As part of the plein air group, and as a definite neophyte in this whole arena of oil painting, I have tried to be intentional about learning more about oil painting through reading books, watching videos, and just by doing it. There is so much information on the internet and in books that I found that I was sort of overwhelmed by all of the information. To direct my learning during the group plein air experiences, I have chosen to focus on one thing in each of the sessions. This particular day, we painted in Orleans at the windmill. My focus was blocking in the darks and the lights. I have read that that is what you are supposed to do — so this time instead of rushing to get a picture on the canvas that remotely looks like what it is “supposed” to do, I instead took my time to really look at the shadows: the darks and lights,and paint those in first. It really helped me have one important thing to focus on. One of the books that I use as my “manual” is Oil Painting for the Serious Beginner, by Steve Allrich.
I tried to block in with a tone that was darker than what I thought was to be the final color.