Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oil study #136 - plein air (outdoor) painting

So far I've had very little success with plein air painting with pastel. I get overwhelmed and I sabotage myself (and the painting :). I have tried it in a class/workshop setup, but I never did it on my own. It's mostly fear; fear of not being able to do justice to what inspires me, fear of people stopping to watch, ... and I find pastel cumbersome for a quick pack and go.
I see more potential for a quick pack and go with oils and I'd really like to be able to enjoy painting in plein air. So I registered for a plein air class in oil with Laurel Daniel at Laguna Gloria (local art school). I like her work and thought I could learn a lot from her.

The first class was three weeks ago. I found out why it was so hard to get in one of her classes: the students like her so much that they take every class she offers. Laurel did a demo of a group of palm trees. She stopped at different stages to give us a chance to try what she just showed us. She made it look very easy. Everyone painted the palm trees. And we had a chance to learn from everyone painting. Here's my version. I'm not crazy about it but I promised myself I would give it another try.

Oil on canvas, 8 x 6"

4 comments:

Bob Barker said...

Good effort, Johanne. It is definitely worth pursuing. I would still like to know how an artist decides to leave out of the paininting part of what she/he sees. For example, what went into your decision to leave out the foliage of the third palm but you included the trunk. In painting it is your choice. In photography you would not be able to choose to leave out the trunk but you could exclude its foliage. I keep struggling with this problem.

Celeste Bergin said...

Johanne...you should consider this a successful painting and do much more of them. Outdoor painting is a challenge--but so worth it..because anything that you paint after having considered REAL light on REAL objects (not painting only from reference)...is exceptional for training the artist's eye. All the great painters painted "directly" as you have done here. You did a good job of indicating the light and the shadow. Do not give up--that is the real lesson to be learned. We artists have to accept that we'll have many failures and soldier on! Good work--hope to see more. :)

Johanne Morin said...

Bob, "effort" is well chosen here :)
I didn't make the decision here, I just went for the same composition as Laurel did as a demo.

It's usually a composition choice and trying to lead the eye of the viewer inside (and around) the painting instead of out (to the next painting). Chopping the tallest tree give us a better sense of the scale. And if you chop the painting to the tallest trunk when it is still parallel (below the foliage and the "bump") then your eye would go out of the painting.
The foliage at the top keeps your eye in the painting. Your eye follows the trunk upwards and then the foliage bring it back down to the other two trees. Does that make any sense?

Johanne Morin said...

Celeste, thanks for the very encouraging words.