I have "My Tribe" all varnished and boxed up ready to be sent off to their first showing next year. I'm referring to 100 portraits that I completed this June. Refer back to previous posts for more info. Now I am working outdoors in the landscape again which invigorates me. I am wanting to paint on a larger scale, so I'll show you my working method. I began with absorbing the Okanagan, painting several views on location.
Here I'm responding to the lovely shadow patterns cast by a stand of backlit pines. Past grass fires have burned off the lower growth, and the remaining branches demand to be painted crisply. The afternoon sky has lost some of its summer heat but none of its intensity. Great to be sitting out on a side hill watching the light play across the tall grasses.
Again, the backlighting across the grass is dominating this piece. There is a large rock perched above me contrasting with the soft plants. Admittedly this painting went off the rails a bit, but the experience of observing the changing light from the descending sun was invaluable. I will take that feeling with me and insert it into a larger work.
I climbed up and over the hill, past the large boulder, and set up in a shallow draw to observe the patterns of sage and considered how they cluster together in masses. Again, a solitary veteran pine tree contrasts nicely.
I turned around and started hauling my gear back towards my van when I was distracted by this tree. It is oriented with the sun behind me. I love the shapes of trees. They are all individuals with distinct personalities. To be clear, let me say that these four paintings were born over a period of two days. I arrive at the same spot each day, and if the weather is consistent I can pick right up where I left off. This is something I've learned from studying Claude Monet's methods. He would work on as many as ten paintings at a time, moving from one to the next after short intervals of working on each canvas. Monet was a wealthy man and had a young boy to carry and move his paraphernalia. I'm not and I don't, so I compromise.
I decided to paint a large Okanagan scene in my studio. I want to bring the feelings and images that I've gained from doing these paintings and weave them together into a single composition with much consideration given to design. I was sketching in a different location that offered a view with great potential. My sketchbook has vaporized, so I only have one to show you from a different book.
I composed the different elements of my outdoor work around an armature or skeleton based on my large sketches. The following roughed-in painting gives you an idea of where I'm going with this.
This is 36X48" and so it is a completely different animal than my smaller plein air work. I want to draw the viewer into and around the picture, so the plan is circular with the "heavy" tree balanced by some softer sage on the other side. The contours of the land will direct your eyes into the piece, and hopefully they will settle comfortably ino exploring this typical Okanagan setting. We will see.
I will continue with this thread next time. Hopefully I will have completed the painting by then.
I will be teaching a 2-day workshop at the Summerland Art Gallery on Nov. 17th and 18th. My focus will be on helping people to paint from life and to get away from basing their paintings on photos. I believe there are still one or two spots free, so if anyone is interested, the link is http://summerlandarts.com/programs/workshops