2 Hours painting down Uretiti Road.

The Photo

Started getting cabin fever working in the studio today so I jumped in the car with my paints and headed down the road looking for a likely painting spot. First thing you notice when you do this is that the landscape hardly ever organizes itself into a perfect scene for a painting. You usually have to move some things and add and subtract elements to make a composition read well.

The letterbox and flowers caught my eye as I drove past - the bright sunlight faces against the dark background was just the sort of thing I was looking for to create an interesting notan structure, but as I surveyed it I realized I wanted more than just a letterbox and flowers portrait - I wanted to add in the distant landscape and the road, so I changed my viewpoint and a slightly different painting came about.

If you want to see how bad a painter you really are just try painting outside! Every time I do it I realize how far I have to go. Seems like I only use about 20% of what I know I know whenever confronted with a blank canvas outside of my cozy studio. I can feel myself getting slowly better though - the brain resists, but I'm squeezing more out of it. I guess developing a solid technique is key to painting better outdoors - if you have a painting process like dark to light, large to small like a well worn path in your brain you are then free to deal with all the other creative considerations like value and color relationships and fancy things like lighting effects and using paint more creatively.

Anybody got any creative ideas on how to paint better outdoors? (besides practice, which is a given).
With this one I kept it simple by only using 3 colours and white. Ultramarine Blue, Alizarine and Cad Yellow Mid.
Enjoyed it a lot anyway, and shook off some of that cabin fever. Will get back to designing chapter 5 of the color course now.


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Comment by Brandon Nixon on December 1, 2009 at 9:46
I hear you on the difficulty of painting outside. I don't know if it is the pressure of trying to capture the moment before the conditions change or as you said not having enough of a worn path on executing a painting, but I am very inconsistent in my outdoor results.

I tend to bend everything towards red and end up with a very muddy looking painting. I have done a few that I have liked but I guess it will come with time! Nice little painting!
Comment by Diane Boucher on November 25, 2009 at 16:55
Ha Ha the first and only time I tried to paint outside was just a mittigated desarster on canvas. Sat under the beautiful Pohutukawa trees at the end of Mcleod bay with two friends lunch and occationally an audience. Here we were to create our masterpieces. Came home after all day took one look and scrubed it off. Must try again one day.Mmmmmmmmm! Ps if it looked just a bit as good as yours I would have kept it.


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