
PS. can I kidnap you......at least until you reveal ALL your secrets :evil: :D

Marty C
09-22-2004, 01:41 AM
Hi Larry,
Nice ref and your interpretation of it is terrific as usual. Nice to see you doing an acrylic plein air (or semi plein air), at this stage it is hard to separate it from one of your oils.

09-22-2004, 03:06 AM
Beautiful work, love the colours. :clap:


09-22-2004, 07:45 AM
I find the method interesting. I always start with the background and then build on that making opaque layers on top. I like how you make blocks and then touch up to define the background after. I will have to try that. :clap:

09-22-2004, 02:08 PM
Thanks for posting this, it's interesting to see how experienced folks work. So had it been me, I think I would have painted the sky in first, covering the whole upper half of the canvas, then would have painted the trees over it, but it sort of looks like you didn't do that, but kind of painted the sky around the trees a bit. Am I right about that? Any particular reason for that? Just wondering.

I've got a number of demos in my Industry Partner forum and website that show and explain this more...but simply, to paint trees in terms of thinking trees, one must become knowledgeable about trees.

Pines would include up here...balsams, spruce, white and red pine, Jack pine, and so forth. Then deciduous just to name a few range from elm, maple, popple, oak (both white, red), birch, and so forth.

Each has their shape, their color, the character.

Now...on the other hand, you can think like a painter or artist whose language is shapes, color, form, line, values, texture and so forth.

Forget that they are trees. Forget water is water, or people have noses for that matter!

Squint your eyes and see what shapes you see. When I paint trees, and especially on location...I squint my eyes see the shape, value and color and block it in. I then use sky color/pigment to observe and simulate the negative space poking around, inbetween and thru the mass. If you are observant enough and capture the nature of those negative spaces, the end result is that you suggest the tree which others recognize as an oak, pine and so forth.

I use the sky to mold and sculpt my trees...


09-22-2004, 02:11 PM
thanks everyone...

I'm having trouble uploading images on my system here at school...so if I remember, at home later I'll share an acrylic demo 16"x 12" I did in 15 minutes (as highschoolers don't have much patience beyond that). It has some things worth considering that might help answer some questions and curiosity.

I build up the underpainting in this one to build upon.

Thanks Marty...yep, gotta grab a different medium every so often to keep a fresh eye and approach. In that way you position yourself to a whispering secret that nature (and its Creator) might throw your way. Always learning...



Charlie's Mum
09-22-2004, 02:20 PM
Thanks for sharing this Larry; it's good to see how others approach a painting and, the way you work from the broad to the particular is very helpful.

09-22-2004, 06:42 PM
well...managed a few moments here and there today, and about 30 minutes after school...

enough to think at this point I'm finished with it....


and one more time a closeup...


and as promised...here is a 15 minute 16"x 12" demo I did for high school students last year....(due to the lack of patience), and the results surprised even myself. I liked it enough to frame it up...


With oils...I prefer adding black and umber to white gesso to about a midvalue gray to paint on...allowing my lights and darks to show up right away. With acrylics...I prefer my board to be white which allows the white surface to transmit thru the transparency and bring a bit of translucency, brightness in color and so forth. A close up here demonstrates this....



09-23-2004, 01:51 AM
Thanks, Larry--hope you will do this often. Would really like to see in detail how you do water; your water is always great!

09-24-2004, 12:43 PM
Larry, Awsome job!!! I am so impressed. This is what I want to be able to do. I have never tried plein air yet, but I sure want to. My husband and I are taking a trip to Paris in 2 weeks. I am not going to have a lot of time to paint, (My inlaws are taking us and we will be doing a lot of sight seeing) but I do want to try this. I am trying to figure out what to take. So far I have water color pens, sketching supplies, and water color paints and brushes. I am at a loss as to what to take... I want to be prepared for anything, but I don't think I'll be able to carry everything! I usually paint in acrylic, but that seems to be so much to take and carry around. Any advice?? All advice will be accepted and greatly appriciated. Thanks

Gini :wave:

09-24-2004, 12:51 PM
on a trip where one might not have much time, and compactness is key...I will take my Cotman Watercolor Field Kit set and a smaller 9"x 12" Cotman W&N watercolor paper pad.

My method there is usually to do a pencil drawing or sketch and build up color studies in washes and bold direct color strokes/notes. That...with a photoreference is then sufficient to produce an instudio work later...though as the plein air movement becomes more understood by the public, I have been finding interest in the direct honest simplicity of on site sketches.

Acrylics work wonderfully of course as watercolor substitutes...using them to do the exact same...but the Cotman kit I have folds up and in so neatly, its hard not to opt to simply bring that.

have fun on your trip!


09-24-2004, 01:20 PM
thank you Larry. You have deleted 10 pounds from my luggage. I will definately take your advice, a small water color kit and sketch pencil are it. they will fit nicely in the Creativ art bag I baught for the trip. A place for everything I will need, including a sweater, (now that I spoke with you, lol) thanks again. Have a great day

Gini :wave:

09-24-2004, 03:30 PM
Larry, you always make things look so effortless. I always enjoy looking at your work.

09-24-2004, 08:19 PM
thanks Charissa...appreciate your comments...its all fun.

take care

have a good trip Gini...!


09-25-2004, 02:32 AM
It's simply amazing how all those dots and squiggles combine to make such a beautiful landscape.

Thank you for the close ups. If you hadn't of given them I never would have figured out even partly how you did it.

HRH Goldie
09-25-2004, 04:46 PM
What a stunningly vibrant pallette you've used and with superb effect. The whole thing jumps out of the screen at me - a real head turner.
The photographic reference is superb too. I really enjoyed seeing it.


09-25-2004, 05:55 PM
Can't add much to what the others have said except another sincere thanks from a greenhorn. Just seeing what you did and how you did it is incredibly instructional. And of course the work is just beautiful. :clap:

09-25-2004, 05:58 PM
Hey Larry,
Beautiful colors and landscape.
A feast for the eyes.
Katz :clap: