Summer Fields - 7x9" Oil on Canvas Board
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Had a pretty neat time this morning searching for a painting spot riding my friend's Vespa motorbike. Found this nice spot sitting on a tree stump in the shade and lovely scene across the dry fields. I felt a bit more in control this time - I guess that's practice paying off. Used a light solvent wash to start with and I think that helps me be a bit bolder in my decision making - when the paint is running freely like a watercolor it feels like it opens up the creative center of the brain as opposed to drawing everything out rigorously first and 'painting within the lines'.

What I was looking for first of all was an interesting value design with strong contrasts and big areas of similar value. I established these big areas with thin washes first and built one or two more layers on top of that as the painting progressed. I was careful to make my edges sharp on top of the clumps of foliage and soft beneath. I used squinting a lot to see what sort of edges I should be painting, and to find the shapes of the large value areas. I tried to be sparing with my brushstrokes, allowing each one to be purposeful.

I lightened and blued the furthest trees a little more than I was seeing in order to push these further back in space and create a more distinct plane. I tried painting with my sunglasses on to begin with but they seemed to bring the darks closer together much like a camera lens so I stopped doing that halfway through. I darkened the clouds at the top and made them much warmer than I was seeing them for 2 reasons: 1. To push the eye down to the center of the painting where the stronger value contrasts are, and 2. to unite the sky with the warm land colors, remembering that everything reflects everything else to some degree.

This nice looking bird came a stalking across the meadow after a juicy dragonfly. Nice how nature comes to you when you just sit there quietly minding your own business.

Anyway, enjoyed it a lot, glad I didn't screw it up too badly, and am looking forward to the next one now.

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