Friday, May 31, 2013

Transition into New England Plein Air

This portrait study represents the last in a series I had been painting at Kate Huntington's weekly portrait sessions.    Due to problems with the availability of studio space there will be a hiatus in this activity at least until next September.  These sessions not only keep up portraiture skills for those of us interested in portraying people, but provide mutual encouragement and (unofficial) critiques from fellow artists.  To me they also allow me to continue development of  my painting skills while awaiting the more acceptable outdoor painting weather.  yes, perhaps this season I was a little soft on myself.  An outdoor painter must not develop the bad habit of being too comfortable outside!

          I had gone off to Florida in April to participate in Bradenton's Paint the Town 2013.  Every day  except perhaps one or two of my two-week stay there was a painter-friendly day.  It is understandable why there are so many good outdoor painters there; they can get plenty of practice -- and practice is the key to honing our skills!

The Rites of Spring, Oil on Linen, 6x20

When the lily pads started to appear in a nearby pond (North Kingstown, RI), I faced the challenge of painting them including some turtles who perched themselves on fallen branches.  The presence of the turtles and yellow pond blossoms inspired the title "The Rites of Spring".

                   At the same pond, I took an old painting, an 8x10 done on linen to paint over.  These "used panels" are great for experimentation or trying different beginnings to an old theme.  I recalled a lesson from Charles Gruppe in which he would layer a canvas in ultramarine blue, raw umber and white-- so that the mixture , heavy with white, was really an off-white with tone.  Using the same mixture, but with little if any white, I outlined the basic forms with a small filbert (no.4).  Next, I attacked each outlined area with pure palette-knife work, resulting in a heavy impasto.  Here is the canvas as I brought it from the pond:
By the Pond, Oil on Linen, 8x10                                                                                                                                               

           The painting was really fun to do, but (in general) I prefer more definition in my work.  A previous outing in Wickford gave me practice in portraying the scene more realistically:
Wickford Waterway, Oil on Canvas, 8x10 .    

    For the latest work in oils I painted near the train trestle at Arnold's Neck in Warwick, RI.  I had painted the trestle before but what attracted me this time was the serenity of low tide at this intimate cove beloved by shore birds, especially the snowy egrets .
By the Trestle