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Al Skaar
12-31-2007, 04:38 PM
I just recently discovered Wet Canvas and this is my second post. (I posted another to the Landscape forum). After working as a graphic designer for most of my life, with a Mac as my main tool, I've been feeling the pull toward reality lately - of holding a real brush instead of messing with virtual media. A couple of months ago I became interested in plein air painting. After replacing all my dried up paint and finding some brushes (I haven't touched oils in 30 years) I gave it a try. Now I'm hooked.

This is my sixth plein air piece. I did this one while standing in a field overlooking the Presa, a lake just outside San Miguel de Allende, in Mexico. I just wish the sun would hold still, and the shadows would quit moving - or that I could paint fast enough to keep up!

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/31-Dec-2007/115244-ViewFromLaCa%F1ada.jpg

View From La Caņada: oil on linen panel; 8x10

C&Cs welcome.

Happy New Year!

- Al Skaar

Sonni
12-31-2007, 05:39 PM
Welcome to one of the best forums on the block :D :D :D Looks like you have a good background to enable you to dig right in. Nice aerial perspective and composition. :thumbsup: The blue of the lake is hard for me to get out of, and I don't know whether it's the value there or the value in the foreground. My guess is that brighter yellows (and greens on the cactus) in front would take care of it. Dunno, better PAs than I probably would have clearer vision. Wouldn't worry about it, tho; once you're hooked, you're hooked--you just keep doing them. :)

Donna T
01-01-2008, 09:03 AM
Hi Al, and welcome to Plein Air! This is very nice and that perspective really draws you into the painting. Great job on the buildings, too. I hope you will pass on some of your design experience to the rest of us. :)

Donna

MichaelR
01-01-2008, 09:36 AM
Well Al, you certainly got back into it quickly! Love the little highlights on the cupola and the lost and found edges.

Can you tell us anything about your palette? It seems quite muted, almost Victorian so I am guessing you use some earth colours to unify your mixes?

Ruth
01-01-2008, 10:34 AM
Hi Al, welcome to a great online community! Lovely work you're doing. Keep painting and posting here. We wanna see more!

Ruth

doane
01-01-2008, 10:39 AM
Hi Al, and welcome to the forum. I'm fairly new here too, and like you, just started painting again in May after a 8 year absense.

Nice painting! I recognize the spot in SM.. I lived down there for about 2 months way back in the mid 70's painting out of a `66 split window pop top VW bus.. amazing I didn't end up in jail for looking hippyish. ;) Then again, around 1988 my wife and I lived there for about a year and a half while I painted full time. I managed to get about 40 medium to large paintings done (see my web site (http://rhoag.com/html/mexico.html)) most of which sold when we moved to Oregon and I was showing at galleries in Seattle, Portland, and other areas. Very touristy, even back in the 80's and I would imagine it's pretty crazy now, but still a beautiful place. If you get a chance and haven't done it, be sure to visit Guanajuaoto (http://www.terragalleria.com/north-america/mexico/guanajuato/guanajuato.html) about an hours drive West of SM (less chance of having local SM disgruntled drunks throw rocks at you too ;)).

Al Skaar
01-01-2008, 01:43 PM
Well Al, you certainly got back into it quickly! Love the little highlights on the cupola and the lost and found edges.

Can you tell us anything about your palette? It seems quite muted, almost Victorian so I am guessing you use some earth colours to unify your mixes?
Thanks Michael. I worked from an excellent little 6x8 pochade box, so there isn't room for many colors. Ultramarine blue, cad yellow light, alizarin permanent, pthalo green, and white. I labor a bit over my color mixes due to lack of practice, but hope to get much faster.

- Al

Al Skaar
01-01-2008, 01:51 PM
Thanks Sonni, Donna, Ruth, and Doane - for the welcome and the kind words.

Sonni, you're right about the lake. I hadn't noticed before but it sort of overpowers the rest of the space.

Doane, San Miguel is a bit touristy but still a great place. Everywhere you turn there is a painting begging to be made. The arts community there is very open and welcoming too. I stayed with friends for a week. Your longer stays must have been great!

- Al

WTPDOSA
01-01-2008, 06:05 PM
Hey Al,
1st off, Welcome to W/C and to what I feel is the best little Plein Aire forum on the Web.
I like the contrasts between the far mountains, lake and village. I think the lake could be toned down a little to reflect the sky or the deepness of the lake.
Other than that, Very Nicely done.