Next plein air painting process!

^ Set up!

^ My canvas was right next to the gap in the canopy where I imagined the sculpture to be.

I decided to bring my big glass palette out with me to paint on instead of using layers of greaseproof paper on some weird support! Since I was painting right near my studio it wasn’t too tricky to use outside.
Here’s also a list of all the colours and mediums I used. The colours in brackets are ones I didn’t use much of.
I mixed all my colours with the two palette knives in the photo. This was a very good way to work, and so easy on the glass palette, because paint wasn’t lost in the massive brushes I was working with. Mixing this way also used far less space on the palette mixing with the palette knives instead of paint brushes which meant the mixing process was far more controlled than before.
Using the glass palette meant I could scrap paint off and clean it very easily in the process of painting.

The landscape I was painting:

I videoed the painting process again! Here it is, in three parts:

This wasn’t the best angle to film the painting because I am blocking the camera from recording me putting down the marks! The video still shows a couple things:
– I spend as much time mixing paint as I do applying it to the canvas. This is because the colours were very dull and bleak the day I was painting, it was grey dull and the trees had shed nearly all their leaves, so there wasn’t much variation in colour in the landscape! When I have painted the landscape previously, I have applied a lot more colour, because the woods felt alive and because I could see a lot of colour. But here, I was careful when mixing colours to stay true to the dull and subtle colours I could see, and I felt the same, the landscape felt silent and grey and blustery. So I was careful when mixing colours, and made sure to take my time.
– I apply one colour at a time across the whole canvas. Not the first time I have noticed this, but this process works well.

I don’t know how long I was painting for, I have no concept of time when I am painting! Perhaps 2 hours ish?

The finished plein air painting:

As I painted I thought about the marks I was making, since there were hardly any leaves on the trees, and my marks in the past have been very leaf like, I was thinking about how to adapt my gestures to accommodate to this new kind of bare woodland scenery.
My answer to that was painting a lot more of the sky. And I automatically made my marks more linear and added less blocks of colour.

I ran out of white towards the end of the painting, when I wanted to finish with some off white marks for the sky :(. I could go back out in the landscape on a similiar day and add that in?

I also found towards the end of the process that I wanted to keep doing big bodily gestures for the shapes in the trees I was seeing, but I kept my marks quite small and controlled because I didn’t want to disturb the wet paint marks I had already down. That’s not right! I don’t know how I would change that.. Perhaps just be braver! That I won’t mess it up.

I prefer the top half of the painting to the bottom.
The bottom of the painting is a bit flat. Aesthetically it could have higher tonal contrast.

The red underpainting works really well for this time of year. It meant I could leave big gaps at the bottom of the painting, because the red colour I wanted to add was already there!
I wish I would have left more of the red in in the centre of the painting.

The more I look at the painting the more I think I should re work it on a day soon with similar weather.. how do I feel about re working a canvas though? When the whole point is to paint my experience that day. Or perhaps it isn’t important whether I painted it over one day or two. Maybe it’s more important that it is my experience of the woods.

This was the first time that I did one of these paintings and felt a bit bored by the end result. Maybe that’s a sign that I am ready to push my paintings in a fresh direction.

What IS exciting though, is that by the end of this year I will have been painting these big lived experience abstract landscapes for a whole year. So I will have recorded the changing seasons and my year in painting! It would be cool to exhibit them all in order.

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