Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pre-summer plein air sketches

  Despite quite a few days of dreary weather, summer is definitely on its way.  I have been exploring the usual local plein-air spots between arrivals of tourists and rain squalls.  For much of my sketching I use small panels, usually 9x12 in size.  These fair well in the wind and can be become records of what I see in less than two hours, the interval beyond which the light threatens to change too radically.  Lately, most of the panels are made from luhan board with linen glued to it, primed often with acrylic gesso or occasionally are oil-primed.  The resultant surface is tough enough to take the rigors of scraping with a palette knife.  The paintings shown here are exceptions to the usual panel supports.
Belleville Pond (No.2), Oil on Canvas, 10x10
 The painting shown on the left is from one of my favorite painting areas at Ryan Park, North Kingstown.  It was a  moody day with a pervading violet and soft color.  The waterlilies are an additional attraction and one must be careful not to launch into doing them too soon.  There are two types of blossom at the pond: the usual white waterlily and a yellow bloom that appears on a stem that keeps it above the pond water.

Storm Surf, Oil on Linen, 11x14
   Next, of course, for the Rhode Island plein-air enthusiast are the beaches.  This one, on the left, is a sketch of Scarborough Beach.  The painting was sketched in only a few days ago -- Saturday, a day for which a recent storm churned up the water.  The red flag indicates a warning to potential bathers.  (when the lifeguards left, people actually ventured into the riotous surf!)  A day of changeable light.  I thought of one of my teachers, Ted Jacobs, who warned us to take two canvasses to paint with--one for the sunny condition and one for the cloudy day.  Unfortunately,  I had only one, but the local color registered wonderfully.

Narragansett Beach Afternoon, Oil on Linen, 14x18
And who can resist painting at beautiful Narragansett Beach, particularly at the" artist hour" (i.e., whenever beach parking is free)?  Again, this is merely a sketch and needs some improvement before it deserves a frame, but I paid close attention to the values and color choices here.  The view was one of looking north towards the Dunes Club.  This was a little larger than I usually work outdoors, but the conditions , including the wind, were favorable.

I am preparing to carry along my Gloucester easel which will greatly assist me in painting the larger outdoor work I hope to accomplish during July and August.

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